Cook County, IL
Monday 30 March 2020 50 °F
A good showing of raptors from the neighborhood early this afternoon inspired me to get out further afield in the early evening.
On my midday walk with Tian, two immature COOPER’S HAWKS shot over like rockets at one point. Note the bright white rump:
Then, I heard the piercing cry of a Buteo and looked up to see an immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, a first sighting of this species in Oak Park for me!!! Awesome! I suspect that, unless this is a migrant, it is the immature bird I saw at Columbus Park the other day. I wouldn’t be surprised if that hawk ranges far into Oak Park since Columbus borders Oak Park.
Later, I caught wind of a gaggle of Wild Turkeys at Glenwood Woods Forest Preserve in southern Cook County. So, of course I hopped in the car and made the hour-long drive south in hopes of finding my first Cook County Turkey. When I arrived, it was fairly birdy but the birds were flighty. So, songbird-wise, I only ended up getting a photo of this HERMIT THRUSH, probably a recent arrival:
I spent a good while looking but unfortunately failed to find the Turkeys. Shucks! It was a shame because these had just been seen by others just two hours prior. Probably the nearby fast-moving freight trains didn’t help my situation. I couldn’t stay overly long because I had parked the car in a pull-off that didn’t quite official (if you know what I mean )
So, since I had already made the long drive, I set my hopes on a nearby hotspot called Zander Woods recently visited by my friend Isoo O’Brien where I was hoping to find some specialty woodland birds at the preserve. I arrived and immediately flushed up a sparrow flock which of course included SONG:
And some gorgeous FOX:
And this FIELD:
As I had hoped, RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS abounded! It was perfect habitat for them: open oak savanna. Nice! Birders love oak savanna.
I had a nice hawk trifecta including a RED-TAILED, a calling RED-SHOULDERED (another species I was hoping to find down here, yay!) and this tiny SHARP-SHINNED which sat briefly between terrorizing the forest birds. Awesome! My first “Sharpie” of the year!
Across the road on Wampum Lake, I was stoked to find a mixed raft of AMERICAN COOT, PIED-BILLED & HORNED GREBES — this is the first time in a long time I can recall seeing Horned Grebes in their breeding plumage! Awesome!
RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS with CANADA GEESE in the background, and the blob in the foreground is a TREE SWALLOW, believe it or not!
Bird-of-the-day to the Oak Park Red-shouldered Hawk and runner-up to the Sharp-shinned Hawk & Red-headed Woodpeckers at Zander Woods. No awards to the missing Turkeys, but it was still a great day! And it was particularly nice to get out of this depressing quarantine. The cases everywhere, including here in Illinois, are multiplying by an exponential scale — things are not looking good.
STAY SAFE and good socially-distant birding,
World Life List: 1111 Species