A Travellerspoint blog

Miller Meadow

sunny 45 °F

Two Sundays ago, my girlfriend and I visited Miller Meadow Forest Preserve in hopes of finding Wilson’s Snipes which are migrating through at this time.

Male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD:
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Though we failed to find the snipes, our bird of the day this EASTERN MEADOWLARK was nice:
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Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 940 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 15:18 Archived in USA Comments (1)

The Hunt for Rusty Blackbirds

Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve

sunny 43 °F

Today I started my yearly search for Rusty Blackbirds which migrate through Thatcher Woods every early spring.

Male NORTHERN CARDINAL:
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WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH:
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White-tailed Deer:
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Fox Squirrel, I think:
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COMMON GRACKLES, EUROPEAN STARLINGS, and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS:
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Male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD singing:
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CANADA GEESE:
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Alas, I failed to find the Rusty Blackbirds, but it is a bit early in the season for them. I will return soon to search again!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 940 Species (no recent life birds)

Posted by skwclar 15:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Ross’s Goose!

Chicago, IL

overcast 19 °F

A lifer in the bag - today’s after school birding adventure was successfully finding my life bird Ross’s Goose on Museum Campus. It’s a beautiful bird!
Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 940 Species (1 life bird today: Ross’s Goose)

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Posted by skwclar 14:52 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Back in Illinois: Varied Thrush!

Palos Park, IL

overcast 27 °F

Today, I went birding after school in hopes of finding a vagrant Varied Thrush from the Pacific Northwest which has recently been appearing under a residential bird feeder in Palos Park, IL.

The birds were extremely quiet - not a peep could be heard, only the wind rushing through the leafless tree branches. Amazingly, I caught a glimpse of ONE BIRD in the trees hundreds of yards down the road and zoomed in on it. Low and behold, it was my VARIED THRUSH! And within ten seconds, it disappeared from sight, thankfully not too early for me to snag this diagnostic photo of its dark breast band, though:
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Then, I figured out why the birds might have been so scarce - this gigantic COOPER’S HAWK was diligently patrolling the area:
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Bird-of-the-day to the Varied Thrush, which I have only heard once before in Washington State but never before seen. Runner-up to the COOPER’S HAWK.

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

Posted by skwclar 17:16 Archived in USA Tagged varied_thrush Comments (0)

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge!

Edgewater, FL

sunny 55 °F

Today my mom and I had a wonderful morning of birding in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A huge thanks to her for driving!

BARRED OWL I spotted from the car on the way there:
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The main birding location for the morning was a slow drive up Black Point Wildlife Drive in search for the many aquatic avian species found there. It did not disappoint!

PIED-BILLED GREBE:
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NORTHERN SHOVELERS:
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AMERICAN AVOCETS and a NORTHERN PINTAIL:
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Male HOODED MERGANSER:
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ANHINGA:
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TRICOLORED HERON:
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ROSEATE SPOONBILLS:
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BLUE-WINGED TEAL:
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MARBLED GODWIT flyover, an uncommon species!
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CATTLE EGRET:
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LEAST SANDPIPER:
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PIPING PLOVER, an endangered species!
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NORTHERN PINTAIL:
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WOOD STORK:
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REDDISH EGRET:
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BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE:
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LESSER SCAUP:
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SALTMARSH SPARROW, a rather unexpected and amazingly rare and shy life bird!
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Next, we went to the Visitor Center to hopefully find the Painted Buntings which spend the winter there.

Sure enough, a female PAINTED BUNTING appeared:
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Followed by the INCREDIBLE male!!!!!
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Next, it was off to the Scrub Ridge trail to look for Florida Scrub-Jays. We first found this immature RED-SHOULDERED HAWK!
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Then, we nailed the scrub jay which was a life bird!
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Finally, we drove down Biolab Road in search of more waterbirds. It did not disappoint with this raft of thousands of AMERICAN COOTS:
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COMMON GROUND-DOVE:
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ZENAIDA DOVE:
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We had a pretty good view of the Kennedy Space Center:
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And seeing this Alligator was very cool!
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Overall it was a wonderful morning of birding and nature watching! Bird-of-the-day award will be shared by the Saltmarsh Sparrow and Painted Bunting, with runners-up to the Reddish Egret and Florida Scrub-Jay. The full list is below. So much fun, thanks Mom!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 939 Species (2 life birds today: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Florida Scrub-Jay)

1. Blue-winged Teal
2. Northern Shoveler
3. Gadwall
4. Northern Pintail
5. Lesser Scaup
6. Hooded Merganser
7. Pied-billed Grebe
8. American White Pelican
9. Brown Pelican
10. Double-created Cormorant
11. Anhinga
12. Great Blue Heron
13. Great Egret
14. Snowy Egret
15. Little Blue Heron
16. Tricolored Heron
17. Reddish Egret
18. Cattle Egret
19. Green Heron
20. White Ibis
21. Glossy Ibis
22. Roseate Spoonbill
23. Wood Stork
24. Black Vulture
25. Turkey Vulture
26. Osprey
27. Bald Eagle
28. Red-shouldered Hawk
29. American Kestrel
30. Common Gallinule
31. American Coot
32. Semipalmated Plover
33. Piping Plover
34. Killdeer
35. American Avocet
36. Marbled Godwit
37. Ruddy Turnstone
38. Sanderling
39. Least Sandpiper
40. Wilson’s Snipe
41. Greater Yellowlegs
42. Laughing Gull
43. Ring-billed Gull
44. Royal Tern
45. Sandwich Tern
46. Common Ground-Dove
47. Zenaida Dove
48. Barred Owl
49. Belted Kingfisher
50. Eastern Phoebe
51. Florida Scrub-Jay
52. American Crow
53. Fish Crow
54. Tree Swallow
55. Gray Catbird
56. Northern Mockingbird
57. Common Yellowthroat
58. Palm Warbler
59. Northern Cardinal
60. Painted Bunting
61. Red-winged Blackbird
62. Common Grackle
63. Boat-tailed Grackle
64. Saltmarsh Sparrow

Posted by skwclar 10:04 Archived in USA Comments (6)

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