26 de febrero de 2024

Fear No Forecast

Winter in Israel brings a different type of cold than in Chicago. It’s a deceivingly mild 40 degrees from November through January, but with such a strong dose of wetness and fog combined with buildings designed to protect against heat, that the indoors feel the same as the outdoors. Fog rolls in each night, and sometimes remains for days at a time. Winds blowing over the hills in a certain way sometimes create a distant howling sound, and in some years (but not this one) it snows. It is quite interesting to adjust to a place where there is no snow even in the depths of the winter, not to mention the fact that it never rains here in the summer!
We had yet to receive the first big rain on November 19th, although it was especially windy. I set out on my usual route, but the wind was keeping everything down except for a Eurasian Sparrowhawk that appeared to successfully nab a pigeon. While walking by some vineyards though, I heard an odd clucking sound. Suspecting a certain overdue lifer I have long been on the lookout for, I scanned the ground and quickly laid eyes on a covey of 8 Chukars! This felt huge, simply because the rate that I have been seeing new birds had really been slowing down. It was also a bit irritating to see many checklists with Chukars on it in the area - until now. As I was still celebrating, the rain began to fall, and very heavily. I didn’t care, even though the rain was effectively being pelted sideways at me, and appreciated my brief views of a commonplace bird instead.
Two days later, I had incredibly awesome looks at a Rock Martin flying around the area - a slightly uncommon bird that usually requires great looks to ID. A Lesser Whitethroat was still lingering, and a Graceful Prinia was a bit of a surprise. A pair of soaring raptors which must have been a distance of a mile or two away - one definitely a huge eagle - sadly remained distant silhouettes, but it did remind me to keep an eye on the sky. As I walked by an overlook with an incredible view, I heard far-off trumpeting calls. Surely it was what I thought it was? And sure enough, a large flock of Common Cranes flew overhead in good lighting, a bird that I was not confident at all in seeing this year!
I went out the next day of course with high expectations, but was unable to identify a dark falcon that quickly swooped by and then continued out of sight. More great looks at the Rock Martin in addition to 4 European Robins, however, were well appreciated.
Thursday was Thanksgiving, and cue the annual Thanksgiving rituals here, such as a Thanksgiving dinner beginning at midnight. While walking back to my dorm after 3 in the morning, I was quite surprised to hear birds singing despite the lack of a full moon. I grabbed my binoculars, and saw multiple blackbirds, and then Merlin picked up my lifer Eurasian Wren - at 3:15 in the morning! I was eventually able to get half-decent views of it under a lamplight as it sang its immensely impressive song. A bizarre way to pick up another overdue lifer.
The first week of December brought not much at all, and then one day, while walking near some vineyards, a stonechat with a very large amount of white on the wing caught my eye. I excitedly focused on the neck, and confirmed a board white collar! Despite the tough challenges from telling it from a European Stonechat, I was pretty confident I had just found a Siberian Stonechat. I saw what I figured was the same bird on the 12th, and on later walks I was not confident that I saw that individual stonechat again. Although for some reason my submission for the bird was rejected, I felt I had taken some pretty convincing photos - or so I thought. Only later, by posting on the Facebook group What’s this Bird, did I learn that the uniformly distributed orange on the underside pointed to European Stonechat and not Siberian.
On December 8th, I went back to the sewage ponds mentioned in an earlier post, chasing a report of a Common Redshank with a possible side bonus of Gray Heron. I saw what was probably the Redshank, but sadly the sun was right behind it. Several Green-winged Teal and a Eurasian Kestrel were ok, but the target bird was sorely missed. The consolation prize was an excellent Bluethroat showing itself nicely as well as a Black Redstart that briefly perched on a roof, both of them lifers. A few days later however, in a nearby city while watching a large flock of Eurasian Jackdaws, a Gray Heron flew over! Given the lack of water in the area, this was a bird that I figured I would have to find at the sewage ponds. It was also my 296th bird of the year, but I knew the chances of getting to 300 were very slim. Not much happened in the next few weeks, except for a stonking male Black Redstart and an increase in Song Thrushes.
With 4 days left in the year, I saw the distinct shape and a faint view of the pattern of a Black Kite heading somewhere in a hurry high overhead, and then 20 minutes later a Long-legged Buzzard flew past! A Hawfinch was a nice bonus, but 3 large distant soaring raptors contributed to the raptor sp. list. Even on a day like this, the number of unidentified raptors outnumbered the identified ones. But that wasn’t the case on the last day of the year, as a kettle of 27 Black Kites gave fantastic views, capping off the year with a bang.
I’ve been keeping it going in 2024, and spring migration is just beginning. More posts to come!

Publicado el febrero 26, 2024 09:57 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

08 de enero de 2024

Catch up on fall migration Part 2

Before the year began, I set four birding goals: Find 200 birds in the academic year. Get 120 species on the village list. Get a Syrian Serin. Find a Cyprus Warbler. None of these goals are going to be easy, but none of them were meant to be.
Fall break was scheduled to kick off with relaxing with friends, but quite a bit of it turned out to be doing things that were decidedly not relaxing with friends instead. I’ve gotten used to walking long distances on flat Midwest ground, but walking for 9 hours while descending on 3,000 feet was…different. Painfully different. Maybe if the cushioning on my hiking shoes hadn’t chosen that day to self-destruct and force me to push my entire weight onto a small metal grid things wouldn’t have been different. Things were different, and honestly it wouldn’t have been easy even with great shoes.
Even though there wasn’t much time to stop for birds, I was able to see several ones that I haven’t seen in a few years, like Little Egret and Graceful Prinia. A Common Kingfisher flying past the mangroves on the banks of the Sea of Galilee with a full moon rising over the Jordanian mountains (seriously, I have to switch this blog to a place where I can post photos) was a welcome unexpected addition.
On the afternoon of the 3rd of October I returned back to the town where I’m dorming for the last few days of vacation. The next morning, it finally happened-visible hawk migration! The vast majority of the were probably over a thousand feet high, and most raptors including many likely lifer Levant Sparrowhawks went seen but unconfirmed. But there were 21 Euro Honey-Buzzards, my first Short-toed Snake-Eagle, a Black-winged Kite, and also 4 Red-backed Shrikes. Common Redstarts, a flyby Spur-winged Lapwing, a Eurasian Wryneck were also sweet finds for an awesome day.
The next day was also an overall success - what was perhaps the same Snake-Eagle flying south, a well-seen Eurasian Kestrel, a large dark eagle sp. that never came close enough, and another run in with the water feature in action, resulting in another or the return of a Garden Warbler. The last day of break ended with a quick walk with what ended up being my last wryneck and Spotted Flycatcher of the fall.

On the 23rd, after running into a pair of tame Common Chiffchaffs and a White Wagtail running around the school lawn…..weeeellllllll……the birds are still existent, aren’t they? The next day brought the first Eurasian Collared-Doves for my village list, the local Eurasian Kestrel and Black-winged Kite were giving spectacular views as they alternated between hovering and perching, and a Budgerigar flying away was confirmed after listening to the Merlin recording that happened to be running. Eurasian Blackcaps have steadily been taking over Lesser Whitethroats for the title of most common warbler, with this match ending in a 4-0 rout in favor of the former species. As everyone knows, good birding days warrant more birding, for surely there must be more good birds in the area; bad birding days also warrant more birding for that matter, because they’re all surely waiting until tomorrow to fly to your area.
So out on another quick walk, this time rather quiet with a Common Chiffchaff being the sole highlight, until checking the small corner of the campus that was planted to look like a forest flushed up a Song Thrush - the famed “last spot of the day” effect. Was still waiting on the finches to arrive, but the same White Wagtail again, plus 7 Blackcaps this time.
On the morning of the 29th I had no class, so I went outside and got a pair of lifers instead. 2 European Robins were hiding in some bushes, and several minutes of cautious stalking of a European Stonechat revealed little to no white in the wings. As the winter tightened its grip, the wet and cloudy conditions proved very favorable for Laughing Doves and Eurasian Blackbirds, which increased in number, and I saw them nearly every time I went outside. The campus’s abundant tree-lined paths, one of them having many berry trees, are my path from the dorm to the main building, and in addition to the aforementioned common birds I also nailed 4 Eurasian Siskins - about time! The next two days combined to bring 6 Alpine Swifts, 5 Common Chiffchaffs, 3 Sardinian Warblers, 3 European Robins, 1 European Stonechat, 1 Common Redstart, and 2 White Wagtails, a great improvement from August when exhaustive walks regularly resulted in less than 15 species. Then, on November 7th, loose flocks of finches flying very low from some unknown vantage point led to eventual decent looks in flight, some distant views of perched birds, and boom, my 70 first Common Chaffinches. The next walk brought only a trio of maybe’s on the chaffinch front, but a distant large passerine flew high from the north…behind a tall pine, now in front of it, now on top of it…Hawfinch! Half-bird, half-beak, and finch madness continues. Would a small group of Syrian Serins recently reported in a nearby location be next on the list? It wasn’t to be, but seeing a large flock of siskins offering great naked-eye views was much appreciated.

Will the first half of winter contain more unexpected raptors?
Will I go birding at unscrumptious times?
Will I find a good bird and not be able to identify it?
Will I find a great bird and be able to positively identify it?
Will my great and supposedly correctly identified bird get its identification rejected by my local eBird reviewer?

Yes. Yes to all of them.

So look out for the next post, and may the 2024th be with you.

Publicado el enero 8, 2024 10:22 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de diciembre de 2023

Catch up on fall migration Part 1

A disturbing number of bird families here put Empidonax flycatchers to shame. Despair is inevitable, tears are justifiable, and failure a certainty. “There are far too many species”, you may say. “Lump them all!”, you will think after you catch a flash of brown in a bush that could be any of a dozen species. “This bird does not exist. I shall not trouble myself with a nonexistent species that will get lumped next year anyways.” This is “denial”.
You will then tire of returning to your field guide after walking in the sun for hours only to find out you don’t remember how to separate a Lesser Whitethroat and a Spectacled Warbler, and give up on the entire family as a whole when you realize that it is considered to be one of the easier distinctions between Sylvia warblers. The book will promptly be thrown across the room when you read in a field guide that a surefire way to differentiate Eurasian and Lesser Kestrel is by the color of its claws. This is “anger”.
In that case, maybe you have decided that the only way to retain your sanity is to seek birds that are easy to identify. You will go out birding, and simply enjoy the ones that don’t give you a migraine. But every reserve with waterfowl seems to have flitting songbirds in its bushes, and every field with bee-eaters seems to have wheaters, until you feel the same urge that pulls you to go birding pulling you towards these birds as well. This is “bargaining”.
They can’t be dealt with. They don’t fly into your hand and let you count their primaries. They don’t sing despite your telepathic urges. The sage advice of “Species X averages longer-billed and shorter-tailed than Species Y, though there is much overlap. Species X has longer trills in its song, and molts later in the season, giving a variably darker tinge to the primary edges during the start of fall migration” bounces off your brain like an overinflated basketball thrown onto a trampoline. The only line of defense left you have is to lock your door, not look out of any windows, and sleep in every morning. This is “depression”.
Eventually, one begins to understand that the true meaning of life is to deprive yourself of any sleep or food and find lots of awesome birds instead, and without writing off any birds as unidentifiable. This is “acceptance”.

Thankfully, I had the fortune to gain experience in the field. What is considered good passerine habitat here (fields interspersed with low trees and thick bushes) doesn’t have as much cover to hide in as back in Chicago (deciduous forests). So although many birds here can be quite secretive, given a small dose of patience, eventual good looks will likely be had. With general knowledge of which part of the bird one should focus on, the number of birds that get away grows fewer and fewer.

The first morning on campus, August 18, I got up early and took a quick walk in the fog. The highlight was discovering a “park” adjacent to the buildings, made up of thick trees and thorn bushes on a hillside interspersed with parking spaces. Several small finches quietly trilling at the top of a small tree took their time posing well, but eventually I had great looks at my first Eurasian Linnets. They took off after a minute or so high to the north, but that and my third ever Eurasian Hoopoe sitting on a fence were great signs. The next few days were a reminder that at this latitude, migration is a permanent phenomenon. A White-throated Kingfisher waiting at the fish pond, the only reliable open water source here, an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, good numbers of Lesser Whitethroats, and hawk-watches. Note the lack of hawks in that sentence. 3,000 Euro honey-buzzards passing through some birders’ backyards in a single checklist in the north of the country, five digit numbers over the coastal plain, but most of my vigils on the balcony resulting in nothing but a few Alpine Swifts. When I finally did get my first raptors on the campus, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Black-winged Kite, they were residents, and when I did finally see my first honey-buzzards, (accompanied by a White Stork) it wasn’t while I was looking for them. Good-all around quality in general, but I replaced birding at sunrise with birding during the afternoon out of necessity for sleep, resulting in my first 20+ species day only arriving on September 15! I was somehow able to get a run of 11 lifebirds until then, including a Tree Pipit identified without having binoculars.
The only reason I was able to reach 22 that day was because I stumbled upon a leaking hose water feature on the hill. Much of the campus vegetation is watered by hoses turned on during certain hours of the day with systematically poked holes in them in order to maximize the amount of plants that can be grown. In this case, several holes, all next to each other, were creating small puddles next to thick cover, I was able to sit on a rock for over half an hour and enjoy my first Garden Warbler and Spectacled Warbler while recovering from the adrenaline of seeing my first wrynecks, incredibly detailed birds. I usually am the type of birder that doesn’t dwell so long on good looks of a good-looking bird unless it’s rare, but Eurasian Wryneck definitely deserved to be an exception.
A nice trip to the only real water habitat in the area on September 26 that will have to be repeated resulted in Little Grebes, Eurasian Coots, many Spur-winged Lapwings, and a Great Gray Shrike impaling an insect on a barbed wire fence. Hopefully more visits result in birds like Green Sandpiper, Gray Heron, Cetti’s Warbler, and many other possibilities. The goals for the year are 200 species, Syrian Serin and Cyprus Warbler, the last two being winter specialties and the first mainly depending on spring migration-we’ll see if that planned school trip to Eilat in March (!) has a chance of happening

Publicado el diciembre 5, 2023 10:43 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de noviembre de 2023

Inside the Whirlwind

Although I’ve been to Israel six times before now, this adventure was always going to be special. My father and I arrived in late July, and I hung around until the rest of my family left mid-August. The traditional gap-year of studying in Israel of many Jewish Americans my age is an exciting experience. After the settled routine of high school, substantial developments that previously occurred every month or so in life flashed by. Public transport, debit cards, dorm life, independent learning. Everything seemed new even before the war hit, I didn't make a post before it simply because I was so busy doing so many different things. Since then, I haven’t written for very different and obvious reasons.
My reason for being able to write about what’s going on is that this is also to a degree supposed to be a life blog, as I wrote in the first post. Ironically, I was meaning to write a paragraph about how surprisingly safe Israel is in this post, but can now confirm that Israel is indeed very safe, except during a war when it can be in fact quite dangerous.
By Saturday night, we knew the toll was already unprecedented: 200 killed and 30 taken hostage, and Israel immediately declared war. This is a country that traded 1,027 terrorists for a single captive soldier a few years back, with many high-profile terrorists being freed. And then the number of identified bodies began to steadily rise to over 1,300 killed and 240 taken hostage…
Where I was, the first sign of war was the announcement to take shelter, the subsequent sound of the Iron Dome interceptions and a rumor I heard that there were reports of some kidnappings overheard via walkie-talkie. I spent some time on a nice lookout overlooking a large portion of the country, walking two fighter jets gaining altitude below me and wondering how serious this was. A Eurasian Sparrowhawk flying overhead was obviously an afterthought.
With family and friends in the war, even though there haven’t been so many volunteer opportunities, I still didn’t go birding for a few weeks afterward simply because I didn’t feel it was proper. Fighting against a force that wants to kill everyone who isn’t a radical Islamist takes up one’s thoughts, but the news articles of fellow “infidels”, all of whom Hamas would love to throw off a tall building, protesting against Israel made me somehow feel even worse.
So I haven’t been thinking about those weeks in terms of the birds I haven’t seen, but in the past weeks I’ve slowly been going back out into the field. Sadly for hopes of large flocks of pipits, larks, and harriers, there are no fields. The small range running north and south from Jerusalem reaches its peak around here, at a height of nearly 1,000 meters. Built on the top of a hill, the surrounding habitat is vineyards, large bushes, pines, and rocks, and in and near the campus are several areas of artificially watered “forests”.
While I was still with my family in a Jerusalem apartment during the second half of the summer, I didn’t do much birding, but I did revisit the Jerusalem Bird Observatory a couple of times, as I volunteered there in 2022 at this time of year. Those quick outings produced my long overdue lifer Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eastern Orphean Warbler, and Common Reed Warbler. Although a quick glance at a field guide may lead one to conclude they will never learn how to tell the difference between many birds here, once one sees them in the hand and their identifying details are revealed, the subtle differences jump out even at a distance. More on that in the next post, which will hopefully come in substantially less than three months, and with the topic focusing on birds this time.

Publicado el noviembre 20, 2023 10:43 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de agosto de 2023

Out in the Rural Frontier

Rural habitat is where the action is. Very few birds live in urban settings, because that is not where they really belong. Most people live in urban settings, so we usually think of bird habitat as being the park across the street, the forest preserve 20 minutes away, a nearby reservoir. Asked for good places to find birds away from cities, most people would bring up known destinations like Cape May and High Island as well-known national parks such as Glacier Mts. and the Everglades. In truth, most birds live on anonymous hills and in nameless forests, and the percentage of individual birds that live within the confines of an eBird hotspot is very small. Although we are biased towards birding in urban areas and hotspots, the reality is that there is always more work to be done in terms of birding previously unbirded places. This type of research could lead to knowing certain species’ exact ranges, migration routes, and more. Most people though, given an empty day to fill with birding, obviously stick to known spots instead of bushwhacking through unknown territory.
Coverage area is one of my favorite subjects, which is why I was excited at the birding prospects while working at a camp in Nowhere, Pennsylvania which is where I would be spending the next month. Too eastern for prairie species and too far away from the Alleghenies for large numbers of nesting warblers, I was still pretty excited on the first day at hearing a singing Blackburnian, and seeing a flyby kingfisher. Over the next few days, the omnipresent song of Chipping Sparrows began bouncing off of my ears, and I found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nest with young as well as many breeding pairs of Eastern Phoebes. My first morning outing after less than five hours of sleep produced a mystery medium-sized heron that I decided was probably a Green Heron (too stocky and dark for BCNH), 2 Hooded Warblers (one of my target birds!), 3 Purple Finches, 3 Savannah Sparrows, and six total warbler species.
The next morning, I was walking around the cabins when I suddenly noticed a pair of stocky herons flying over me going east. Except these were oddly patterned – they had white throat stripes! American Bittern? Here? As they flew a circle around the camp property, I observed the sharply angled wings, dipped neck, and even heard a “kowlp” sound from one of them. Number 4 and 5 AMBI for Warren County, a bird that was not at all on my radar! This was probably the odd heron that I had seen the day before. I was happy with the looks I had, and even happier upon hearing a Wood Thrush singing from somewhere inside the forest.
Several days later, I got permission to walk on the road in the early morning. The highlights were 7! different male Chestnut-sided Warblers all singing loudly, 3 Common Ravens, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, a badly seen Blue-headed Vireo, at least one Eastern Meadowlark in the large roadside fields, a heard-only Veery, 2 Indigo Buntings (both males), 2 American Redstarts, etc. etc, 46 species in all. I also had surprisingly high numbers of Gray Catbirds (8), Eastern Phoebes (7), and House Wrens (7).
On my next walk, I got caught in the rain but this time managed to resight one of the bitterns flying over the fields until it disappeared over the treeline. Before the rain hit, I also saw a Red-shouldered hawk fly across the road, hundreds of grackles flying out from their roost, 3 Cedar Waxwings, and a Bobolink on a distant pole all the way across the fields. The rain continued throughout the next few days, resulting in exactly zero fluddles. At least the weather was a likely cause for a small group of Purple Martins on the 26th. The nesting habits of Purple Martins may be unique in the birding world, as large populations have adapted to entirely depend on human-made nesting boxes (not for lack of alternatives, but because of convenience). There was also a Wild Turkey peacefully eating rocks on a forest path that was very much not a pheasant (for real this time). Presumably they eat gravel to help with digestion but I prefer the humorous image that it's because they like the taste. A Red-shouldered Hawk flew over in bad lighting, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak sat in the top of a tree, Merlin picked up a calling Hooded Warbler repeatedly, and I had good views of a local family of Eastern Bluebirds. The next day had 28 species in contrast to 38 yesterday, but for someone used to birding in Chicago during the summer it was nice to get a male Purple Finch, an Eastern Towhee, and a Pine Warbler all in a June morning.
Coming into July I was hoping for a lifer of some sort like a Yellow-throated Vireo or Acadian Flycatcher, but after looking at eBird recording, a hawk that was making whistling calls repeatedly as it hopped through thick evergreen branches was a Broad-winged! I’ll take it - another target bird on the list. On July 2nd when I heard an irritated Red-shouldered Hawk trying to escape a mobbing jay, the difference was quite clear.
During a short out-of-camp-camping-trip I woke up after less than three hours of sleep to thick fog covering the campsite. Sleeping bags randomly laid askew faded into the distance, the trees appeared a misty wooden wall, and the invisible whispering of campers who were unable to sleep and had now given up was the only sound I could hear. Getting ready for the day and hiking in the beautifully spooky atmosphere without being able to see 40 feet in front of me was a new experience, but it cleared away all too soon, and birds slowly became identifiable even if they chose to sing to hide instead. A Mourning Warbler and a Winter Wren traded long songs from unbushwhackable bushes, a Veery sang, and two Wood Thrushes sang from the other side of the fog. It was good habitat but there was good habitat back at in-camp-camp including the camp lake’s first waterfowl (Canada Geese of course) and I saw the kingfisher pair together for the first time. On what would be my last walk I finally spotted an overdue invasive species that I was hoping I wouldn’t see, a House Finch.

Eventually, my sheer disregard of sleep began to catch up with me. I usually rarely nap, but began to take several naps each day because of how exhausted I was. Given my low energy level, I decided to not go on any more morning walks for the last week or so, and boarded the return flight to Chicago with 72 species. Although I went on more than a couple night walks in hopes of hearing an owl I never got any, and disappointingly no fluddles ever formed in the fields despite much rainfall. Despite that I found some great birds and birdwise much better than expected.

It was nice to bird the same area over and over as I got a good sense of the variety and abundance of many species. I found large breeding populations of Mourning Dove, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, House Wren, American Robin, House Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided Warbler etc.

I also found smaller populations of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Wood Thrush, Savannah Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Redstart, Indigo Bunting, Northern Cardinal etc.

Notable probable nesters in the area included American Bittern, Red-shouldered Hawk, Hooded Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Bobolink, Killdeer, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Meadowlark etc.

After being in camp from June 15 until July 18th, I flew back to Chicago for a week to join my father before we both headed to Israel with the rest of the family.

Publicado el agosto 9, 2023 10:21 MAÑANA por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de agosto de 2023

The Last Rodeo, Part 2

Even with everything slowing down, I decided to check up on Lighthouse on the 2nd to look for shorebirds and breeders. The continuing Mourning Warbler was singing before sunrise in the South Ravine, a Spotted Sandpiper was feeding on the public beach, and I got nice looks of a Canada Warbler in the Woodlot. While walking in the dunes, I saw a pair of orioles fly into a short tree in the south ravine. One of them was an adult male Baltimore Oriole, the other one looked like a female. But after the whole pheasant saga, I decided to take a closer look at the second bird. It clearly wasn’t a male, as its body was a sort of dull yellow or dull orange, although I wasn’t paying much attention to that. It definitely wasn’t bright orange. Whatever the color was, it seemed to extend to the back where there wasn’t any streaking, but the main thing was that it also clearly had an all-black head. Was the female supposed to look like this? Something looked off-after looking up a few images I saw that not only do they have streaks on their back but they never have an all-black head. Looking up from my phone, both orioles had disappeared, and could not be refound after 50 minutes of searching. The only oriole species with a non-bright orange body and an all-black head is the Audubon's Oriole, which only lives in Mexico and southern Texas with only one vagrancy record in southeastern Indiana. Needless to say, I wasn’t at all convinced that was the bird I saw and even if I was I would have needed pictures. Besides, the bird didn’t have a noticeably long tail, and it appeared to have dull yellow instead of bright yellow. Eliminating every species wasn’t really an option, so clearly I needed another look.
Two days later on Sunday , I returned with a couple of oranges and hung them from branches. No orioles came to them, but I did find the likely continuing Canada Warbler and saw a Warbling Vireo which hopefully will breed. I did see orioles, but all Baltimore-I found a pair’s nest by the field trees and watched them go in and out of it. This is the kind of thing I don’t stress over as I only got a few seconds look of what was probably a weirdly plumaged female Baltimore Oriole but just thought that it was interesting, it always pays to stay alert and check everything
Snowy Egrets were seen all over yesterday, the closest one being seen by many from Techny. Coming off the back foot as I usually am on Sundays and hoping to move the front one, I left Lighthouse with 23 species after around an hour and joined several others in the quest for the egret. It had been reported to be flying between Techny North and Techny Basin (which is to the south) every few hours, so the best thing seemed to be to stay put. But after a few minutes of futile searching, I decided to make a stop at a nearby pond that did not have it either, and then returned to the original spot. As I was walking back to the others, I spotted a small white heron flying from the south that had yellow feet! It landed on an exposed branch near a Great Egret and great look and pics were to be had of its diagnostic yellow “slippers”, black bill, and head plumes.
On June 7th I again went to Lighthouse in one of my many futile attempts to find good terns/shorebirds there, but the only decent bird was an overdue personal site first Great Crested Flycatcher by the field trees. It was quiet - too quiet, so Ieft for Techny where I caught up with a late Semipalmated Plover and a group of 9 Semipalmated Sandpipers.
Returning four days later, a FOY (first of year) Dunlin had blown in with the strong N winds, along with lots of swallows including a locally uncommon Bank Swallow. The still late-staying plover was joined by a late Solitary Sandpiper mixing in with the Spotteds. The fact is that I’m not a fan of shorebirds unless they are giving good looks on a beach; trying to identify small brown birds on faraway mudflats at the very edge of my binoculars’ range peering through heat waves has very little appeal for me. Which is why when a Yellow-throated Warbler was reported at Crow Island Woods, I chased it even though I knew I had little chance of success. I didn’t find it, but went to Lighthouse hoping the weather would force something in. While the only action of the beach were a pair of cormorants decidedly not having a fun time flying into the wind, there was a large mix of swifts and swallows flying around the small field south of the parking lot which had 1 Cliff Swallow - my 112th Lighthouse bird, giving me the third-highest personal site list.
While walking on a street toward a senior class dinner the next afternoon, I saw two doves perching on and flying around the streetlights. Mourning Doves have pointed tails, these doves - hold one second - had squared tails. Closer inspection, including some from the second floor of the restaurant, resulted in good looks of my FOY Eurasian Collared-Doves, a bird common in southern and central America with random small populations scattered throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.An introduced and rapidly expanding species that has found a niche in urban habitat, its abundance throughout Chicago in a decade or two is practically a sure thing, but for now it is pretty noteworthy. While eating and looking at the weather on website windy.com (can’t recommend it enough, for birders and non-birders) I saw a very violent and odd combination of wind patterns that seemed to suggest a waterspout would appear offshore. Weird weather brings weird birds, so of course I decided to be at Gillson ASAP after a quick stop at Lighthouse. One fruitless stop at Lighthouse later (how have all these other birders seen so many shorbs there?) My last birding expedition at Gillson came to a close (without seeing a waterspout) but watching a BC Night-Heron hunt was worth being in the gusty weather conditions.

And so it ends; after 10 years of living in the Chicago area, after having arrived as an amateur birder, I leave for camp in NW Pennsylvania a more experienced one. Lots of other changes are easily apparent; the chaos and friends of elementary and middle school, the friends of high school, the family all along the way, the current goal set last summer to live in Israel and work in International Relations…and still there is more to come. Things to do, Time to do!

Publicado el agosto 6, 2023 09:49 MAÑANA por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de agosto de 2023

The Last Rodeo, Part 1

May 30-June 14 was probably the last time I’ll ever spend such an amount of time in the Chicago area. I had several target lifers in mind, especially ones not easily findable near New York. At the top of the list was Connecticut Warbler, as late May is the best time to find this bird in NE Illinois and NE Illinois is one of the most accessible and reliable places to find it. Originally I thought I would have to abandon Lighthouse morning trips for LaBagh Woods, but it gradually became clear that there are a few sections that have a chance, such as the North Ravine, the field tree area, and most of all The Woodlot.
Upon arrival Tuesday morning before sunrise there were 3 Common Nighthawks flying around the lighthouse! A welcome yearbird and clearly newly arrived migrants from further south. A good sign of things to come, a hunch proven by a small skittish brown bird in the North Ravine! A bit of stalking the bird up the path resulted in views of a small gamebird with a long tail with pinned feathers and barred flanks. The brownish color meant it was a female Turkey as males are brightly colored-another first for the site, not to mention an impressive bird for Evanston!. A gut feeling told me to double-check but I pushed it away; the bird was too small for a bobwhite and the location was all wrong for a pheasant. I took pictures anyway, just to be safe and to document a good record, before it ran off into some thick vegetation where I could not refind it. With a Blackpoll and a nice male Canada Warbler seen well by the playground added to the morning’s list, I then headed to the Woodlot where Merlin picked up a singing Mourning Warbler, one of the tougher migrant songbirds to find. Not only was I able to repeatedly hear its invisible song emanating from 15 feet away from me, but I was able to get eyes on a second one in a bush by the field trees! (N of the parking lot, S of the large field.) I went back to where I had the first one to confirm there were two and this time was able to get a brief sighting of that one as well! With a great morning already in the bag I went for the second round (my schedule each morning is usually beach-dunes- s ravine- n ravine-playground-woodlot-field trees-lighthouse area-repeat once-leave). This time, as I headed to the North Ravine, Merlin picked up a Philadelphia Vireo which would be a very overdue lifer for me and one of the bigger misses during my Small Big Year. I listened to what sounded like a slowish version of a Red-eyed Vireo song, knowing that Merlin is not very reliable when it comes to distinguishing such similar notes. Even if it was reliable, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with using such a nondiagnostic field mark, especially as variation in song can be widespread within a species. However, after having lots of fun staring at a tall tree from various angles for about 5 minutes, I finally laid eyes on a plain faced vireo up on a branch, followed by a second bird seen a few trees further north up the ravine. In keeping with the pattern of the day I went back to where I’d found the first one to be greeted with great views of the yellow centered on the throat and chest as opposed to the flanks (as would be expected for a Warbling Vireo). #315!

The next day I returned with the goal of refinding the goodies and maybe finding a few more. Shorebirds kept up their streak of not showing up but there were 3 Caspian Terns as opposed to one 24 hours earlier. A nighthawk flew in from the lake as I was walking through the South Ravine, and Black-crowned Night Heron flew over headed north minutes later.

I was walking around the small community garden in the far northwestern section of the playground area when I heard an unfamiliar chirping call, and a minute later Merlin told me it had heard a Dickcissel. Usually whenever it makes a mistake it doesn’t keep on insisting that it’s hearing the bird, but it kept flashing yellow…and the chirping call was still going, coming from the tall trees north of lighthouse beach property. A bit of scanning indeed produced a male Dickcissel interacting with some House Sparrows on nearby branches. Like the turkey this bird is much more regular in the south of the county and is pretty rare around these neighborhoods, being the 12th record for Evanston. After getting a video of the bird calling, I headed over to the woodlot, where I was able to hear one of yesterday’s two Mourning Warblers. While checking the field trees I heard yet another overdue lifer, Alder Flycatcher, and was able to get some brief views. The song is quite similar to the Willow Flycatcher but replaces its “fitz-bew!” with “fijjew!”. While I didn’t get great looks I was more than happy to put it down at #316 as hearing an Empidonax is arguably better than seeing one, hopefully more on my stance on heard-only birds in a later post. I also added Chestnut-sided Warbler to my Lighthouse list, and had a nice Wilson’s and Magnolia as well.

After two surprisingly productive mornings, I left Lighthouse the next morning with the realization that migration madness was over. Aside from an early nighthawk by the lighthouse the only highlights were a pair of Kingbirds and an Ovenbird by the field trees, finishing the session with a measly 29 species. After school though, I decided to finally check out a promising location in Northbrook, a mudflat-ringed lake surrounded by tall fences and roads on the corner of Lake Cook and Pfingsten. With the power of Google Street View I devised a way to access it. By parking in a nearby lot and walking south down a bike lane on Pfingsten, I was able to see the majority of the distant mudflats. Due to my scope being put out its misery earlier this week, I had only my binoculars and the only shorebird identifiable for me out of the three or four shorbs I saw was a Killdeer. Still looks like a place with high potential during shorebird migration for anyone with a good scope, and going there Feb-Apr could also result in a few good waterfowl.
Late that afternoon, I heard news that somebody had just found Illinois’ second Gull-billed Tern at Montrose! I jumped out of my chair, grabbed my phone wallet and keys, and dashed to my car. Heart beating far faster than must be beneficial, I frantically drove off intending to turn the 30-minute commute into as instantaneous as possible. It was to no avail as minutes later I received word that the bird had flown off, and not only that, but to the south which meant I couldn’t quickly pull off for a chance at a flyby. As I headed home, somebody sent a picture to a group chat of a pheasant that had become a regular at an Evanston feeder, to which somebody speculated that my photos of the turkey a few days ago sure looked like a pheasant. As soon as I saw that, a nice tidbit of information popped into my head: Female turkeys, unlike most gamebirds, are not small brown versions of the males. They are even bigger than the males, darkly colored, with a short tail and a diagnostic wattle. This was clearly a Ring-necked Pheasant, which although needed for my life list was almost certainly an escapee given the nearby (lack of) habitat. An embarrassing mistake, and to add insult to injury a species taken off the lighthouse list. For someone who grew up in Boston I never should have so incorrectly and confidently reported a turkey especially where it would show up on the rare bird alert, it is genuinely hard to even write this post. Birding regrets are tough but there’s always the next chase to find the next bird and the next identification to (hopefully) get right.

Publicado el agosto 2, 2023 06:19 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

24 de julio de 2023

Late May Adventures

Immediately after the senior trip, I went to Boston with my father for several days to go to the Bar Mitzvah of a family friend. After eating lunch downtown, we walked through a small park and I saw 2 Ovenbirds, a redstart, 2 yellowthroats, and 2 white-throated sparrows all feeding on the tiny lawn. Presumably this is an example of urban parks receiving good bird activity because it is an habitat island in a sea of skyscrapers. A walk by the Charles River with my father and great-grandfather yielded a singing Warbling Vireo as well as a Black-crowned Night-Heron patiently waiting for a fish to come within range. I also saw young Canada Geese and Mallards, a sign that migration is ending and breeding season is beginning.
With that in mind, I decided to make two attempts at a Big Day before the peak of spring migration window was gone for good. The 22nd started out alright at Montrose with a pair of turnstones, and a small flock of Cedar Waxwings, but only 8 warbler species meant I would have to depend on Linne Woods in order to break my personal day record of 77 set earlier this year on May 8.
After school ended around midday I headed to Linne and there wasn’t so much activity: A hummingbird perched on a snag over the river, a Wood Thrush sang out of sight, but not much was going on there on anywhere else, looking at eBird. The one good report from the day was from Ronan Park where someone had reported a Philadelphia Vireo and an Acadian Flycatcher, both would-be lifers. After more than a half hour of searching with no luck, I called it a day and finished with around 65 species.
In contrast to the 50 species seen yesterday morning, I had 60 at Montrose on the 23rd. A Greater Yellowlegs seen by many on the protected beach early and an American Tree Sparrow near the clump were flagged as rare by eBird, and this time I had 11 warbler species. Skipping breakfast to go to Laramie Park yielded a Lincoln’s Sparrow and with cautious optimism I once again headed to Linne around noon. The hummingbird was in the same exact place it was yesterday and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak perched high in a tree, but there was nothing crazy and getting to 90 at this stage would require some work.
A quick stop at Memorial Park Cemetery did not yield the hoped-for breeding pair of Great Horned Owls but I did see a Red-tailed zoom over. Time is of the essence on a Big Day, even if it is a Small Big Day, so after a few minutes of looking for the owls I left for Perkins in hopes of a large warbler flock. While I was finally able to see a Wood Thrush after 3 heard-onlys last year and 3 this year, I wasn’t able to spot a single warbler (sensing a theme here?). I didn’t see any martins at Montrose this morning so I made a quick stop at Gillson, and then dashed to Northwestern for Cliff Swallows to finish off the swallow sweep. While driving to Montrose (where I no longer had to make a detour by the harbor for the martins), I received a text message that there was a Whimbrel on the protected beach! These are notorious for Midwest chasers due to their irritating habit of rarely sticking around for more than a few minutes, I considered parking on Sheridan and heading to a nearby beach in case it decided to fly off further north along the lake but decided to risk it and drove straight to Montrose. As soon as I parked I ran over to the pier as fast as I could and found a group of happy birders looking at the gull-sized shorebird, success! After admiring its ridiculous curved beak for quite a few minutes I decided to rack up a few more birds for the day. (3 more Whimbrels were reported at Montrose over the course of the next week so it was a great spring for them.) While walking in the Hedge, I ran into a few other people who were looking for a Connecticut Warbler somebody else had seen there a few minutes ago. This was one of my most wanted birds for the spring so I joined them for a while, but all we were able to come up with was a Mourning Warbler. A good bird, but I was now way behind schedule. I had no idea where the Osprey nest at Skokie Lagoons was, and a check of the lagoon closest to the parking lot didn’t have it. Techny North didn’t have much going on in the shorebird department but a pair of Bobolinks and a Black-crowned Night-Herons were good finds. With 88 and the sun setting, I headed to Air Station Prairie hoping for a Green Heron or rails. Neither showed, and in the absence of any realistic mark to shoot for with darkness setting in I decided against owling at Perkins and headed home, tired and hungry with 88 for the day, and ready to do it again as long - as it would be far far in the future.

The next trip on the calendar was a family trip to Toronto. Not a whole lot around the neighborhood, but on the way back we did stop at Niagara Falls. One of the beautiful spectacles of Niagara Falls is the majestic numbers of dead fish gracefully defenestrating themselves from the river into the bubbling torrents below. (This is one of the lesser well-known reasons why Niagara is such a popular tourist spot),
Anyways, it is gull heaven. While I did not see any of the Bonaparte's Gulls that apparently nest in the area, I did see what I estimate to be an incredible 5000 Ring-billed Gulls as well as 200 cormorants. Presumably checking each bird during the colder months could get a nice variety, but late May is not quite prime time for gulling. During a stop to meet cousins in Indiana, I added a Great Crested Flycatcher heard from their backyard to my state list, and with that headed back home that night ready to catch the last few days of migration.

Publicado el julio 24, 2023 12:41 MAÑANA por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de junio de 2023

Lighthouse Beach

This past winter, I went looking on eBird and Google Maps for a place where I would be able to popularize an underbirded place and find a few unusual birds there on the side. Originally, I decided Navy Pier would be my patch but parking would have been difficult and it was too far, so I went on Google Maps and slowly went north from North Ave Beach along the lakefront, looking for an eBird hotspot with potential. The habitats that I was specifically looking for were open beach and underbrush, ensuring good chances for shorebirds and insect-eating passerines. I eventually decided on Lighthouse beach, and eBird reports from there confirmed it. I began birding there in midwinter and had a look around by foot, and it looked even better than I was expecting. Although multiple trips out of state and some other things got in the way of birding there consistently in the peak of migration, I found some great birds and highly highly recommend it as a patch to anyone else looking for one.

Lighthouse is mostly known in Chicago birding circles as a good place to lakewatch in the winter and fall, with most checklists in spring and summer just a casual visit. While it does have a great view of the lake, it is after plants start growing in the spring that its variety of habitat really starts taking form. Below I’ve included a Lighthouse Beach “guide”, mostly as a joke because birding in a small area is self-explanatory and only partly as advice.

Beach and breakwall: The beach and breakwall can be great for gulls in the winter, and diving waterfowl can be found flying along the lake or feeding in large rafts offshore. When it is shorebird migration season (May-September) it’s probably best to arrive five or ten minutes before sunrise before there is a risk of them being flushed by joggers. Also, there is a small fenced off private beach south of the public section that is one of the few protected beaches in Cook County. Occasionally a large flock of gulls and terns forms there, and should be checked for something different.
A note about people on the beach: Dogs are banned from the beach, although dog walkers are notorious for ignoring rules that concern shorebirds. After telling off every dog walker I saw each morning, numbers dropped drastically and on May 12 and 14th I saw no dog walkers at all. As of this writing , there are cameras that have been put up at the beach that take pictures of dog walkers and mails them a heavy fine, so the rules are finally being enforced. However, once the weather starts heating up, beachgoers sometimes go there early in the morning, and you might not want to be seen near the beach with binoculars. Take a walk through the north end in the meantime and wait for them to leave.

Birds to look for include scoters, loons, and non RB or Herring larus gulls in the cold months, and uncommon terns, plovers, and sandpipers in the warmer ones.

Dunes: Barely visible from Google maps, there is a small patch of dune habitat immediately west of the beach. While walking through there every visit confirmed for me that it is too small to rely on good prairie species to show up, it is a good place to lakewatch.
Multiple Sedge and Marsh Wrens have been found here so there is definitely potential for something good to show up.

Birds to look for include Horned Lark, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Eastern Meadowlark, and sparrows, depending on the season.

South Ravine: This section immediately west of the dunes is made up of low shrubs and several trees with a shallow rise on either side. This area is good for wrens, thrushes, and sparrows, especially at the far northern tangle. Sometimes weird things can turn up here, like the time I found a Virginia Rail walking in dense grasses or the Great Horned Owl I saw twice getting mobbed by crows.

North Ravine: In contrast to the South Ravine, shelter and food for birds is more seasonal with very little cover in the winter and an abundance of it in spring. This area is good for flycatchers, vireos, and warblers, and there is plenty of space for breeders. In addition, this is the only section with thick forest directly off the lake.

The Woodlot: This area is the best spot for passerines at Lighthouse. Although it didn’t look much when I was scouting in the winter, by the spring it became a dense thicket of shrubs marked with tall trees with plenty of cover for migrants. This spot west of the playground turned up birds like the site’s first Orchard Oriole, Wood Thrush, Mourning Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and many others. Any habitat this good so close to the lake is a true migrant trap, and it showed.

Lighthouse Area: Don’t skip birding near the actual Lighthouse, which can provide refuge for raptors and nighthawks during migration. The shrubs north of the greenhouse can be good for sparrows in the winter, and the area is also a good place to watch for migrating passerines.

May 14th thru 18 was the senior class trip: One day there by coach bus, three days to spend in Gatlinburg near Smoky Mtn Ntl Park, and one day back. Aside from the shenanigans, the tomfoolery, and the general incredible experiences throughout, I did see a few notable birds along the way.. Most of our activities were outdoors so I ended up birding in some pretty unusual situations. Highlights of the trip included my first ever adult Broad-winged Hawk while ziplining, a pair of Bald Eagles plus a Belted Kingfisher while jet skiing, a Pileated Woodpecker by our AirBnB, a Wild Turkey by the roadside, and an Osprey that flew over me after zorbing. While driving to Tennessee I also had an additional eagle flyover, a Wood Thrush singing at a random Indiana rest stop, and many Turkey Vultures, plus on the way back were several Black Vultures.

Publicado el junio 23, 2023 10:06 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

22 de mayo de 2023

A Very Overdue Update

I've decided to make a few changes to the blog because recently I've noticed that all of the days are becoming repetitive. For example, this morning I went to Lighthouse Beach, I saw this and this and this and this. That afternoon I went to this place, and saw this and this and this. I would like to make the blog as interesting as the birding is for me, so I've decided to make posts that aren't formatted day by day but might instead be focused on one specific rare bird or a trip to one specific place. However, I did decide to include the days that I did get down to writing which are included below.

May 1 While I didn’t go birding in the morning due to weather, I did chase an avocet in the afternoon. I didn’t go for the one at Montrose a week or two ago, so I drove to Techny, where John Leonard pointed it out to me-my third time seeing one. There was also a Great Egret on the opposite bank, which is a place that can be filled with several types of herons in the summer.

May 8 Recently I’ve been making a point of telling every dog walker I see at Lighthouse that they are not allowed to be on the beach. Some of the brilliant excuses from arrogant dog walkers I have talked to include: “It’s on a leash.” “My dog is very friendly.” “The rules of the beach do not start until 8AM.” “There are no people on the beach.” None of these idiotic jumbles of nonsense stop a shorebird from viewing a dog as a potential predator (which it is) and being forced to fly further north and rest somewhere else. For example, yesterday 4 Willets were found at Lighthouse Beach by Richard DeCoster, but they were forced to fly off when they were chased by unleashed dogs. Right now the best I can do is extract untrustworthy promises from the dogwalkers that if they see small birds running up and down the beach they will keep their dog away from the shoreline.
Today saw the arrival of a pair of Spotted Sandpipers that were frantically feeding with a Killdeer on the beach near the breakwall. The most notable aspect of the morning was a stream of gulls and terns flying north all morning, which inspired a lakewatch for Common/Forster’s terns. There weren’t any, but several Red-breasted Mergansers were flying north, and there was plenty of activity in the playground thicket including a FOY Eastern Wood-Pewee.
It was supposed to rain pretty hard this afternoon, but it turned out to only be a slight drizzle, so I headed to Linne Woods. Light rain can keep insect-eating passerines incredibly active, and especially so by rivers, such as the one that runs through Linne. As soon as I got out of my car, I noticed a very large warbler flock by the parking lot. While searching for the blurs of motion among the leaves, I noticed a brown bird fly up onto a low branch and saw that it was a Louisiana Waterthrush! While it is getting a bit late for them, Linne is perfect habitat and they have been seen quite routinely during early May in past years at Skokie Lagoons and LaBagh. It flew down and I wasn’t able to refind it, but I was able to find a Golden-winged Warbler in the same flock!
What would happen for the next three and a half hours was that I would walk for several minutes without seeing much activity, and then I would find a warbler flock to pick through, and then move on again. It turned out to be a great afternoon-my best ever, actually-I had 19 warblers, 63 total species, and 77 for the day, all of them personal all-time records! Some of the highlights of the long and rewarding walk included a late Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3 Blue-headed Vireos, 2 Blue-winged Warblers, and a Prothonotary Warbler that showed beautifully by the river bank.

May 9 Today didn’t have as good of a migration movement as yesterday, but there was still plenty of activity at Lighthouse to keep me busy. One of the sandpipers was continuing from yesterday, and some of the rough-winged swallows that likely nest under the breakwall were flying around. The South Ravine was mostly quiet except for a few Yellow-rumps and Palms, the North Ravine had a Hermit Thrush, and a large flock of Blue Jays flew over. I then went to the playground trees and found a late Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a pair of Baltimore Orioles. The past few days have seen the best birding centered on the thicket, and today was no exception. A Northern Parula was foraging on the highest branches of a tree while a Black-and-white climbed up its trunk, a Northern Waterthrush, hiding somewhere in the log pile, was singing loudly. On my second circuit, I found a Clay-colored Sparrow feeding on the sidewalk that runs north from the parking lot! I later saw it singing high up in the thicket and it fed in the field with Chipping Sparrows (I try to make two rounds every morning that I visit Lighthouse Beach: Beach - dunes- south ravine area - beach - north ravine area - playground - thicket - field - lighthouse area-repeat). It’s possible that it could stick around as there’s plenty of the unmowed lawns that they like, during quarantine one stuck around for three days at Timberidge Park across the street from my house, when I didn’t realize that this was an uncommon bird.

Around midmorning I went to Emily Oaks Nature Center, but it was too crowded with people, so I headed to Linne Woods instead. I had limited activity over a limited amount of time, though I did see an Eastern Phoebe which I did not see yesterday. Later that afternoon I went to Techny because several overdue yearbirds were consistently being seen there. My already half-broken low-quality scope fully broke while I was walking to the mudflats, but honestly that was just a matter of time, at least I won’t have to deal with it anymore. I did see the previously reported Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, and Pectoral Sandpipers, but it seems that nothing new had dropped in during the middle of the day, which is what I was hoping for.

Later that night, as I was in my room submitting a checklist for the 4 Black-crowned Night Herons that flew over my school as I was leaving, I heard an unusual sound coming from outside. I have heard Great Horned Owls from inside my house before so I opened the window and it became clear that I was hearing the song of an Eastern Whip-poor-will!!!!! A ridiculous yardbird and one of the best birds I’ve ever self-found! This is one of Cook County’s “Code 3” birds: Species that can be found every year but are not easy to find. The whip-poor-will stopped singing after a minute, and it was also my first time hearing its famous song. Wild.

Publicado el mayo 22, 2023 11:10 TARDE por yonatansimkovich yonatansimkovich | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario