A Travellerspoint blog

Cook County Birding Slam!

sunny 85 °F

Yesterday, I guided two birders: Fernando, from Spain, who is about my age, and John, from England. We had a BLAST and found some great, great birds — despite it being in a typically-quiet part of the summer in Chicago. As I write this, I am enjoying my first evening here in Sun Valley Idaho and will soon start posting about the birding from this trip!

Once again, we started the day by birding at Bartel Grassland in the south part of the county — I was hoping to get a photo of the Bobwhite briefly seen tuesday. We started with a DICKCISSEL:
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Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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Male EASTERN MEADOWLARK:
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Female BOBOLINK:
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Male FIELD SPARROW:
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Then, we found a more uncommon sparrow — a HENSLOW’S:
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Finally, we found this NORTHERN BOBWHITE I had seen only briefly on tuesday, our goal for the Bartel Grassland segment:
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Next, we visited Big Marsh in the Calumet area in search of Least Bittern and COMMON GALLINULE, of which we immediately found several sets of families! Amazing given this is a pretty rare Illinois breeding bird.
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WILLOW FLYCATCHER:
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Adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON:
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Juvenile, to compare:
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Female YELLOW WARBLER:
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Immature GREAT BLUE HERON:
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Painted Turtles sunning:
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Fernando was particularly impressed by this tree which was felled by an American Beaver:
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Suddenly, Fernando spotted this rare LEAST BITTERN (!!!!!!) which came up onto a cattail for AMAZING LOOKS! Absolutely incredible for this shy, diminutive, and rare species.
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Along the way to the next stop, we spotted this immature RED-TAILED HAWK:
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A BELL’S VIREO and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW entertained us with their songs at Steelworkers Park, which were added bonuses.

Next was Montrose Point where we scored an amazing KING RAIL which unfortunately scuttled away before I could obtain any photos, but still awesome! Scoring amazing birds!

After picking up my girlfriend, we went to Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve in hopes of a Prothonotary Warbler, which unfortunately was our only big miss of the day. EASTERN WOOD-PEWEEE:
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Fernando ran onto this dangerous looking log at one point which was quite entertaining! I would’ve fallen in!
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What a day! Bird-of-the-day to the Least Bittern with runners-up to the Northern Bobwhite, Common Gallinule, Bell’s Vireo, and King Rail! GREAT!

Bonus bird: Fernando corrected a misidentification I made in Italy, and it turns out I have another life bird: a Melodious Warbler! I had previously misidentified it as a Wood Warbler, which is a lookalike.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 951 Species (1 life bird from Italy: Melodious Warbler)

Posted by skwclar 19:20 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Sharing the Joy

sunny 80 °F

Birding is best when shared, and today I shared my love for summer birding with Fernando, a 14 y.o. who is visiting a friend of the family’s from Spain. He is QUITE the birder, very impressive, and has seen nearly 400 species himself!

This female AMERICAN KESTREL was a life bird for him at our first stop, Bartel Grassland.
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Though it managed to go unphotographed, my favorite bird of the day was a NORTHERN BOBWHITE we immediately heard and briefly saw at Bobolink Picnic Area in the Bartel Grassland.

Molting male BOBOLINK:
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Male HENSLOW’S SPARROW, a life bird for F:
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Monarch:
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SWAMP SPARROW, I think:
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DICKCISSEL:
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Juvenile CEDAR WAXWING:
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SONG SPARROW:
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Female BOBOLINK:
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Oriole - female Baltimore or Orchard? Always confusing for me.
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At Orland Grassland South, F impressively spotted this far-away bird which turned out to be a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, a life bird for him!
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SEDGE WREN, another lifer for him!
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At Swallow Cliff Preserve we found this juvenile EASTERN TOWHEE, yet another lifer for F:
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BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE:
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EASTERN PHOEBE, a life bird for him:
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ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, our best find at Swallow Cliff and another life bird for Fernando:
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OSPREY flying over Cap Sauer Holding:
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Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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Fernando’s favorite American woodpecker, the RED-HEADED:
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We ended the day with a bang with one last life bird for Fernando, this GREEN HERON along the road:
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What a morning! Birds-of-the-day to the Northern Bobwhite and Acadian Flycatcher. Stay tuned for another birding adventure coming up saturday and then on sunday, my departure for my annual trip to Idaho.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 950 Species

Posted by skwclar 13:15 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Birding with my Girlfriend

sunny 85 °F

You know I’ve found someone special when she tolerates birding with me — last week Maddie and I visited Skokie Lagoons and Ryerson Conservation Area in search of woodland bird species.

GREAT BLUE HERON:
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Painted Turtle, I think:
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Female WOOD DUCK:
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WARBLING VIREO:
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Male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER:
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Monarch:
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NORTHERN FLICKER:
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BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER:
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EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE:
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Male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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CEDAR WAXWING:
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Male RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, nice!
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After dropping Maddie at her dance class, I visited Montrose Point in hopes of finding a Piping Plover.

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW:
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Alas, I dipped on the plover but this SPOTTED SANDPIPER offered some photogenic consolation:
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Bird-of-the-day to the uncommon Red-headed Woodpecker with runner-up to the photogenic Spotted Sandpiper, common but beautiful.

Stay tuned — this week I am leading two Cook County birding tours, on Sunday I leave for my annual trip to Idaho for opera camp, and then birding and hiking once the camp ends! Then, on August 22 I will go to college at the Manhattan School of Music! Exciting times!

Good birding,

Henry
World Life List: 950 Species

Posted by skwclar 19:13 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Italy Wrap Up!

all seasons in one day 87 °F

One week ago, my adventure in Italy ended! I had the time of my life, and learned more than I ever thought possible! My favorite trip to Italy EVER!

Here are my host “cousins”
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Beautiful view of Urbania, Italia:
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The staff and students of “Si Parla Si Canta”
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Flying over the Alps on my way home:
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A great trip! And this week, I went on a trip with my girlfriend’s family to Michigan for a few relaxing beach days. That they were! Not many birds, but fun anyway!
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Stay tuned! My next trip this summer is my annual trip to Idaho, but I’ll do some birding around Illinois before then. After that, off to college at the Manhattan School of Music!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 950 Species

Posted by skwclar 18:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Day 22: Birding in the Italian Countryside

sunny 75 °F

Here are some birds I found along a country road here in Urbania!

WHITE WAGTAIL:
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Bird killer:
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Female COMMON BLACKBIRD:
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Male:
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Male BLACK REDSTART:
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Female:
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Young redstart of some species:
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BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE:
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EURASIAN NUTHATCH, nice!
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EURASIAN TREE SPARROW:
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GREAT TIT:
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EURASIAN TREECREEPER, very cool!
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COMMON WOOD PIGEON:
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A great day, stay tuned! Flying back to Chicago this Sunday.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 950 Species

Posted by skwclar 08:02 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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