Journal archives for June 2022

June 10, 2022

March Birding Full Recap (April and May coming soon!)

Sorry for the long wait everyone. I haven't had as much time lately, and the time that I did have I mostly spent out in the field birding. But now it's summer, so I'll have more time to post and get up to date on my recaps. So here it is: March.

March is usually a pretty dead time for birds in Cook County. Many of the waterfowl have moved on, and the spring migrants have yet to come through. But this March exceeded expectations. Enjoy!

Starting off the month:


After school on Wednesday we went up to Air Station Prairie to try for the continuing Northern Shrike that’s been hanging out. We got it almost right away, along with an adult Bald Eagle and many blackbirds and grackles.

(#93.) Northern Shrike


I started out the day by going over to Mallinkrodt Park, where I came up with a nice total of 22 species. After that, I went back to the yard and just focused on doing some backyard bird photography. I got an awesome shot of a male redpoll, which is my favorite redpoll shot I’ve ever taken. While I was walking around in the front yard, I saw (and heard) a flock of medium-sized passerines fly over me and land in a spruce. I had a a guess as to what they might be, and once they landed I confirmed it. My second yard record White-winged Crossbills! I got a much better view of them this time, as they stayed for almost 10 minutes and they were in a relatively short spruce. Around 4:00 I went over to Mallinkrodt again, hoping to see the Merlin that I’ve been seeing there lately. No luck, and a pretty uneventful walk overall. But it got cut short anyways because my friend Jeff Bilsky had just had a Snow Goose/Ross’s Goose Flyover at the Skokie Lagoons. Normally, I wouldn’t chase flyovers, but this one was low and heading straight towards the Techny/Lake Glenview area. I convinced my dad to drive me over there (thanks dad!). Techny had a lot of mergansers and blackbirds, but barely anything else. We hurried over to Lake Glenview to try to find it there before the sun set, and as soon as we pulled up I got my eyes on my first non-flyover Killdeer of the year. Exciting, but not what we came for. We walked around and found many geese, but they all ended up being Canadas. Meanwhile, Jeff was still at the Lagoons, checking some spots unsuccessfully. I guess we’ll never know where that goose went, but worth a shot nevertheless.


I started out in the morning at Techny North, which is one of my favorite spots. It was an awesome migration day, especially for geese, and I had over 1250 Canadas. I also flushed 3 Gadwalls from the water accidentally, which I wasn’t expecting to get but was happy to see them nonetheless. There were a couple other nice ducks too, including an American Black Duck and a male Green-winged Teal. As I walked down towards the dam, I accidentally flushed a Wilson’s Snipe from the grasses! Sadly, I only got blurry pictures. As I was walking back, I found a cormorant in the water with the mergansers, my last addition for Techny.

(#94.) Gadwall
(#95.) Wilson’s Snipe
(#96.) Double-crested Cormorant

We went back home, so I decided to do a little yard birding. Our yard has a really good view of the sky, so I was just looking for anything that might fly over. I never would have thought that I would get what I did: 2 flocks of Greater White-fronted Geese, totaling about 150 birds! Lifer, year bird, and yard bird all in one!

(#97.) Greater White-fronted Goose

We then went to Gillson, where I picked up a flock of 17 Northern Pintails flying south!

(#98.) Northern Pintail

OK, so do you remember when Jeff Bilsky saw that flyover white goose? And the part where I said we’d never know where it went? Well actually, while we were at Gillson Jeff texted me saying he had found the goose! And even better: IT WAS A ROSS’S!! I eventually convinced mom and dad to drive me over to the spot, which was at a golf course south of techny. We walked over and immediately got the goose! Sadly, it was really hard to see and my pictures were pretty bad. But it’s a freaking Ross’s Goose, so who cares?! Awesome way to end off an awesome day.

(#99.) Ross’s Goose


Today was nuts. I’m just going to say that. I did some yard birding in the morning, and I added a random yard bird, a flyover flock of 8 Northern Pintails. I also counted 61 Killdeer migrating through, and had a Fox Sparrow in my neighbor’s tree. After that, something absolutely ridiculously crazily amazingly INSANE happened!!! A LESSER GOLDFINCH BANDED AT CAMP SAGAWAU!!! I convinced my dad to take me and my brother down there, and while we were driving through Palos I saw 3 Turkey Vultures!

(#100.) Turkey Vulture

We got to Sagawau and my friend Simon Tolzmann got me on the Lesser Goldfinch almost immediately! This particular individual was a female/immature male, and it was much greener than the American Goldfinches around it. It was also a bit smaller. Let me give a little background here: The Lesser Goldfinch is a western species, and the farthest east it normally comes is Texas. So the fact that it's in Illinois at all is just freaking ridiculous. It’s the first state record, EVER!! This may be the rarest bird I get this year. In short, it was just awesome to see.

(#101.) Lesser Goldfinch

After that we headed over to Saganashkee Slough to look for waterfowl. We came up with the following:

2 Gadwalls
2 American Wigeons
150 Canvasbacks
20 Redheads
300 Ring-necked Ducks
8 Greater Scaup
12 Lesser Scaup
2 Common Goldeneyes
4 Hooded Mergansers
12 American Coots

A pretty good haul, plus 1 year bird!

(#102.) American Wigeon


While we were driving to school on Wednesday, I spotted an adult Red-shouldered Hawk! I was super relieved, because I was afraid I had missed them for the season.

(#103.) Red-shouldered Hawk

I continued to see this hawk on the 11th and the 12th, so it seems to be sticking around.


In the evening my dad and I went to Air Station Prairie to listen for woodcocks. We didn’t find any, but we did flush a snipe!


My mom and I went up to the Botanic Garden to look for Blue-winged Teals a little after noon. We didn’t find any teals, but we did see 4 Wood Ducks and 8 Gadwalls. After that we went to Techny North, where we got an awesome look at a snipe! I got great pictures. We also saw 4 Green-winged Teals! We made a quick stop at the Skokie Lagoons, a male Bufflehead was the most exciting thing.


The past few days have been pretty rainy, but even so, we went out to St. Paul Woods today to look for the Rusty Blackbirds that have been hanging out there. I spotted one as soon as we got there, and eventually found 2! I got some decent shots. Believe it or not, this was a very overdue lifer for me, and it puts me at 269. We also saw 2 male Brown-headed Cowbirds, a nice treat.

(#104.) Rusty Blackbird

When we got home, I got out of the car and immediately heard the distinctive calls of Golden-crowned Kinglets! I got pictures, though they aren’t very good.

(#105.) Golden-crowned Kinglet


I started the morning off early at Mallinkrodt, coming up with a nice total of 23 species, highlighted by a Merlin, a Song Sparrow, and a Golden-crowned Kinglet. I was stuck at home for the rest of the day, but had 22 species in the yard throughout the day. We also had a grackle feeding under the feeders, our first for the year.


Yesterday was 60 degrees with warm southerly winds, and today was supposed to be 70, so for me that meant good migrants and Mallinkrodt in the morning. Here were some of the birds:

1 Double-crested Cormorant (flyover)
1 male Wood Duck (flyover)
1 Brown Creeper
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
121 Common Grackles (mostly migrants)
2 Pine Siskins

The best bird of all was kind of insane. I was looking at flyover birds in the distance and decided they were gulls, and while I was looking at them my eyes landed on a large brownish bird with deep wingbeats. It was far off and about 200 feet in the air. I had a bird in mind, but based off of location and time of day I thought there was no way I could be right. It was flying away so it was hard to tell, but I got a picture as it circled. Incredibly, I was right! IT WAS A SHORT-EARED OWL!! This is only the 4th time I have ever seen this species. I was super excited, because:

C) If I didn’t get this specific Individual, I probably would have had to go all the way down to Killdeer Wetlands at the other end of the county (which I REALLY didn’t want to do)

(#106.) Short-eared Owl


I went to Mallinkrodt in the morning again, even though it was raining. Golden-crowned Kinglets have really come through in the past few days, and I found over 20 at Mallinkrodt. I came home to find a male Brown-headed Cowbird calling in our spruce, and a female on our feeders. In the afternoon I went to Gillson with my mom, and had some great waterfowl. Here are some of the birds from my list:

1 Northern Shoveler
3 Gadwalls
2 Redheads
4 Greater Scaup
26 White-winged Scoters
2 Long-tailed Ducks
2 Bufflehead
3 Common Goldeneyes
2 Hooded Mergansers
67 Red-breasted Mergansers
1 Common Loon! (Year bird!)

We also walked around looking for a Pheobe, which we found!

(#107.) Common Loon
(#108.) Eastern Phoebe

Before we went to Gillson I had texted some of my friends saying that I was “going to Gillson to look for Eastern Phoebe and Common Loon”, and we ended up finding both! It was a very successful trip.


In the morning I went to Mallinkrodt and found yet another Phoebe. Later that morning we decided to drive up to Baker’s Lake in Barrington for a couple of birds that I needed. While we were driving I spotted 2 Tree Swallows over the Skokie Lagoons!

(#109.) Tree Swallow

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot at Baker’s Lake I spotted my first-of-year Great Egrets on the rookery! I scoped from there for a while and had some awesome birds, including an Osprey on the nest platform!

(#110.) Great Egret
(#111.) Osprey

We went around to the other side of Baker’s Lake (Ron Beese Park) where I picked up:

(#112.) Swamp Sparrow
(#113.) Blue-winged Teal


I started off at Mallinkrodt again this morning, and had some great birds including a flyover Common Loon, 6 flyover Wood Ducks, and an early Tree Swallow. Those are all pretty good birds for an inland park in March. I went back to Mallinkrodt after lunch, and I saw 2 birds fly up into the top of a spruce. Knowing very well what they could be, I raised my binoculars. Yup, you guessed it. Yet again, I had WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS!! These 2 birds were very cooperative, and had it not been pouring rain I might have gotten some good shots. I still got some decent ones though.


My birthday!! I started out AGAIN by going to Mallinkrodt, and I got an unexpected year bird, a pair of Sandhill Cranes flying low heading south. I also had another loon flyover. Continuing my loon streak, when I got back to my house yet another bird flew over!

(#114.) Sandhill Crane

We went down south to McGinnis Slough to try for American White Pelicans. There were tons of waterfowl in the slough, and 50 or so Tree Swallows flying over the water as well. After a minute of searching, we picked up the pelicans all the way on the opposite shore of the slough. Success!

(#115.) American White Pelican

Since we were in the area we decided to go to Centennial Park to look for Caspian Terns- a bird that’s really common come spring, but I wanted to boost my numbers early. No luck. After that we went to Costco Slough, where we found a sleeping Trumpeter Swan and a male wigeon but no year birds. Our last stop of the day was Saganashkee Slough, which is HUGE. There were good numbers of mergansers and coots, as well as 2 eagles circling overhead. We also had a total of 59 Sandhill Cranes migrating overhead, and 2 loons really close to shore!


I’m guessing you know where I started out the morning. Yup. Mallinkrodt. Not much today, but I did have an adult Bald Eagle, which is a site bird for the park. In the afternoon, we went to Memorial Park Cemetery to look for sapsuckers. No luck, but I found a woodcock, which is even better! I also had a Winter Wren, which was nice.

(#116.) American Woodcock


Today was the first sunny day we’ve had in a while, and I was at Mallinkrodt again. I had another loon and 4 Fox Sparrows but not much else.

In the early afternoon I decided to try my luck at the Northern Mockingbird that has been hanging out at Harborside Golf Course for the past 5 months. We got there and almost as soon as we gout of the car my mom spotted the mockingbird!

(#117.) Northern Mockingbird

I proceeded to the back patio of the clubhouse on the golf course to scope the waterfowl in Lake Calumet. It was insane. Here are some of the notable counts from my list:

35 Northern Shoveler
75 Gadwall
385 Canvasback!!!
25 Redhead
165 Ring-necked Duck
155 Lesser Scaup
65 Red-breasted Merganser
25 Ruddy Duck
110 American Coot

It was super fun, I could’ve stayed there for hours counting ducks. I also had a harrier hunting over the marsh, he eventually caught something and promptly landed on the golf course to eat it.

We stopped at Big Marsh while we were in the calumet area, highlighted by a harrier and a kingfisher.

We also hopped over to Indian Ridge Marsh, which had Green- and Blue-winged Teals, as well as a flyover American Black Duck. Overall a pretty great day.


We decided to go up to Crabtree Nature Center in the northwestern corner of Cook County to look for a Barred Owl that had been reported that morning. We didn’t find the owl but we did have some other nice raptors and waterfowl, as well as 3 sandhill cranes just walking around! After that we made 2 quick stops on both sides of Bakers Lake, the highlight was a pair of Wigeons in the wetland.


We only had time for one stop, so we went to Montrose where I picked up:

(#118.) Eastern Meadowlark


We stopped at Montrose again, and right as we were about to leave I spotted a sapsucker!

(#119.) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Later in the day I went up to Techny and got some photos of meadowlarks, and while reviewing my pictures I discovered a very good looking candidate for a Western Meadowlark. I sent it to some of my more knowledgeable friends, and they said that it looked good but the evidence provided was not enough to confirm the ID. To this day we don’t know which species that bird was.

Well, that's a wrap for March! I caught up a little bit and I'm in good shape for April.

See you next month,


Posted on June 10, 2022 02:18 PM by owenbirder13 owenbirder13 | 4 comments | Leave a comment

June 16, 2022

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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,


Posted on June 16, 2022 02:41 PM by owenbirder13 owenbirder13 | 15 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment