Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Trumpeter Swan Illinois Road Trip - day #1

Trumpeter Swan
Illinois Road Trip - Day #1
May 11th

My daughter Katie and I headed up to the Chicago area for about a week for the wedding of my brother Jim's eldest son. Flew into Midway on Tuesday morning and was birding by 10:30am. Hit three sites around south Cook County before checking in at my sister Laura's home in nearby Will County, and then off to my first game at Wrigley Field in thirty years.

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center- Willow Springs, Illinois
   Arrived about 1030am directly from the airport to bird the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. The weather was actually in the 50's and the trail was muddy. Katie suffered through the indignety of soiling her boots and jeans on the muddy trail.  On my first visit a year ago, in May, the weather was better and the woods were birdier. Missed today, from last year's list was a ruby-throuthed hummingbird, wood thrush, tennessee warbler, broadwing hawk and rose-breasted grosbeck.  But I did add a lifer today with a LINCOLN SPARROW.  Also had had several Myrtle Warblers (yellow-rumped warbler), a Palm Warbler, a Red-headed Woodpecker and a Great Egret
My May 2009 List (29) - Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, White-breasted Nuthatch, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow
My May 2010 List (15) - Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Cooper's Hawk, Red-headed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, White-eyed Vireo, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, American Goldfinch

McGinnis Slough - Orland Park

Canada Geese greeted us as we arrived at McGinnis Slough

Next stop was McGinnis Slough located in Orland Park off LaGrange Road. A pair of Trumpeter Swans had raised a family here last year and reports were that they were still present.
The following was posted on the IBET message board on May 8th by -{ After Palos we went to McGinnis Slough in Orland Pk. There were 4-5 BLACK TERNS, 4 SORAS, 1VIRGINIA RAIL seen closer than we have both ever seen. MUTE and TRUMPETER SWANS and 2 late REDHEAD DUCKS were noted. 25 BLUE WINGED TEAL were seen in numerous locations.} Authored by Wes Serafin.
So based on this and other postings on McGinnis Slough I was intriqued and it was close to my sister's home. Had to check it out.  I mostly wanted to find a trumpeter swan, which would complete sightinging all three swan species. The potiental of locating black terns or a virginia rail would was also be a plus.
The stop here was brief.  The weather was no better than at te Little Red Schoolhouse.  A pair of Canada Geese with a gossling greeted us at the parking lot. These geese are everywere and seem to be reguarded as pests. Simarly to how we feel about muscovy ducks here in Florida.
A few Mallards and other Canada Geese could be seen from here. Barn and Tree Swallows were swarming the slough and Red-Winged Blackbirds are everywere.  To locate the swans I had to move over to a nearby lookout point were a small flock of Chimney Swifts were very busy. A Sora was heard several times within the cattails. A pair of swans were spotted far off in the slough. One was oviously a Mute Swan and the other was the Trumpeter Swan. LIFER.  Second of the day

View of McGinnis Slough


My List (11) - Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Mallard, Sora, Chimney Swift, Blue Jay, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird
Orland Grassland - Orland Park
We still had a little time, so we made a third stop.  Further south on LaGrange Road was Orland Grasslands. Again very muddy.  Had to trek a bit to find the birds. But they were located about the flooded sections.  came up with a lone Canada Goose, some Mallards and Blue-Winged Teal.  A Pectral Sandpiper and a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs were spooted So was a lone Pied-Billed Grebe. Lots of Red-Winged Blackbirds and Sparrows, including Song, Savanna, Field and a Chipping.  Southwest Florida is not a great sparrow mecca, so referance the guide book several times to get I right. Also had lots of Brownheaded Cowbirds, several gulls, Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts. Added an American Kestrel as well.
By this time we had to quit and head over to my Sister's house. From here we would be heading into the city for the Cubs game. Some other interesting birds we missed, but were being reported at Orland Grasslands were a couple of wilson's phalaropes and several american pipts.  Would like to return someday.
My List (12) - Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, American Kestrel, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Field Sparrow, Savanna Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird

  My brother Jim had arranged for some great seats a Wrigley Field, compliments from his employer, for our first night in Illinois. We had a great time even with the icy conditions that night. We met Jim at Wrigley, while Laura drove Katie and I along Lake Shore Drive to the game.  It was great sightseeing my old environment. Was able to id Caspian Terns, Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gulls along the harbor and beach areas.
Soldier Field on the Lake Front

Wrigley Field prior to game time

Not exactly baseball weather - my sister Laura and daughter Katie keeping warm. We had a great time anyway.  Thanks Jim for the tickets.

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