Αρχεία Ημερολογίου για Οκτώβριος 2020

Οκτώβριος 02, 2020

100,000 ID's!

Hey guys!
After years of work and a lot of hours in front of the computer, I finally hit one of the biggest milestones you can reach on iNat. I got my 100,000th ID! Sitting and scrolling through pages and pages of different species shows a lot of variation and repetition, so I can thank the ID page for helping me become a much better naturalist. I'm also nearing another milestone, 10,000 observations! Lots of exciting things happening and coming up at the end of this crappy year. Anyways, thanks for reading and catch ya later.


Posted on Οκτώβριος 02, 2020 0108 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 3σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 07, 2020

Finding New Locations for Under-documented Species in the Chicago Area

Hey all,
I'm sure that you're all aware that I've been zipping back and forth across Cook County, or the Chicago area, in search of birds and everything else I can get a photo of. I went after school yesterday to chase an extremely rare bird called a Lark Bunting. It did not end up showing itself for the many birders there looking. As I was walking through the grasses I saw something I only recently discovered in Cook County, the Common Five-lined Skink. A friend told me that he stumbled across one out basking on some rocks, and he flipped a couple, and there was another. I went a couple days later and flipped only a couple rocks before finding a few. Yesterday, as I was walking back to the car through the grasses, I noticed some boards and large logs. I knew that I didn't have time to flip for Skinks or Snakes, but it ended up being okay because a Skink ran in front of me on the path! A nice way to end a failed attempt to get a rarity.

Stay safe,

Posted on Οκτώβριος 07, 2020 0107 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 2 παρατηρήσεις | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 16, 2020

Why I don't run with my AirPods in.

Hey all,
I'm a runner and a birder. Running can be a really good way to see birds sometimes. I've gotten to find window collisions that are interesting, I've seen many yearbirds and one time I counted 22 species while on a 2 mile run in my school's neighborhood. Although my playlist for working out doesn't get much attention, I don't really care because if I run with my earbuds in, I will likely miss birds. Today was a perfect example. I was running around my neighborhood for a PE assignment, and I made sure to go in the later morning because I know that that's when Geese typically tend to migrate. Sure enough, as I'm crossing the alley by my house I hear some geese migrating over and there was a flock of about 25 flying SSW. One looked slightly smaller and paler so I turned around, and got to a clearing where I could see them better and sure enough, there were 2 Snow Geese flying with a flock of Canada Geese! Year Bird 268 for Cook County, which means that I've beaten my previous record for Cook County by 20 birds! 20!!! Anyways, if you're a birder and a runner, maybe try running without music sometime, you might be pleasantly surprised.

All for now,

Posted on Οκτώβριος 16, 2020 0331 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

An Epic Day of Birding and Herping

Hey all,
Sorry it's about a week late, but I just kinda had to do a post for it. Henry Griffin(@henrygriffin), Oliver Burrus(@whimbrelbirder), Peter Tolzmann(@hazelgrouse4) and I were going to meet up last Saturday in SW Cook County to look for some continuing Red-necked Grebes. My family and I got there a few minutes earlier, and got the grebes right off the bat. Then we moved to a better angle a bit farther down the road at the slough and saw that the grebes were much farther away than 5 minutes before, and were paddling away pretty fast. Then we lost them. I called Oliver and told him that we just lost the grebes. A few minutes later he and his dad pulled up and started scanning with us. After about 15 minutes, Oliver and I were looking at a picture of a Spotted Salamander he flipped at a nearby forest preserve earlier that morning when his dad called his name. He called his name again, and Oliver finally went over to their scope to see what he was looking at. His dad said "Hey Oliver, what's this small gull?" My immediate thought was a Bonaparte's or even a Franklin's Gull. FRGU would be a year bird and BOGU would be a photo year bird. I get on the bird and am looking at it for a few seconds and I had a feeling it wasn't what I originally thought it was. I waited for a few more seconds for it to turn to the sun so it wouldn't be so backlit. Just from the shape alone I had a feeling it was something, but I just needed confirmation. Then it turned and I shouted out "SABINE'S GULL!!" We put it out on the RBA's and soon enough dozens of birders were there looking at the bird. Oliver, Peter and I began to walk around to the other side of the slough to try to get a completely non-backlit look at it. We walked out onto a log and just 100 feet away it was sitting there with the Ring-billed Gulls. Such a cool bird! The best part was that it was the first chaseable and first inland for Cook County ever.

Then Oliver, Peter and I moved locations a bit and were walking to a possible flip site I scouted out from Google Earth. Right before the possible site, just off the path, we were flipping rocks and logs hoping for a Red-bellied Snake or something. Then Oliver said "Oh, there!' I whipped around and there was a NEONATE EASTERN MILKSNAKE sitting on a mossy rock!!! It felt like redemption for the hours I spent in downstate Illinois looking for the "Red" Milksnake, and failing to find it. This little snake looked just like the pictures I'd seen of them. Such an awesome snake. After that we tried to find a Queensnake, but failed at that also. We met up with Henry and went off to the next spot.

Then we were off to another possible flip site, but it actually ended up being terrible. It was walking through a swamp to get to an old, scary looking Mountain Biking course along the I&M canal. Cool to see, but no snakes. We did find Oliver's lifer Unisexual Mole Salamander though.

Out of impulse, we decided to go to the best location to find salamanders in all of Cook County (in our opinions,) to look for more herps. We found 4 species and 31 individuals. Peter, Henry and I said goodbye to Oliver and his dad and we decided to hit up one more place that we haven't really ever explored before.

After that Henry, Peter and I said goodbye to Oliver and his dad to go to one last place before the sun set completely. We only found 4 salamanders, but the ravine that we dropped into was more impressive I'd say.

I'll attach some observations from the day of some cool stuff we found.

That basically concludes and epic day of birding and herping, so thanks for reading!

Posted on Οκτώβριος 16, 2020 0403 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 10 παρατηρήσεις | 1 σχόλιο | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 17, 2020

Remembrance of an Adder

Hey all,
Well this is an interesting story to say the least.
I was sitting in my kitchen a few minutes ago thinking about all of the missed iNat species from my trip to Poland 3 years ago. Basically just all of the things I walked by that were rare or just super cool. Recently, I've gotten into snakes, and tonight I remembered that our group of 30 crowded around a big, brown snake up in the mountains, and thought it was so cool. Then I remembered that the only big, brown snake in Poland is venomous. I ran upstairs, scrolled through all of my pics until I found it and I started laughing so hard! Sure enough, the snake that I got 6 inches from to take this pic of was the Adder, the only venomous snake in Europe. I now know that it isn't smart to crowd venomous snakes, so I just find it hilarious now.

Until the next venomous snake (hopefully a Massassagua!),

Posted on Οκτώβριος 17, 2020 0311 ΠΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 23, 2020

It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Rarity Season

Hey guys,
Passerine migration has died down for the most part now, with the exception of some straggling flycatchers and warblers but sparrows are still moving in force. Typically Northwest Winds in Chicago are favorable for moving raptors like Northern Goshawk and Golden Eagle along with other birds like Phalaropes (Red-necked and Red), Townsend's Solitaire, Spotted and/or Green-tailed Towhees, Sage Thrasher and other western birds. Northeast winds can also be favorable for Northern Goshawk, any potential Jaegers (Pomarine, Parasitic, and even though it's pretty late, Long-tailed is still possible), and finches like White-winged and Red Crossbills, Evening Grosbeaks and Redpolls (Common and Hoary). Those are all pretty good for Chicago, and a certain someone (I'm looking at you @ieobrien) would greatly appreciate any notifications that one of these have showed up in Cook County. Even flyovers matter.

Onto other more random rarities, Starting about this week, until pretty much Thanksgiving, really odd birds tend to show up in really odd places. Whether it's a King Eider on a cemetery lawn or an Ancient Murrelet on Lake Michigan, extremely rare birds like to show up. If you can't bird far away from home, walk to your nearest little park and search the White-throated Sparrow flock for any impostors like a Golden-crowned or Harris's Sparrows. Go to the local cemetery and find the trees with berries, or find the large American Robin flock and comb it for a Townsend's Solitaire or a Varied Thrush. If you live near the lakefront or even a large inland body of water, look for lost water birds like Western, Eared or Red-necked Grebes, odd ducks like Harlequin Duck or Barrow's Goldeneye. (BAGO will be more inland, like on a large pond or lake). Go find the big Canada Goose flock and look for a Brant. Some gulls to look for that could show up on any pond, lake, river or any body of water include California, Mew, Slaty-backed, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes and others. Most rare finches will likely be flyovers, so knowing the flight calls of crossbills is pretty important from now until the end of the year. November and December is also a good time to look for odd birds like orioles and other bright and colorful birds. If you keep your bird feeders up, you might get a Bullock's Oriole or a Black-headed Grosbeak. It might seem completely ridiculous to say, but yes, find the chickadees and other small birds and search for warblers from the west like Hermit or Black-throated Gray. If you find a large flock of Cedar Waxwings, search it for a Bohemian. Mountain Bluebird could be hanging out with some robins too, or it could be completely lonely sitting on a post at a prairie/grassland. All of these birds could be seen in Cook County basically from now on. It's also still not too late for a Cattle Egret either. We just need people looking!

There are some absurd sounding birds that aren't 100% impossible, but are extremely unlikely to show up include Northern Wheatear, any southern kingbirds like Tropical, Couch's or Gray. (Tropical/Couch's are pretty much only distinguished by voice, so if you see it, also try to hear it!) Any swallows you see could be Violet-green, and any swift could be a Vaux's. A Great Kiskadee showed up in NE Indiana a couple Decembers ago, so that's another large flycatcher to look out for. A Hammond's Flycatcher showed up in Central Wisconsin last winter, so that's yet another western flycatcher to look out for. Rufous Hummingbird is always one to look out for. PLEASE KEEP YOUR HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS UP!!! Basically if you see a hummingbird in the winter coming to your feeder, it is likely a Rufous. There is the chance for an Anna's or Broad-tailed too. Ferruginous Hawk could be soaring around in the more open parts of the county, or sitting on a light pole out in the fields to the south in Cook. Great Cormorant has showed up in Ohio consistently for a few years, so there's no telling why there hasn't been one in Illinois hanging out on the various piers, breakwalls and jetties. Pacific Loon could show up on the lakefront as well as King Eider, and Ancient Murrelet.

I wouldn't go so far as to say to expect the unexpected, but go out with the mindset that you could find something unusual or super rare for the next few weeks! (Emphasis on could).

That's all for now, and I'll see ya next time,

Posted on Οκτώβριος 23, 2020 0701 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 26, 2020

An Epic Day of Salamandering in Vermillion County IL

Hey guys!
I drove two and a half hours south of Chicago to look underneath railroad cross-ties and rocks for salamanders. Yes, that is the farthest I personally have driven for herps. Yes, it even beats the 8 hours down to Southern Illinois from back in August, but that's only because I didn't drive much. Anyways, I got up, ate pancakes and started driving. Once I was driving down back roads of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties, I kept my eye out for dead snakes on the road, like Eastern Hognose or a Bullsnake. No snakes, but I did see a roadkill Red Fox which was sad. Once I finally got to my spot, I got super excited because I had the possibility to get 4 salamander lifers, which would tie me for first place in number of salamander species seen in Illinois in 2020. I got out and was immediately greeted by Carolina Chickadees (one I don't get in Chicago) and a Pileated Woodpecker. I started walking, and once I got down the path to a place where all of my research led me to, I started flipping. I was looking for a Southern Two-lined, but I didn't find one. I continued along the bottom of the ravine, occasionally walking up the hillside to flip a cross-tie or rock. Finally, I hit the jackpot and found the least expected salamander of the trip a FOUR-TOED! I wasn't able to come up with an exact location for them, but I got super lucky and the place I was at happened to be the only place in eastern Illinois to find the species. I got some pics, and I kept on going. I found my state lifer Eastern Red-backed, which put my list for Illinois up to 13. A few more Four-toeds and Red-backeds were next, and then my brother flipped a very big and nice Spotted. The orange head spots were super vibrant. It was the biggest maculatum I've ever seen. Then I flipped a big rock, and a I saw the biggest salamander I've ever seen underneath it. It was my second variant of the Unisexual Mole Salamander, the 'Silvery" Salamander. I think it used to be considered to be it's own species, but now it isn't. I'd say it was a good 9.5-10 inches long. (You can really see the differences between the 'Tremblay's' we have up in Chicago, which are smaller and darker gray as they've had decades to breed with the Blue-spotteds up there. This one was a really light gray with faint blue spotting, which is really cool because it looks much more like the Jefferson which was one of the original parent species that created the hybrid complexes.) After I saw that, I saw a Plethodonid run over the 'Silvery' and I thought it was a Red-backed. I grabbed it and set it down on the moss with the 'Silvery' to take pictyres of when I realized that it had a wide dorsal stripe, reddish "armpits" and red running down the length of the tail. It was a NORTHERN ZIGZAG SALAMANDER! That was lifer number two of the day! I was completely not expecting to see one at all, and it was awesome to see 2 more throughout the trip there. We found another Spotted, which was about the same size as the 'Silvery' we had. That one was super cool. We found more Four-toed, Red-backeds, and then we decided to leave. The only salamander we missed there was Marbled, which would've been really cool to see.

We went to another spot nearby to look for Small-mouthed Salamander, but came up with a couple Eastern Red-backed and another Zigzag Salamander. It was really cool to see the research "circles" where INHS does research on the Unisexual Mole Salamanders. With light quickly fading, we still wanted to get a Small-mouthed Salamander, so we drove over to Champaign to a very well known spot for them. Right off the bat we found them as our third and final lifers of the day.

Then it was time for me to drive home and eat some substantial food, not just an apple and a granola bar. It was an epic trip, and I hope to make it down there again next spring!

Funny thing is, that night when I was uploading all of my pictures here, I noticed that my friend Jared (@wildlandblogger) was there too. I noticed that he was just a quarter mile away from where I was, and at the same time. Bummer we didn't get to both see the Hemidactylums and Zigzags, and it would've been nice to thank him in person for all of the help with our trip to southern Illinois. Oh well, I guess we'll see each other some other time.

That;s all for now,

Posted on Οκτώβριος 26, 2020 0741 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 9 παρατηρήσεις | 2σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

My Birding Year So Far

Hey guys,
I made a post back in September about how I was practically doing a mini Big Year in Cook County this year. I was at 257 at that point, and now I'm past what I said I was going to be at when I wrote that post. I said I was going to try to end the year with 268. I am sitting at 269 right now, and hope to get maybe 6-6 more year birds. I hope to get Snow Bunting, Common Tern and Red-throated Loon as my easiest targets. As the intermediate targets, which are going to take some work, but are possible with the current irruption we're having so far, and other circumstances are Common Redpoll, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Crossbill, Glaucous Gull and maybe 1-2 others. Some hopes for November include: Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Cattle Egret, and maybe 1-3 others. Let's see what we can find!

Posted on Οκτώβριος 26, 2020 0800 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Οκτώβριος 28, 2020

Before School Chase

Hey guys,
Last night my friend Ben (@benthehen) found a Little Gull at Saganashkee Slough! I talked to my mom about going before school and she said that she didn't know if she wanted to get up super early to go look. This morning, we got up at about 6 and left! We got there when it was still dark and could see 1,500+ gull on the slough. I pulled a Common Tern which gave me a scare as an Arctic. That was my 270th species for Cook County this year! I made sure it wasn't an Arctic, and kept searching for the Little Gull. After a couple minutes, I found a tiny gull erratically flying around with a bold, black "M" on the wings! That was my 540th world bird and my 320th Illinois lifer. Then, I was trying to find it again when I saw another gull flying along the NE corner. The first thing that stood out to me was the "M" on the wings. I thought it was the Little Gull, but as it came closer I realized it was the size of the Ring-billed Gulls and it had a black collar! Ut was a Black-legged Kittiwake! Unbelievable! I put the birds out on the RBA group chats and soon enough 20+ people were sitting with scopes and cameras looking for the gulls. The Kittiwake seems to have flown off as well as the Common Tern, but many people have gotten to see the Little Gull. We drove over to the Central lot where we saw the Little Gull again, the pair of Red-necked Grebes, a Bunch of Bonaparte's Gulls and a few Bufflehead. Then we had to leave and make the drive through traffic home. Honestly this might've been top 5 birding experiences in Illinois for me!

EDIT I actually came to the determination today that the bird I saw was the Little Gull and not a Kittiwake. It just looked much bigger for some reason. Still an awesome bird!

That's all for now and stay safe,

Posted on Οκτώβριος 28, 2020 0245 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 1 παρατήρηση | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο