Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Warbling Vireo - Illinois Road Trip day#3

Warbling Vireo -
Illinois Road Trip day#3
May 14th

Fish lake Beach - Volo, Illinois
   On our day three, we started from my folks place at Volo, Illinois in Lake County. This is their summer place at a resort setting called Fish lake Beach. Not fancy but very comfortable.  A great, quite getaway from the city. Our stay provided birding opportunities starting with the many bird feeders in the yard to the water fowl on the lake. Mute Swans have raised families on the lake, but currently are not too often seen these days. Last year I was lucky to site a pair of fly-overs of Black Terns and a pair of Foster's Tern.  This year I did not see either of these during our stay, but a Caspian Tern was busy one morning as was an unexpected Spotted sandpiper. I tried to check the lake as often I as could the three days we stayed here.  The huge oaks and hickories on the property could be birdy at times as well. I was able to site White-breasted Nuthatch, many American Robins, Downy Woodpeckers, a Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch and a LIFER in a a WARBLING VIREO. The Warbling Vireo is supposed to be rather common at most of the venues we birded, but so far this is the first and only one so far.

My List (20)- Canada Goose, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Northern Harrier, Sandhill Crane, Spotted Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Warbling Vireo, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Boat-tailed Grackle, Baltimore Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Ryerson Nature Center - Riverwood, Illinois
   Day three was scheduled to bird my most anticipated location on the trip.  It originally was scheduled to the prior day, but the whole birding schedule was washed out due to some serious weather, and so day three was a day late. The weather and flooding at Ryerson's was probably the cause for a very weak experience. Ryerson's in May is a migrant magnet.  Not unusual to get 12 to 20 warblers, four thrushes, plus flycatchers, vireos, sparrows, swallow, orioles, chickadees, and many more. The potential for several lifers was quite possible. I was hopeful to find olive-sided flycatchers, plus Golden-Winged, Blue-Winged, Connecticut, Morning and Wilson's Warblers.  All had been reported before and after our visit.  On our visit this morning we were very unlucky.  The local birders we encountered were also coming up short of birds. Many were complaining that the April warm up, they had, caused the trees to leaf out early, making birding warblers in the canopy much harder. One guy was very helpful with trying to put me onto a Golden-winged Warbler that we could both hear, but never found. I suppose that I could count it as a lifer, but I feel you really need to see the bird the first time. My only exception are with rails. After about two we left for Rollins Savanna.

My List (11) - Mallard, Chimney Swift, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Brown-headed Cowbird

Rollins Savanna - Grayslake, Illinois

   Got to Rollins about noon. Flooding was a problem here too. We did find several grassland species like Bobolinks, Song Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks.  One of my targets here was a Yellow-Headed Blackbird.  I was successful on my visit last year. I dipped on it this year.  The location I expected to find it was flooded.  Habitat was still available but I just did not see one today. Also hoped for Black Terns and a greater variety of water fowl.  Did not see any terns at all and the water fowl was limited to Blue-Winged Teal, Mallards and Canada Geese. We did find nine Sandhill Cranes at the lake.  If I had a scope with me perhaps I could have id'ed more at this location

Expected to find Yellow-Headed Blackbirds at this location

My List (22) - Canada Goose, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Red-tailed Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Killdeer, Chimney Swift, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Robin, Yellow Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Bobolink, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Boat-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, American Goldfinch


  1. Hi Tom, I just found you blog while looking for other posts about Rollins Savanna, which is close to where I live. I was looking for local bloggers but I'm glad I found yours! Looks like you had a great Illinois road trip and I'm looking forward to following your blog as Florida is one of my faves. :)

  2. Hi Amy,thanks so much. I really appreciate your words and I hope to be able to repeat my visit next spring. Keep us posted.