Αρχεία Ημερολογίου για Νοέμβριος 2020

Νοέμβριος 01, 2020

Getting "Finched" and a Great Morning Skywatching!

Hey guys,
Please share this post if you know any birders in the east!

As many of you may know, the east is being invaded by all sorts of finches this fall. We're having the biggest movement of Evening Grosbeak in the last 25 years, thousands of White-winged Crossbills are making their way past hotspots in the north, Red Crossbills are finding every stand of Eastern White Pine in the midwest, and overall, the irruption is beginning fairly early. It was forecasted back in early October that we would be getting good movements of those species, but it wouldn't be known until this week and the last how good it would really be. One way to see the insane movement is to go on ebird.org and go to the Species Maps page, and compare the maps with the parameters of October-December 2019 and October-December 2020. It is pretty mind blowing. If you have bird feeders, keep them stocked! Both Crossbills and Evening Grosbeak will come to feeders. f you have a stand of Eastern White Pines in your area, check them for Red Crossbills. If you have a stand of Boxelder or Hackberry trees in your area, check them for Evening Grosbeak. Alders are also great for redpolls, both Common and Hoary.

Onto this morning's skywatch. I got up at about 8 o'clock, and went straight outside. After checking the winds last night, I knew it would be good for moving birds. As soon as I got out there I could feel the cold, strong winds from the NW. I hear an up-slurred "whit whit whit whit" call and I look up and bam, there they were, a flock of 13 Red Crossbills flying over! My first county lifer of the day, it was also a state bird too! 275 for county year, 292 Cook Life, and 321 for IL year. About a half hour later, I hear a loud "thirr" call and there it is, the biggest invader of them all, the Evening Grosbeak! That was my second new bird of the day. 276 for county year, 293 for county life, and 322 for state life. Then I went inside to eat breakfast, and I got a text saying that @whimbrelbirder had a Northern Goshawk and White-winged Crossbill at the Ft. Sheridan Hawkwatch. I finished eating really fast, threw my jacket on, grabbed my bins and set my eyes on the sky. Then he told me it was flying north, so I knew I wasn't going to get that bird. About a half hour after that, I spotted a large hawk flying up in the sky. I really hope it is what I think it is, a Northern Goshawk! If it ends up being one, It will be my third new bird for the day, and a lifer! 540 life, 277 county year, 294 county life and 323 for the state. I'll be out again, and I'll upload observations of the birds later.

All for now and stay safe,

Posted on Νοέμβριος 01, 2020 0517 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Νοέμβριος 04, 2020

First Chase of November

Hey guys,
Today I decided to ditch the plans to look for lots of Tiger Salamanders, Newts and other stuff to go look for a very rare bird. They aren't historically chaseable, and the last IL one was in 2015. A few days ago two of them were found at Carlyle Lake in Clinton County, which is about 5 hours away for me. Then the other day another was found at a retention pond only 2 hours away in McLean County. You may call me a loon for going that far for a bird. You might also think I'm loony for not having said what bird I went to chase today. I went for a loon. I went for a Pacific Loon. The only other one I'd seen was one flying away on the open ocean in Alaska. I think I'm going to count this one as my lifer. #325 for Illinois life!

All for now,

Posted on Νοέμβριος 04, 2020 0443 ΠΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 1 παρατήρηση | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Election Results and our Natural World

If I could start this with an audible sigh, believe me, I would. I've said it in some posts, but I'll say it again with more emphasis here. Please share this post if you think someone would benefit from it. Also if you're reading it, leave a comment with anything I should add to make the post a bit more compelling, it can be literally anything.

As we all know, the US president for the last 4 years has done more to strip America of its natural wonders than any other president ever has. The most recent example is that he opened the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging and mining. If you've never been there, I'll do my best to try to explain the amazing piece of land. The Tongass National Forest is the world's largest temperate rainforest. Yes, there is a rainforest in Alaska. Just like most of coastal Alaska, you go from the ocean to tree covered cliffs and mountains with a layer of fog so thick you can't see the tops of the mountains most of the time. Driving to inland lakes and bays, you see glades with bears, Bald Eagles and all sorts of wildlife. In the lakes and bays, you get Humpback Whales, countless Arctic Terns and other seabirds, Steller's Sea Lions on the buoys and all kinds of kelp surrounding the boat. Back in the national forest, you immediately walk through a steamy, wet and lush forest. Huge plants all around, puddles of water on the path, bridges over roaring waterfalls, pools of water at the base of bluffs so deep and so clear, you could sink and it would look like you were floating through a void in the earth. Farther on you get to glaciers across from more lakes. When the glacier calves, it sounds like a building collapsing. The rush of water from the falling boulders of ice is immense. You can see a wave forming and getting bigger as it gets closer. It's almost like a mini tsunami. Walking through the forest on boardwalks over a sort of fen, there is Devil's Snare in with the fungi, sedges and orchids. Black Bears and beavers make their way around and under your feet. You look up and you see a pond with a glacier and mountains as the backdrop. You never want to leave.

Now imagine if that all disappeared. Imagine if those mountains were blasted away by dynamite so that people could have some more precious metals. Imagine if the lakes were polluted so heavily that the beavers left, the fish floated to the surface and there was a stench so bad it pushed even the workers away. Imagine the glacier melting and calving faster and faster as the air around it warmed more due to more pollution. Imagine the glaciers splitting in half as workers riddle it with mile deep holes to gain access to the valuable minerals stuck in the bottom. This could all very well happen due to the actions of the president.

Trump has also began work on the new border wall in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in extreme south Texas. At Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, construction recently started. Hundreds of species of birds including some species found nowhere else in the country may be wiped out. other animals like Ocelots, Indigo Snakes and other animals dependent on the mesquite thicket may have nowhere else to go, and eventually will vanish. At Recasa de la Palma farther east in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, hundreds of historic palms were cut down to make space for the wall. Those palms were home to Red-crowned Parrots, many butterflies and other animals. Now they're gone.

Trump fairly recently opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil fracking. One of the largest pieces of land home to hundreds of species of living things is now fair game to the oil industry. Species of plants not even described may go extinct without us knowing. That's how big that piece of land is. Birds that only breed in the high arctic may take heavy losses to their populations. Animals like Polar Bears, many butterflies and many other animals will be greatly affected. Birds like Steller's and Spectacled Eiders, Red Phalaropes, Parasitic, Pomarine and long-tailed Jaegers, Rock and Western Sandpipers, Ross's Gulls, and countless other endangered, threatened and protected species may have to move farther south and change their entire lifestyles because of Trump's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic NWR.

We have lived in a world of environmental destruction for as long as we've all been alive. Even in the 5 years I've been into documenting and extensively finding nature, I've noticed changes around me. If that much change occurred in just 5 years, I can't even imagine what it'll be like in 50 years. We live in a really scary and uncertain time, right now, our biggest fears should be the fear of the unknown. We could wake up one morning and hear that logging has already commenced in the Tongass NF, or the last Ocelot of Texas was found dead at the base of the border wall. That is the day that we've lost. Let's do everything we can to stop this machine of greed and hunger for destruction.

That's all for now,

Posted on Νοέμβριος 04, 2020 0311 ΜΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο

Νοέμβριος 22, 2020

Grebes (or not), Finches and Mega Rare Ducks!

Hey guys,
This morning I ventured to the south shore of Chicago to look for an Eared Grebe that a friend had yesterday at Rainbow Beach. When we got to the south beach we ran into some friends who didn't have luck with it, but were going to move to the north beach to look. We scanned the channel, the rocks and the lake for maybe 20 minutes at the south beach before we headed to the north beach. As my brother and I got to the point of the dunes, we asked some friends if they'd had any luck with the Eared Grebe. They said no. Then a minute later they said "Oh, right before you walked up we had a Western Grebe." I just about died, came back to life to look at their pictures and then died again. For the next 45 minutes, we sat and scanned and scanned and scanned with no luck. Then we decided to have a look around the breakwall from the north point at Park 566 with Isoo. Not even 5 minutes later we get a text saying that another friend just had the Western Grebe! We raced over and I bet you can guess how the story went from there. As you correctly assumed, we sat around for another 45 minutes scanning and scanning and scanning. I did pull a flyby female Black Scoter though which was nice, and we had a Common Loon that gave us a scare for a Red-throated, then a Pacific. Then we decided to head north which was a mistake , because at about 9:00 p.m. today I saw a Facebook post from someone who had the bird 7 mines away from rainbow Beach at Whiting Lakefront Park in Indiana. The bird headed, north, then south, then north, then all the way south again. At the South Shore Cultural Center, we got word that a White-winged Crossbill was being seen at a feeder up north of Chicago. The crossbill had been seen for 3 days at the same private feeder and we just had to go for it after a disappointing morning on the south side. An hour later we were sitting in the backyard of the home waiting for the crossbill to fly in. After about 30 or 40 minutes, I hear a piercing call an we all simultaneously look up and we see the White-winged Crossbill sitting in the tree right above us! Lifer, and my 280th species seen in Cook County this year! It hung around for just under 10 minutes at the feeder, and we got some awesome pics of it with a squirrel doing birdfeeder gymnastics. At the feeder, I got a text saying that only an hour away from where I live, a EURASIAN WIGEON showed up! Although not in Cook County, I knew we just had to go. It would be our second lifer of the day, and an insane and awesome bird to get. A little over an hour later we were pulling off the road at the pond with our optics in hand and almost immediately I got on the slam dunk adult male Eurasian Wigeon feeding with lots of Gadwall and American Wigeons. What an awesome way to end the day.

BTW, the alder observation is included as a reminder that redpolls love alder trees, and both Common and Hoary Redpolls are irrupting this year!
The Monarch is included to show that there was still a barely alive butterfly in late November! pretty incredible if you ask me.

Stay safe,

Posted on Νοέμβριος 22, 2020 0506 ΠΜ by brdnrdr brdnrdr | 8 παρατηρήσεις | 0σχόλια | Αφήστε ένα σχόλιο