Hi fellow birders! Simon here! Today was the first anniversary of Whimbrel Birders Club. Ranging from ages 8- Mid Forties today, Whimbrel Birders Club really is a bird club where age is no barrier! With a grand total of 22 species at Nelson Lake and 29 species at Fermilab, we did not meet the first walk’s epic 60 total species! Scoping out the very same locations in the Batavia, Illinois area, we first met up at Nelson Lake, at the Dick Young Forest Preserve with throngs of waterfowl flying in and out. Oliver’s dad, waited for the expected guests at the cars while Oliver and Ben Sanders walked out to the overlook to get an early jump on ducks and geese. Peter, my brother, and I walk up and immediately begin to scan with our binoculars. The following birds were seen in the 10-minute wait for my mom, and Oliver’s dad to come along:
- Hundreds of Canada Geese
- 3 Snow Geese ( 1 White, 1 Dark, and 1 Mystery)
- 30 Northern Pintail
- 1 Northern Shoveler
- 30 Blue and Green-winged Teal.
- 15 American Wigeons
- 10 Gadwall
Mallards, Herons and Egrets, Gulls, Nuthatches, Sparrows and hundreds of Grackles.
In the midst of the multitude of birds, Benjamin Sebastian arrived. He sadly misses the 3 Snow Geese. We birded for a few more minutes before hopping into our cars to drive to the second location, Fermilab. When we got there, we drove past the Bison Prairie, the research station, and finally, to the first lake to resume our expedition. At Lake Law, the only birds there were some Canada Geese, 2 Sandhill Cranes, 8 Great Egrets, and a bonus CANVASBACK! W walked the trail to see no new birds, but to see a surprising amount of giant bullfrogs! We joked around saying that there was an accident with the particle accelerators, and it mutated them to a gigantic size! We met another birder, and she told us where to find a lingering Short-eared Owl, and some Greater White-fronted Geese. We got to a second lake, to find nothing but a few Double-crested Cormorants. There was a potential Neotropic Cormorant, but it turned out to be just a Double-crested. As we walk back to the cars, we decide to play a little prank on Lucas Rot, who couldn’t make it. We were inspired by the talk of Greater White-fronted Geese to text Lucas that we were in awe by the presence of a “Lesser White-fronted Goose!” First, we texted him a bad picture of one off of the internet, then a photo of me “petting” it using Ben Sanders’ Snapchat. Then we sent him another bad photo of the species, but with a little bonus, a Barnacle Goose! Of course, we weren’t really seeing either goose. It went on for a while. We hardly looked for the Short-eared Owl, but did see a Blue-winged Warbler! We kept texting until we got to the area where the Greater White-fronted Geese had been seen, but they were not present. We scanned the Canada Geese to look for any other birds. Many Eastern Bluebirds came in and out with Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers. Suddenly, 20 geese erupted from the flock, and we got a closer look. What do we know, they are all GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE!!!!!! They fly off but then come back to land back in the field. We are now saying, “Now, find the real Lesser White-fronted Goose!” We finally tell Lucas that we didn’t see a real Lesser White-fronted Goose. We were going to wait, but we didn’t want him to post it to rare bird alert, and get us all expelled from the ABA. All fun and games! We ended the day with a bang due to a flock of Wild Turkeys! Honored to be on the first anniversary of Whimbrel Birders Club walk, it was a great day!