At 3:45 AM Lucas R. and Derek D. started off the day at Rollins Savanna finding only some Canada Geese. Next, they went to IBSP once again finding very little. However, they did find some calling Eastern Whip-poor-wills. After that, they drove down to Montrose Point where I met up with them at 5:45. At Montrose, Lucas and Derek immediately found Nashville and Blackburnian Warblers. If you read other reports from today, you would not imagine that Montrose could be good and you are right. We spent an hour walking the magic hedge and exploring the beach and then met up with Isoo O’Brien, Jake Cvetas, and Eddie Kasper to explore the hedge some more – finding only 5 warbler species (although that includes the elusive but photo friendly Hooded Warbler) and only 2 shorebird species (Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper). After pretty much failing at Montrose, Isoo O’Brien told us we should check out Washington Park. At Washington Park, after Isoo, Jake, and Eddie split off, we found six Black-crowned Night-Herons, Warbling Vireos, and various species of waterfowl. Our next stop was at Plum Creek and along the way we stopped at Big Marsh where we found Soras, a Solitary Sandpiper, Chipping Sparrows, and a Vesper Sparrow. Once we got there, we immediately started searching for the White-eyed Vireos and Orchard Orioles seen there recently. Just as we started walking through the shrubs, Lucas played the White-eyed Vireo Call and a bird answered it right back in the parking lot! We walked some more – not finding much. So we moved onto Orland Grassland – South where we found Sora, Blue-winged Teal, Savannah Sparrow, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and a Horned Lark. At our next stop, McClaughry Springs Woods, we found almost nothing. The only new bird for the day was a heard only Carolina Wren. After a short stop at McClaughry Springs, we headed over to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie to try to find some of its specialties like Northern Mockingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, and Grasshopper & Henslow’s Sparrows. It took us awhile before we found any of those but we did end up finding 3 of the 4 targets (3 Northern Mockingbirds, 2 Loggerhead Shrikes, and 1 extremely cooperative Grasshopper Sparrow (which stayed within 5 feet of us for over a minute) plus, a Bank Swallow which was new for the day. We ended our big day with a long drive to Dixon Waterfowl Refuge. There we found a nice male Yellow-headed Blackbird, 3 Canvasbacks, a couple Red-headed Woodpeckers, lots of American White Pelicans, tons of Palm & Yellow-rumped Warblers, Purple Martins, Least Sandpiper, and 3 Lesser Yellowlegs.
|Great Blue Heron|
|Great Crested Flycatcher|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow|