Past Trip Reports

February Trip 2017
A trip to the Field Museum with Josh Engel

BIRDING

I thought we could do some birding before we met Josh, so we started the day off at Northerly Island. At the Northerly Island parking lot, we found that Red-winged Blackbirds have come back in numbers and we found a single Brown-headed Cowbird. We looked over Lake Michigan finding only Common and Red-breasted Mergansers. After scanning the lake for a while, we went over to the harbor where to be found were more Mergansers, a Goldeneye, some very cooperative Canada Geese, and a very large Crayfish. After the Harbor, we walked down a path finding very few birds. Then it was time to meet Josh Engel at the Field Museum. On the way there, we found a gull that at first appeared to be a Lesser Black-backed Gull but it turned out to be just a Ring-billed. As we walked closer to the Field Museum, we found a Red-winged Blackbird just feet from us.

TOUR OF THE FIELD MUSEUM’S BIRD DIVISION

We met with Josh just a little after 10 AM. The first stop of our tour was the library where Josh showed us a giant Audubon book (I can not remember the name of it). Then Josh showed us the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Passenger Pigeon, and Carolina Parakeet Specimens. After that, Josh Showed us some more specimens of Flycatchers, Hummingbirds, Bird Of Paradise. We got to see how Budgerigars reflected the IR light, and we saw many other specimens that I did not name here.  Our next stop was the specimen prep room. He showed us the different types of specimens before leading us into the beetle room. Then we went to look at a few giant birds like Wandering Albatross, Andean Condor, and Lammergeier. Our last stop was Peggy Macnamara’s art studio where we got to see some of her amazing work.

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January Trip 2017
Heather Ridge Golf Course, Waukegan Beach, IBSP south and north units, and North Point Marina.

We started our day off at Heather Ridge Golf Course to look for a Ross’s Goose. Very few birds were present. We waited for everyone to show up and then headed over to Waukegan Beach. At Waukegan, we found at least three thousand Scaup, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Joel Greenberg & Ted Wolff. After that, we headed up to the south unit of IBSP where we found very few birds but the weather was beautiful and we ran into Joel & Ted again and Beau Schaefer & Andrew Stewart. Then we went to the north unit of IBSP where we spent about twenty minutes looking for Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Shrikes, with no luck. In fact, the only identified bird there was a Herring Gull. Our last stop was North Point Marina in hopes of finding a rare Gull. Once we got to North Point Marina, we found Joel and Ted. So we asked them what they had seen they told us that they had a pale winged Gull (unidentifiable species) and some Bufflehead.  As I was taking pictures of the Bufflehead, I saw in my viewfinder an adult male Harlequin Duck. I showed the photos to Joel and he agreed. We spent the next forty minutes viewing all of the details of the Duck.

eBird checklists:

November Trip 2016
Rainbow Beach, Calumet Park, and Steelworkers Park

We started the day off at Rainbow Beach with 13 birders. The first 30 minutes were spent looking by the parking lot. There was not much there other than about a hundred Coots, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Horned Grebes. After that, we started to hike through the grasses to if there was anything hiding among the Coots and flushed a song sparrow.
Once we got to the best viewing spot of the coots,we saw a few hundred ducks that were directly in the sun. We started to head back to our cars to try to get to the other side of ducks.  Along the way, we flushed a swamp sparrow and saw a very cooperative SNOW BUNTING on the beach. Once we got the other side of the ducks, we saw Redhead, Bufflehead, two SURF SCOTERS (found by Eddie Kasper), Greater Scaup, Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Megansers, Horned Grebe, and Canada Geese. Then we went to Calumet Park and saw a few hundred Canada Geese in the baseball diamond and a raft of Coots in Indiana -not much else there. After that, we drove Steelworkers Park. Along the way, we found about 50 MONK PARAKEETS at 88th St. After stopping there for a while, we went up to Steelworkers Park and found that was very quiet with the best bird there being a Kestrel.

 

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October Trip 2016
Nelson Lake and Fermilab
I and Benjamin Sabastain conducted our first WBC bird walk with just the two of us.
We started out at Nelson Lake at 6:50 AM (Benjamin came later at 8 AM) early on the walk was good with Sedge Wrens (along with some Sparrows) all along the trail. When we got to the observation deck thousands of Canada Geese and hundreds of Coots suprised us and as we looked a little closer (with scope) we saw Wigeons, lots of Cackling Geese, three Pelicans, Mallards, a flock of about 15 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE!, and Blue-winged Teal oh and all of this is before the sun rose.
When the sun rose (7:20 AM) the Geese started to leave (about a thousand in five minutes at one point) but the Ducks were persistent as we picked up Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Snow Goose, and Shoveler.
Once Ben arrived the waterfowl were mostly gone with just a few lingering Teals, Coots, and Canada Geese but the three Pelicans were still there. At 8:50 AM we decided to go to Fermilab.

We started at Lake Law and there was not much there so we walked over to A.E.Sea and on first inspection there was not much there either but as we looked closer we found Gadwall, Green-winged Teal (the only Waterfowl new for the day), THREE LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER’s, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, and a Pectoral Sandpiper. After that we went to the Bison Pen and once again on first inspection there was not much but as we waited a little bit we found a Merlin, Bluebirds, Juncos (inculding a cismontanus), a Pipit, about twenty Eastern Meadowlarks,

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