A Travellerspoint blog

Young Birder Big Day!

More catch up - this time from early June

all seasons in one day

On June 2, Eddie Kasper and I headed over to the Palos area to scout out for an all-day "Big Day" on June 4 where the two of us and two other young birders would try to find the greatest number of birds as we could during one whole day of birding within Cook County.

Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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Our best find was this BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, a seldom-seen species that perched pretty nicely in the canopy before flying off:
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Before we knew it, our alarm clocks rang at 3:30am on June 4 and four extremely drowsy young birders (Eddie, Jake, Isoo, and myself) piled into the car parked just outside Eddie's house where we had all crashed that night.

We made it to our first stop, Buttonbush Slough, a smidge behind schedule at 4:10am (because it's an all-day affair, the event must be planned out impeccably to the minute beforehand with little margin for error). We kicked off our day with AMERICAN ROBIN and were soon nicely on track, gaining our target VIRGINIA RAIL heard calling at the Slough.

Next, it was off to McClaughry Springs Woods where we successfully called in our BARRED OWL, whose eyes you can see shining in this photo. A pair or even possibly a trio of them then proceeded to call their eerie monkey-howls which echoed through the forest at the early hour of the morning.
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A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER came to investigate:
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Swallow Cliff Woods was slower than expected, although we did pick up a heard-only ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, and then it was off to the Ford Road/Cap Sauer area where we quickly scoped out these OSPREY on their nest platform:
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A calling PILEATED WOODPECKER was also noteworthy at this location.

Then, it was off to Orland Grassland (North) where we picked up a good number of open land species including HENSLOW'S SPARROW:
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After Orland Grassland North and South, we headed over to Plum Creek Preserve, where we had BOBOLINK:
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And male BLUE-WINGED WARBLER:
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At Eggers Grove on calumet, we dipped on Yellow-billed Cuckoo and the hoped-for Yellow-crowned Night-Heron but we did have its more common BLACK-CROWNED relative flyby:
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American Toad:
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MUTE SWAN family at Indian Ridge Marsh:
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MONK PARAKEET at the Chicago Skyway Bridge:
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After a full day of birding, we only finally picked up ROCK PIGEON on the north side at about 4:45pm.

Raccoon at Jarvis Bird Sanctuary:
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Male EUROPEAN STARLING at Montrose, common but pretty:
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Male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER at Skokie Lagoons:
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WILLOW FLYCATCHER at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve, where we also picked up our hoped-for COMMON GALLINULE.
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AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS, GREAT EGRETS, and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS at Baker Lake:
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PEREGRINE FALCON near Western Springs:
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Beautiful red-morph EASTERN SCREECH-OWL at Miller Meadow Forest Preserve:
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This GREAT HORNED OWL, as well as an AMERICAN WOODCOCK and COMMON NIGHTHAWK, all at Miller Meadow, provided a grand finish to the 18-hour, 100+ mile, 98-species young birder big day!
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Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable day. Although we wanted to get around 120 species, two factors which were extremely bad traffic due to the beach at Montrose, as well as the high temperature which quieted bird activity fast, limited the count to 98 for the day.

Bird-of-the-day in my opinion goes to the hooting BARRED OWLS at the beginning of the day, which were absolutely magnificent.

Good birding,
Henry

Posted by skwclar 21:05 Archived in USA Comments (0)

May Wrap-Up

More catch-up!

all seasons in one day

On May 21, I led a morning bird walk at Miller Meadow Forest Preserve in Hines, IL. Quite a few birds were found, including these two stunning male INDIGO BUNTINGS perched on the same branch:

WILLOW FLYCATCHER:
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SAVANNAH SPARROW:
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EASTERN MEADOWLARK:
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Male BOBOLINKS:
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Male HENSLOW'S SPARROW:
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EASTERN KINGBIRD:
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YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER:
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Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
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Bird-of-the-day for May 21 goes to the Henslow's Sparrow, a flagship species of grassland habitat.

May 29:

On Memorial Day I birded Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Mory. It turns out we were lucky to bird here because the day after it would close permanently for intensive restoration.

Male BALTIMORE ORIOLES:
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Male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:
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RED-HEADED WOODPECKER:
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FIELD SPARROW:
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SAVANNAH SPARROW:
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GRASSHOPPER SPARROW:
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Many HENSLOW'S SPARROWS were very cooperative:
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Bird-of-the-day for May 29 goes to the Grasshopper Sparrow for me, another very uncommon grassland species.

Good birding,
Henry

Posted by skwclar 20:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

More Montrose Migration Madness (Finally!)

Catching up on May sightings!

all seasons in one day

Sorry I have not posted in quite a while! Life has been crazy but I have finally found the time to write catch-up posts in the form of a six-hour flight to Ireland on my way to Italy with my choir, the Voice of Chicago. So here is the first of many posts I will churn out in order to catch up with life! :)

Ah, so I left off in mid-May, a grand time when I birded around the neighborhood as well as at the popular migration mecca of Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, taking advantage of arguably the most wonderful time of the year, for a birder.

May 14:

I led a very enjoyable walk around Columbus Park this morning which turned up quite a number of quality avian migrants.

EASTERN KINGBIRD:
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GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, a fairly uncommon bird:
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NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:
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WARBLING VIREO:
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Male YELLOW WARBLER:
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CANADA GOOSE family:
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GREAT BLUE HERON on the prowl:
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Male BALTIMORE ORIOLE:
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LINCOLN'S SPARROW:
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Male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER:
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Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
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Male TENNESSEE WARBLER:
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Bird-of-the-day for May 14 goes to the multiple Golden-winged Warblers seen.

May 15:

This was a great morning of birding with Kim Habel and Nate Habel at the aforementioned Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary!

Male ORCHARD ORIOLE:
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Beautifully and rarely-cooperative male MOURNING WARBLER:
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Female BLACKPOLL WARBLER:
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CAPE MAY WARBLER:
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EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL, a fantastic surprise and the only daytime look at this species I have ever obtained!
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VEERY:
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Female MOURNING WARBLER:
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DUNLIN:
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Female PURPLE MARTIN:
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Bird-of-the-day for May 15 goes to the surprise Eastern Whip-poor-will.

May 16:

Another day of birding at Montrose Point yielded even better success, especially since it was kicked off with an absolutely crippling view of favorite Illinois bird, the HOODED WARBLER:
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May BAY-BREASTED WARBLER:
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First-year male AMERICAN REDSTART:
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SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
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WOOD THRUSH:
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Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
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Male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, another stunner!
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GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH:
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More eye candy in the form of a male CANADA WARBLER:
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Bird-of-the-day for May 16 goes to my favorite Illinois bird, the Hooded Warbler, which allowed for magnificent looks.

May 18:

Yet another morning spent at Montrose Point with birder Kim Habel was amazingly productive!

DUNLIN:
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SEMIPALMATED PLOVER:
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ACADIAN FLYCATCHER:
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GRAY CATBIRD:
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YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER:
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Male CONNECTICUT WARBLER, rare bird and a rarely cooperative one, also!!
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Male WILSON'S WARBLER:
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An even rarer bird came in the form of a NELSON'S SPARROW that I amazingly flushed into the Magic Hedge, as seen below! This is usually an extremely elusive species that sticks to the dune grasses so it was an amazing surprise, and a life bird!
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Bird-of-the-day for May 18 goes to the Nelson's Sparrow!

Good birding,
Henry

Posted by skwclar 11:10 Archived in USA Comments (1)

May Migration Madness...Finally!

all seasons in one day 63 °F

After much delay due to northerly winds, migration is finally in full swing here in Oak Park! Enjoy the photos!

Male WOOD THRUSH:
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Male, then female BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS:
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LEAST FLYCATCHER:
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Male BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER:
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Male YELLOW WARBLER:
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Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
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Male BLUE-HEADED VIREO:
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Late male RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, a big surprise!
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NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH:
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Male MAGNOLIA WARBLER:
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Male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER:
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OVENBIRD:
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SWAINSON'S THRUSH:
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Pair of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES:
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The two rarest birds of this migration so far showed up this morning! This is a male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, a species I have never seen in the spring before!
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And my FAVORITE warbler and all-time third favorite bird, the HOODED WARBLER, lacking a hood because she is a female. I have never seen this uncommon species in Oak Park before!!
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Good birding! Bring it on, spring migration!

Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 20:25 Archived in USA Comments (0)

A Slow Start to May

all seasons in one day 60 °F

Due to a very annoying weather hold of northerly winds, migrants have been rather sparse this late April/early May. Here are some photos from the birds that I have managed to see, though, on the bird walks and surveys around Oak Park:

Male WOOD DUCK roosting:
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Male WHITE-THROATED SPARROW:
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TURKEY VULTURE:
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BROAD-WINGED HAWK:
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ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER:
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Male YELLOW WARBLER:
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Male BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER:
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Male BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER:
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Male NASHVILLE WARBLER:
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Flowers in Taylor Park:
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RED-TAILED HAWK soaring:
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Male HOUSE FINCH:
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Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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Male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK:
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MOURNING DOVE:
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Immature COOPER'S HAWK:
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Adult COOPER'S HAWK on nest:
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CHIPPING SPARROW:
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More migrants to come! I just wish these darned northerly winds would shift!

Henry
World Life List: 929 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 19:27 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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