Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Last weekend, I got 8 year birds.
We went to Thatcher Woods for a Winter Wren Jeff Hardt had been seeing. We missed it, but we did get:
77. Brown Creeper
78. Northern Flicker
79. Golden-crowned Kinglet
80. Great-horned Owl
We wandered around the Chicago area as usual. Douglas Park had the Red-shouldered still and the passerine flock was there again. We then went to Little Red Schoolhouse for Tufted Titmouse. We got our target immediately.
81. Tufted Titmouse
We then went to Wolf Lake. On the way, a flock of four birds passed over the road. At first I thought they were strange Mourning Doves but when I thought about it for a second, I immediately realized they were Monk Parakeets.
82. Monk Parakeet
We then went through the Calumet Area and got nothing of note. We then went to Montrose and got the target immediately, and a bonus bird!
84. Ruddy Duck
Now that catch up is over, we can continue normally.
On Sunday, we were going to lead an Illinois Young Birders Trip (ILYB) along the lakefront for gulls and ducks. Freezing rain was predicted, so we rescheduled the trip for next weekend. We still decided to run a shortened version on Sunday. Saturday was our scouting day. We missed all of our targets except we got a Thayer's Gull at Monroe Harbor. It was disappointing. I got no new yearbirds.
Sunday came around and we met up with 5 or so families at the parking lot on Northerly Island. While waiting for everyone, we saw a flyover Kestrel and we watched a Crow catch some sort of rodent. After everyone came, we took the bread and our scopes over to Monroe Harbor. We started to chum. We got a few gulls to come in. The conditions weren't too good as there was too much ice. Next weekend should be better. When chumming, I looked at my email and saw that Michelle Devlin had an Evening Grosbeak at Rosehill Cemetery!!!!! I also read that she had White-winged Crossbills, but they flew off. I wanted to go to Rosehill. I NEEDED to go Rosehill. We stayed at Monroe for 15 more minutes, in which we got a Thayer's Gull and a northeastern-type Herring Gull. I, honestly, was barely paying attention. My mind was flashing back to the memories of how almost every Evening Grosbeak in Illinois this year either flew over or stayed a few minutes at one location. We got into the cars at last. I was extremely excited. We got to the cemetery and parked in the area we were fairly sure that we needed to be in. None of us bird much at Rosehill, so we didn't know where anything was. We wandered around for 10 minutes and I heard someone say that they had it. I looked up and saw them pointing towards some birders. I then booked it for about 150 feet, nervous as ever to see this bird. When I got within 50 feet of where they were, I slowly walked towards them. Step by step. Second by second. After an eternity, or 15 seconds, they seemed the same, I reached the birders. I immediately recognized them as Michelle Devlin, Fran Morel, and Al Stokie. Fran quickly told me where it was. I put my bins up and it was there. A beautiful specimen. I took in the moment. I savored it. Once satisfied, I put my bins down and put my camera up. I got a few quick shots. I then said my "thank yous" and talked a bit. The grosbeak eventually flew back one tree. We followed it. It then flew back a bit more. We followed it. We watched it. We enjoyed it. Then, for some reason, it dropped from 50 feet up in a tree to 2 feet from the ground in an evergreen bush. It then hopped out onto the ground and fed with a Cardinal. Soon, it flew back up. Then, it flew 50 feet south. It landed in the top of a tree and stayed there. That is where we left it. It was starting to sleet, so we left for home.
85. Evening Grosbeak
I will be able to bird after school now, so the next time I post could really be at any time. I am anxiously awaiting and hoping that the address of someone with a Varied Thrush in their backyard will be put out. Doug Stotz had some Red Crossbills in a cemetery near our house, so we might look for those tomorrow.