November Illinois Falcons Trip Report

Today, we started bright and early at Swallow Cliff Woods with hopes of spotting some continuing crossbills! We scanned the coniferous trees for quite a while, finding nothing more than a few goldfinches. And although we never did locate any crossbills we did encounter a nice flyover Rough-legged Hawk. We moved on to our next stop, Saganashkee Slough, where we found lots of gulls and waterfowl including a couple Common Loons! After a quick but thorough scan there, we drove over to Big Marsh, we observed almost no birds there, so we threw some rocks on the thin ice (which make an impressive sound, in case you did not know) and promptly left. Our next stop was Wolf Lake, we examined the entire Illinois side of the lake finding not much more than hundreds of coots and a few Mute Swans. So far this is probably not sounding like the most exciting trip ever, but that all changed when we headed over to Steelworkers Park! As soon as we pulled up, we started to find birds including a very close Sharp-shinned Hawk! It seemed like good lake watching conditions, so we watched for about thirty minutes finding a possible Long-tailed Duck, tons of mergansers, and even a Black Scoter! We had noticed that many of the birds were landing near Rainbow Beach, which was too far to ID from Steelworkers, so we went there.  Upon arrival at Rainbow Beach, we found some sparrows and a few waterfowl species but nothing too exceptional. We walked a little and ended up finding a large raft of ducks (mainly Redheads, Buffleheads, and scaup) in the raft of ducks was a one Horned Grebe that scared a few of us because at first glance it looked like a Western. Next, we headed over to Montrose Point. We extensively searched the dunes and the beach where we found Lapland Longspurs, American Pipits, and some very photogenic Dunlins! My last stop for the day was lunch, where we ate and recapped our birding for the day!

 

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