Friday, July 8, 2011

Northern Harrier - Illinois Trip Day Three

Thursday June 16th

Headed up to Lake County and birded Ryerson Nature Center along the Des Plaines River.  This location is an excellent spot to bird in May during spring migration.  But this is June and migration is over. Still good birds were to be seen. A recent report had a cerulean warbler and I did locate a soaring Northern Harrier working over a field. Was advised later that this is a rare, but increasing sighting for northern Illinois.

Song Sparrow
Field Sparrow holds its prey

Lots of singing sparrows were seen including Field, Song and Savannah Sparrows. Had a larger darkly streaked sparrow show up with a very different song that I was not able to identify.  Initially tryed to turn it into a fox sparrow, but they only winter in the area.  Had lots of Eastern Bluebirds and American Robins, plus many Tree Swallows too. Down by the river was a family of Canada Geese and several MallardsGreat Crested Flycatchers were very vocal and a pair of Eastern Phoebes were seen by one of the cabins.

Trail near the river

Up by the farm were more robins, House Sparrows, American Goldfinchs, Eastern Kingbirds, and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Other birds seen included a Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinals, Common Yellowthroat, Common Grackles, a Gray Catbird and Great Blue Herons. Dipped on veery, wood thrush or any other warblers.
Next stopped at nearby Rollins Savannah Forest Preserve.  Looking for waterfowl, like mute swans and gadwells and grassland species like henslow sparrow and boblinks. Was also interested in yellow-headed blackbirds.  There are usually a few here as this is about the eastern most point of this species range. Elected to enter the preserve at the drury lane entrance because this was the closest point to the marsh were the yellow-headed blackbird are found. We were also on a dead line to reach my folks place soon.  So our stay here was much too short.

Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere.  At the large lake, basically only a large number of Mallards and a few Canada Geese could be identified as the lighting was terrible. Did see a few Great Egrets. Near the marsh were the yellow-headed blackbirds were expected, did find a Mute Swan and Tree Swallows.  But did not see or hear any yellow-headed blackbirds. As for the grassland birds had one Dickcissel and one Bobolink. The only sparrow I could identify was a lone Savannah Sparrow. Should of done much better, but time was running out on the our stop here.  Other birds sighted included Double Crested Cormorants, Red-tailed Hawk, American Goldfinchs, Orchard Orioles, Common Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Yellowthoat, American Robins, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Cardinals, Killdeer, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Eastern Bluebird and Cedar Waxwing.
American Robin at Rollins Savannah

Life at Fish Lake Beach
We arrived later at my folks place at Fish Lake Beach in Volo. We would spend the remainder of our visit here and enjoyed a great visit with family.  American Robins were everywhere here and this year no mute swans were seen out on Fish Lake.  Did see Pied-billed Grebes, Canada Geese, Mallards, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets Barn Swallow, Tree Swallows and Ring-billed Gulls on the lake. Also by the lake and high up in the trees could be heard and seen Cedar Waxwings, a female Orchard Oriole and a singing Warbling Vireo. The many bird feeders were active with House Finches, House Sparrows, Starlings, Red-bellied Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches. Red-winged Blackbirds and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. A pair of Green Herons were nesting in a nearby tree and neighbor had a family of House Wrens using a bird box by his porch..
Canada Geese at Fish Lake

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