A Travellerspoint blog

November 2016

A Wild Goose Chase

overcast 40 °F

Before I dive into this post, I think it might be of interest to both long-time and new followers alike to see what I was doing exactly three years ago (!)
http://worldbirding.travellerspoint.com/13/

This Friday I went birding at Northerly Island near the Adler Planetarium in downtown Chicago in search of a rare bird that was being reported there: a Brant, a small species of goose that has only been documented a few times before in Illinois - qualifying it as a downright rarity!

On the walk there from the train, I spotted a few goodies in the lake such as this small pod which included an AMERICAN COOT (upper left), REDHEADS, & LESSER SCAUP.
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This pretty male NORTHERN CARDINAL was also nice:
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I arrived at around eleven in the morning and pretty soon happened to meet up with a few local birders who were also searching the island for the Brant and any other good things that might be in the area.

AMERICAN COOTS:
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Distant HOODED MERGANSERS:
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One fantastic surprise was a small group of six SNOW BUNTINGS - a species I believe I have only seen once before in my entire life!
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SWAMP SPARROW:
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AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, these little guys were quite numerous as expected:
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Finally, after looping around Northerly Island, we spotted the distant BRANT goose - my target bird - tucked up against the seawall right next to the Adler Planetarium:
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Then, we walked over there to get a better look at the goose to find it had moved up to the grassy areas right next to the Planetarium - the regular passerby would have probably taken it as just yet another (albeit small) "regular" goose!
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At one point, the cute little feller waddled right across the path in front of us - what an obliging life bird!
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We also spotted this weird dark-morph CANADA GOOSE. Anybody have any ideas as to what race this guy belongs to?
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It was a fantastic day of birding! Bird-of-the-day goes to the Brant, of course, with runners-up to the cute little Snow Buntings!

Happy birding,

Henry
World Life List: 926 Species (1 recent life bird: Brant)

Posted by skwclar 19:53 Archived in USA Tagged chicago rarity brant snow_bunting Comments (1)

More Fall Fun!

all seasons in one day 51 °F

It's been a busy but fulfilling and overall, enjoyable, autumn season for me so far! No description needed for these photos...
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My weekend bird surveys have yielded some pretty nice birds such as this DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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And this WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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Male DARK-EYED JUNCO:
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GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET:
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This past Friday evening, I led the final Oak Park Bird Walk of the season as an evening owling walk at Miller Meadows Forest Preserve. We started off by finding this nice buck White-tailed Deer:
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Male DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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CANADA GEESE flying over:
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We ended up successfully hearing an EASTERN SCREECH OWL and - amazingly - a rare NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL which I was NOT expecting to find at all! This is a very scarce owl that comes down to the south sporadically from the boreal forest each winter, and it is always an exciting event to find one in Illinois! Unfortunately, no photos as both of these owls were heard-only sightings.

Today an evening visit with Grandma was, as always, very nice:
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We went out to see the Super Moon which was brilliant over the distant Chicago skyline:
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I found the post-sunset western sky equally beautiful:
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Hopefully these photos gave you some peace in what can be a hectic time of year! Not sure when I will post next, so until then, happy birding!

Henry
World Life List: 925 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 19:09 Archived in USA Tagged autumn downy_woodpecker oak_park_bird_walks white_throated_sparrow dark_eyed_junco golden_crowned_kinglet canada_goose eastern_screech_owl northern_saw-whet_owl Comments (3)

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