April Birding Recap (May on the way!)

April is always a fun month because you get the first big pushes of spring migration, but it's not crazy and stressful like May. So here we go!

4/1:

I went back to Techny as soon as I could to try to refind the meadowlark from yesterday (look at my previous update for more details on that) and get better photos. Sadly, I didn’t refind the bird. However, I did have a Northern Shrike, which is an awesome bird for April. There was also a lone Sandhill Crane circling and landing in the area.

In the evening, I went out to do some yard birding, which was highlighted by a Merlin and a random flyover Belted Kingfisher.

4/2:

Today was supposed to be a great day for waterfowl movement, and it lived up to the expectations. Early in the morning Woody Goss had a bunch of Red-throated Loons at Gillson, so of course I headed over there as soon as I could. We met up with Woody and Matthew Cvetas and started scoping the lake. We had a total of 9 Common Loons, 6 White-winged Scoters, plus a Merlin hunting along the shoreline. About 25 minutes in, Woody got his scope on a flyby Red-throated! For some reason I couldn’t get it in my scope so he let me use his. And boom, there it was! Lifer and year bird!

(#120.) Red-throated Loon

Randomly, it also snowed today. And after a week with no redpolls at the feeders, we finally got one, presumably the last of the season.

4/3:

We hit up Gillson again in the morning, but it wasn’t very active today. We had many mergansers and cormorants, as well as one loon and one scoter.

4/6:

Before my volleyball game, I did a little birding at Welles Park, which is across the street from the gym. The highlights were an Eastern Meadowlark and 2 male Rusty Blackbirds, which is really good for a park in a very urban area.

4/9:

In the early morning I went out quickly and found a sapsucker in our yard, as well as the continuing male Merlin and 2 Song Sparrows.

Around midday I went over to Mallinkrodt and got my year bird Hermit Thrush!

(#121.) Hermit Thrush

Late in the day we went to Montrose and had some nice birds including 3 Caspian Terns!

(#122.) Caspian Tern

4/10:

I started off at Mallinkrodt with the usuals, so I headed home pretty quickly. Around 10 AM I headed over to Mallinkrodt again and randomly had an Osprey flying over! As I was walking through the park I heard the distinctive song of a Chipping Sparrow! There ended up being two, and I got some decent pics and audio recordings.

(#123.) Chipping Sparrow

In the evening I headed over to Gillson to look for a pair of Brown Thrashers that my friend Victor had found earlier. We found them almost as soon as we got out of the car!

(#124.) Brown Thrasher

4/11:

I started out the day watching the morning flight before we had to leave for school. There were a bunch of flickers migrating, as well as 2 WILSON’S SNIPE flying by, which is a crazy yard bird!

While we were driving to school I got a text that read, “Eared Grebe at Montrose”. WHAT?! The entire school day was agony as I waited for the end of the day, hoping the bird would stick around. Luckily, it did! We got over to Montrose as fast as possible after school, and I quickly found the bird among 18 Horned Grebes! He was super close to shore and in full breeding plumage, so I got some really nice pictures. I walked through the dunes after, and picked up Northern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows to add to my list.

(#125.) Eared Grebe
(#126.) Northern Rough-winged Swallow
(#127.) Barn Swallow

4/12:

After school today we went to Jarvis Bird Sanctuary to look for a Louisiana Waterthrush that had been seen there earlier, but sadly no luck.

4/13:

On Wednesday during the school day I got a text saying that the Yellow-crowned Night-heron was back at the Lincoln Park Zoo heron rookery! A little background: The zoo has the largest Black-crowned Night-heron rookery in the county, and maybe even the state. This particular Yellow-crowned Night-heron has been returning for a few years now. I got it last year, but obviously I needed it this year too. So that’s where I headed after school. It took us an hour to find (in the pouring rain) but it was worth it. Year bird! After walking around a little my mom also found 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets!

(#128.) Black-crowned Night-heron
(#129.) Yellow-crowned Night-heron
(#130.) Ruby-crowned Kinglet

4/14:

On Thursday after school I went back to get better pics of the Yellow-crowned. I got some with the sun which was nice.

4/15:

In the afternoon we went to Techny to look for a Vesper Sparrow that Jeff Bilsky had earlier. When we walked up it was just sitting on the path! Life bird #270, and year bird!

(#131.) Vesper Sparrow

4/16:

We went to Techny again to look for shorebirds, and we found them! I found 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, a Spotted Sandpiper, and a surprise lifer: a Dunlin! There was also a Sandhill that was just walking around in the grass.

(#132.) Lesser Yellowlegs
(#133.) Spotted Sandpiper
(#134.) Dunlin

After that we stopped at the Skokie Lagoons to look for a Louisiana Waterthrush. I had some great bird counts, including:

85 Yellow-rumped Warblers
22 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
14 Golden-crowned Kinglets
6 Brown Creepers

I got really excited when we found a waterthrush, but it later turned out to be a Northern. Still a year bird!

(#135.) Northern Waterthrush

After the weekend I didn’t really do much birding until Thursday, but boy was it a great day.

4/21 (Thursday):

So a little background here: two days prior to Thursday, on April 19, Dan Lory found a SAY’S PHEOBE at park 566. Say’s Phoebes are a western species, and there are only a handful of records for the state. So it was insane that one was in Cook, and I knew I would have to chase. But how? It was in a place that was over an hour from my house and I would have to wait until the end of the week, at which point the bird would likely be gone. However, a solution came when Scott Judd realized he had a DIFFERENT Say’s Phoebe at Loyola Beach, which is much closer to my house. A couple people were able to refind the bird, but then it flew west and didn’t return for the rest of the day. I thought it was gone for good. Later that evening, somebody refound the 566 bird…and then watched it get eaten by a Merlin. Oooof. At this point I thought I had no chance of getting a Say’s this year. But on Thursday, right before school let out…the Loyola Say’s Phoebe returned!! We shot up there as fast as we could from school. But when we got there, the bird was nowhere to be found and hadn’t been seen for a while. We looked, and looked, and looked, and looked some more, but we could not find that bird. Suddenly something flew over my head. Robin, I thought. Then it landed on a fence post and I got my bins on it. Robin? Yeah, right. No, this was a FREAKING SAY’S PHOEBE!! It started flycatching and eventually moved closer to us, allowing me to get some good pictures. Then it suddenly landed right in front of me, and I got some really good pics. Such an awesome bird. I also got 3 Savannah Sparrows and a flyby Cliff Swallow!

(#136.) Savannah Sparrow
(#137.) Say’s Phoebe
(#138.) Cliff Swallow

While we were at Loyola I had gotten a text saying that Jeff Bilsky had just found 4 Wilson’s Phalaropes at Techny. We stopped home real quick get my scope, and then we rushed over to Techny. We met up with Tom Lally and Joe Lill and got the birds quickly. Life bird #273!

(#139.) Wilson’s Phalarope

I also spotted a Pectoral Sandpiper, a nice way to end the day.

(#140.) Pectoral Sandpiper

4/23:

The winds were looking good, the temps were in the 70s, and all was set for what was practically a bird fallout.

I went to Mallinkrodt in the morning, and I got a Swainson’s Thrush and 2 Chimney Swifts! I also had a random singing Carolina Wren in the most random spot (the parking lot). Carolina Wrens are really hard to come by in Cook County so that was a great bird.

(#141.) Swainson’s Thrush
(#142.) Chimney Swift
(#143.) Carolina Wren

After that I had to go down to school to take my placement tests for high school. Between tests I checked my phone to see that Montrose was LOADED. And I mean LOADED. First of all, A FREAKING SNOWY PLOVER!!!! That's one of the rarest birds Cook will ever get! My friend Alex had been there all morning and already had over 20 year birds. So I finished up my last test, finally convinced my mom to go, and we were on our way. When we got there, it was just insane. We started out with Pine and Yellow Warblers at the entrance.

(#144.) Pine Warbler
(#145.) Yellow Warbler

After that we went down to the beach for the Snowy Plover, (which should be on the gulf coast right now), which we got! Lifer!!

(#146.) Snowy Plover

Here are some of my other year birds:

(#147.) Rose-breasted Grosbeak
(#148.) Indigo Bunting
(#149.) Gray Catbird
(#150.) Veery
(#151.) Palm Warbler
(#152.) Common Yellowthroat

I hopped over to the Bank Swallow colony to add those:

(#153.) Bank Swallow
(#154.) Purple Martin
(#155.) House Wren
(#156.) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
(#157.) Northern Parula

We went over to the water feature where I got my life bird Marsh Wren!

(#158.) Marsh Wren
(#159.) Orange-crowned Warbler

I was walking down between the sanctuary and the dunes when Scott Judd called me over saying that Dan Hayes had just spotted a Prairie Warbler in the thicket they were standing next to. I went over there and they got me on it right away! An awesome bird for Cook County. Within minutes there were over 15 people looking at the bird.

(#160.) Prairie Warbler
(#161.) Black-throated Green Warbler
(#162.) Black-and-white Warbler

We met up with my friends Simon and Peter Tolzmann, and we went back down to the beach to try for some better photos of the Snowy Plover. We lay down on the beach, and waited for the bird to come to us. Soon enough, it was running up and down the shore 8 feet from us! We all got insane shots. It was such an amazing experience to be that close to such a cool (and endangered) bird.

We went back up towards the dunes and found Monty the Piping Plover resting in the sand!

(#163.) Piping Plover

This has definitely been the best day of birding I’ve ever had.

4/24:

Started off earlier at Montrose today, and when we walked in the first thing we saw was a bunch of people looking at a Yellow-breasted Chat! It perched on the side of a tree for a second, so I got a decent shot. They are one of my favorite birds.

(#164.) Yellow-breasted Chat

Somebody told us that there was a Golden-winged Warbler down by where the Prairie had been yesterday, so that’s where we went next. While we were walking I spotted multiple Lincoln’s Sparrows and an Ovenbird!

(#165.) Lincoln’s Sparrow
(#166.) Ovenbird

When we got there the bird was giving great views, perching out on the branches of a cedar. Lifer!!

(#167.) Golden-winged Warbler

We also ended up seeing the Prairie Warbler again, apparently it stuck around.

While we were out by the dunes looking at the warblers, Matthew Cvetas came out to tell us that there was a Whip-poor-will in the hedge! I had never seen one, so we rushed over there and immediately got on the bird. Another lifer!!

(#168.) Eastern Whip-poor-will

I also had a Least Flycatcher calling:

(#169.) Least Flycatcher

We had to leave for my brother’s soccer game, but as we were walking out, Simon and Peter called me over and got me on a Wood Thrush! Yet another lifer!!

(#170.) Wood Thrush

We got into the car and were about to drive away when my phone buzzed:
“26 American Avocets on the public beach at Montrose”
As soon as I read that, I jumped out of the car and sprinted the entire way down to the beach. When I got down there a bunch of people were already looking at them, and I got some nice photos. Another one of my favorite birds, a great bird for Cook, and year bird!

(#171.) American Avocet

Also, when reviewing my pics, I discovered I had an Acadian Flycatcher at Montrose as well!

(#172.) Acadian Flycatcher

The avocets were a great way to end yet another great day at Montrose. Overall I came up with 58 species, which is pretty good.

We went to my brother’s soccer game at James Park, so I decided to do some birding on Mount Trashmore. Mount Trashmore is basically this 150 foot heap of trash that they covered with dirt and trees and now it’s a great spot to bird. As soon as I got into the forest I found a Nashville Warbler!

(#173.) Nashville Warbler

I walked around, and when I came back to the main grassy slope, I heard a song I didn’t recognize coming from the forest edge. I got my bins on two birds up in a tree, and my jaw dropped. Lark Sparrows! This has been a great year for them in Cook, probably the best ever. But still an awesome rarity!

(#174.) Lark Sparrow

After both me and my brother had played our soccer games, we went to Techny to look for Greater Yellowlegs. We didn’t find any, but I got Solitary Sandpipers instead!

(#175.) Solitary Sandpiper

After that we went to Gillson to look for Blue Grosbeaks that had been hanging out there earlier in the day. While we were looking I got a Warbling Vireo:

(#176.) Warbling Vireo

We went down by the dog beach where I randomly found a Vesper Sparrow in the sand! Practically right after that I found a Yellow-throated Warbler!!! Two AWESOME birds for Gillson, and one of them was a year bird!

(#177.) Yellow-throated Warbler

So that’s it for Sunday. On Monday I left for Washington, D.C. on a school trip. I didn’t get back until late Friday night. It was fun to take my mind off the big year for a while, and it was also cool to see some of the birds out there that aren’t as common in northern IL. For instance, Northern Mockingbirds are pretty rare here in Cook County, but they are EVERYWHERE in D.C. Some of the other cool birds I saw or heard included Black Vultures, Black-throated Blue Warblers, and Fish Crows.

On my first day back, however, I dove right back into it.

4/30:

My mom and I went to Montrose in the afternoon, where I had a total of 47 species, and picked up:

(#178.) Eastern Kingbird
(#179.) Bobolink
(#180.) Yellow-throated Vireo
(#181.) Baltimore Oriole

Late in the day on Saturday, I got word of two of the rarest birds that can be seen in Cook County annually: King and Black Rails. For the safety of the birds I’m not going to disclose the location of the birds on here, since both are state endangered species. Sunday was the 1st of May so I’ll include the chase in the next monthly recap.

So I end April with 181, which is pretty great and more than Isoo had at this time when he did his big year. Hope you enjoyed this!

See you next month,

-Owen

Posted on Ιούνιος 16, 2022 0241 ΜΜ by owenbirder13 owenbirder13

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 21, 2022 04:14 ΜΜ CDT

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HOLY CRAP!!!

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Τρίχρωμος Φαλαρόποδας (Phalaropus tricolor)

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owenbirder13

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Illinois, US (Google, OSM)

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Yessir

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 23, 2022 12:09 ΜΜ CDT

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 23, 2022 01:58 ΜΜ CDT

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HOLY CRAP!!!

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 2022

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CODE 5 RARITY JUST WALKED 8 FEET FROM ME

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 07:47 ΠΜ CDT

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Today is insane

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 08:07 ΠΜ CDT

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Love this guy

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 08:18 ΠΜ CDT

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How did Matthew even find this thing

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 08:48 ΠΜ CDT

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Lifer

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owenbirder13

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Monty has returned

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 09:56 ΠΜ CDT

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Best birds ever

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 12:36 ΜΜ CDT

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Finally a self-found rarity

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Κιτρινόλαιμη Πάρουλα (Setophaga dominica)

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 24, 2022 05:31 ΜΜ CDT

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Gillson Park (Google, OSM)

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One of my favorite birds

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 30, 2022 02:18 ΜΜ CDT

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owenbirder13

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Απρίλιος 30, 2022 02:39 ΜΜ CDT

Σχόλια

@bk-capchickadee12 here’s my April recap, I’ll post May sometime within the next week. Also, on my observation of the Wilson’s Phalaropes (associated with this post just above this comment), I misclicked and put it as Red-necked. You and one other person bumped that to research grade, so could you change it to Wilson’s just so it’ll count on my lists? Thanks lol

Αναρτήθηκε από owenbirder13 πάνω από 1 χρόνo πριν

Wow! That's Amazing Owen!

Αναρτήθηκε από bk-capchickadee12 πάνω από 1 χρόνo πριν

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