Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Is Here!

Hi all,

With the trees budding and flowers blooming, it finally feels like spring is here. The radar is lighting up with bird migration tonight, so I cannot wait for tomorrow. Maybe we will finally get this long overdue push of warblers everyone has been longing for. I have gotten many new yearbirds since my last post. I am now at 175, only 100 away from beating the record! But, these 100 will be the hardest. They will test my motivation for this big year. But, I know that my motivation won't waver. Bring it on Mother Nature! Here is a list with a few photos and a few stories of the birds I have gotten since I last posted:

138. Purple Martin

139. Cliff Swallow

140. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

141. Chimney Swift
142. Palm Warbler

143. Spotted Sandpiper
144. Brewer's Blackbird

There was a giant invasion of Brewer's for some reason this spring. They showed up in many places in huge numbers. It was spectacular to see these rare and beautiful birds not 1 mile from my house.

145. Bonaparte's Gull

146. Green Heron
147. Solitary Sandpiper

148. Northern Waterthrush
149. Chipping Sparrow

150. House Wren
151. Bank Swallow

152. Eastern Kingbird
153. Pectoral Sandpiper
154. Winter Wren
155. Wilson's Phalarope

While not as drastic as the Brewer's, Wilson's Phalaropes also underwent an invasion into northern Illinois. On a hope and a whim, my dad and I went to Columbus Park to check out the flooded baseball field to see if we could find anything. I thought we wouldn't. My dad thought we would. He was right!

156. Louisiana Waterthrush

157. Yellow Warbler

158. Eared Grebe
(I never promised amazing photos)

159. Sora

160. American Bittern
161. Yellow-headed Blackbird

162. Virginia Rail
163. Eastern Whip-poor-will

This was the first time I have ever seen one in broad daylight! Great new Douglas Park bird and yearbird for me.

164. Lark Sparrow

165. Clay-colored Sparrow
166. Gray Catbird
167. Cattle Egret

Given that my brother found one 20 yards over the county border the weekend before I saw this one, I was extremely happy to get this bird. Another great Douglas Park addition!

168. Rough-legged Hawk
169. Hooded Warbler

170. Common Yellowthroat
171. Lincoln's Sparrow
172. Swainson's Thrush
173. Grasshopper Sparrow
174. Orange-crowned Warbler
175. Broad-winged Hawk

I met my April goal! Wow. The radar looks amazing tonight. I can't wait for tomorrow! Until next time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Douglas Park 4/8

Hi all,

Today after school, my dad and I decided to go to Douglas Park. My dad had reasonable success with birding at Columbus Park (Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was his best bird), so my hopes were high. It started off well with a Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Flicker, and Great Blue Heron in the main part of the park. We then moved on to the sanctuary where we immediately saw 2 Great Egrets and a group of 7 American Coots, 3 Pied-billed Grebes, 3 Lesser Scaup, and 1 Ring-necked Duck. 2 Wood Ducks also then flew over. Here are the Egrets:

As we walked around the sanctuary, we picked up another Great Egret, a bunch of Fox and Song Sparrows, 1 American Woodcock, and 1 Rusty Blackbird! Here are two photos of the Blackbird:

After a lull, I was ready to leave the sanctuary, but my dad wanted to explore a bit more. After a few minutes, he called telling me that he had a Brown Thrasher! I looked to where he pointed, and there it was!

137. Brown Thrasher

An attempt for a better look failed, so we moved back to the main part of the park. Here, we found a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Overall, we had 37 species, 6 of which were new for the year at Douglas. Here is the full list:

My next post will be soon, so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Migration Is Here!!!

Hi all,

Since it has been so long since my last blog post, this will just be catch up. First, I want to thanks Judy Staberow, Susan Szeszol, and Ted Wolff for helping me in these past weeks. Here is a list of my yearbirds, with some photos of them, since my last post.

118. Red Crossbill (thanks Judy)
119. Green-winged Teal
120. Tree Swallow
121. Ring-necked Pheasant

122. Common Loon (Pictures aren't of the bird that was my yearbird)

123. Rusty Blackbird (Same as the Loon)

124. Great Egret
125. Osprey
126. Eastern Towhee
127. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
128. Vesper Sparrow

129. Eurasian Collared-Dove (thanks Susan)

130. Caspian Tern
131. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
132. Hermit Thrush
133. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
134. Greater Yellowlegs
135. Lesser Yellowlegs
136. Barn Swallow

And that is where I stand so far. Migration is picking up quickly! I got 8 yearbirds this weekend, and those numbers will only get larger. Here are some miscellaneous things from the past few weeks:

Massive Sandhill Crane movements over McGinnis Slough of 5000+ birds

The overwintering Red-shouldered Hawk at Douglas Park cooperated for photos
A Sharp-shinned Hawk decided our backyard would make a great restaurant

 An American Woodcock gave the BEST photo ops anybody could wish for

My brother and I decided we wanted to chase a Spotted Redshank in Indiana. I messaged Ted Wolff and he graciously accepted my request! Ted to the rescue, again! We also picked up Landon Neumann on the way. (ABA #601)

The giant crowd watching the Redshank
Landon spotted some Black Vultures on the way home

While at Montrose, we had some Monk Parakeets. I would not expect to get them there.
Some cooperative birds at Montrose yesterday (Robin, Flicker, GC Kinglet)

Today, Montrose was filled with Short-eared Owls but only one cooperated well for good photos

That is all! Sorry for the lack of recent updates. I will try to do posts the day of my birding trips now to avoid something like this happening again, so expect more frequent posts!