Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coyotes - Illinois Road Trip day #2

Coyotes -
Illinois Road Trip day #2

Our plans for day two involved Katie going to Brookfield Zoo with the family and my birding Midewan. Both plans were threatened by chilly, rainy weather, yet I took off at day break for my drive over to Midewan regardless of conditions and the zoo trip was also went on as planned.

Midewan National Tallgrass Prairie- Wilmington, Illinois
Got to Midewan, which is operated by the U.S. Forest Service, around 8am.  I was anxious to return here for another attempt at finding my target bird.  The Upland Plover. This plover is on Illinois's endangered species list and it can be found that Midewan. The renovation of this former ammunition production site, known as the Joliet Armory site into a tallgrass prairie has been a positive influence on this species, which actually needs 100 acres short grass per pair of plovers. The short grass environment is provided by a herd of cattle. I understand that bison may be used in the future.
   I had been here last year and had a very good birding day, even though I struck out on the plover and Henslow's Sparrow, another uncommon species. That visit had much better weather and was very birdy. Hit on several warblers and thrushes.  Got lifers than with bobolink and dickcissels.
   Today I repeated my hikes on the Iron Bridge Trail and The Prairie Creek Trail. The weather remained chilly and some light rain did occur.  But not enough to slow me down.

THE IRON BRIDGE TRAIL -  The oak grove located prior to the Iron Bridge Trail head parking lot was a great stop.  I immediately got my second ever Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, plus starlings, flickers, sparrows etc. The budding Osage orange trees at the trail head likewise was very birdy  with Indigo Buntings, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches and White-Crowned Sparrows.  As I entered the prairie area I had lots of red-winged blackbirds, dickcissels, bobolinks, Eastern Kingbirds, Brown Thrashers, Song Sparrows, Field Sparrows, Yellow Warblers and even seven coyotes. 
   As I watched the coyotes move across the grass I could see several bobolinks flush.  They kept their distance when they noticed me. My sister tells me that coyotes are a problem in her neighborhood, were pets have been attached. A couple of years ago we also has a problem in my neighborhood. Several small dogs had been grabbed by a coyote while the dogs were being walked, on lease, in the evening in the Three Oaks area. Trappers did eliminate the culprits, but they are still around in small numbers. But at Midewan to see several coyotes at work kind of made up for dipping again on the upland plover.
WHAT IS MIDEWAN ? - Please check-out the this link to learn more about Midewan

Boblink along the Iron Bridge Trail

White-Crowned Sparrow hiding in the brush along the Iron Bridge Trail

Song Sparrow along the Iron Bridge Trail

Iron Bridge Trail
PRAIRIE CREEK TRAIL - Next I drove over to the other end of the property to walk the Prairie Creek Trail which is much different than Iron Bridge.  It is wetter and forested. Had success last year with warblers, flycatchers and thrushes.  Not so much this time. Did get a Yellow-throated Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeck, Indigo Buntings, Goldfinches, Scarlet Tanger, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warbler ( most commonly sited warbler on my trip),and beautiful Mytle (yellow-rumped) Warblers.
   Headed back from here.  was a bit disappointed on my misses, but I did get some good birds.
Prairie Creek Trail

Prairie Creek Trail

My 2009 List (41) - Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gull, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Tennessee Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Scarlet Tanager, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch
My 2010 List for the Iron Bridge Trail (31) - Canada Goose, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, Dickcissel, Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch
My 2010 List for the Prairie Creek Trail (19) - Great Egret, Green Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue Jay, House Wren, American Robin, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole

McGinnis Slough - Orland Park


I returned to McGinnis Slough, briefly on my way to Midewan hoping for a better look at the swans and was interested in finding a virginia rail, which would have been a lifer bird, as well as an umber of other possible migrants.  Did find the same pair of swans but much closer.
MY List -  Mute Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Chimney Swift, Eastern Phoebe, Barn Swallow

Some of Katie's pictures from the zoo

Free-roving Peafowl

Amur Tiger



Timber Wolf



Green-Winged Macaws


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