September Lake County Big Day 9/22
- Eric Lundquist and I embarked forth on our September Big Day yesterday. We finished with 106 species which was well short of my goal but it was still a great day to be birding. Eric was kind enough to teach me the subtleties of thrush flight calls, and we were able to get repeated calls of all thrushes except Veery (though we disagreed on this one). The weather was gorgeous and made the day that much more enjoyable. Can't beat good weather, good company, and good birds!Highlights:Best bird/biggest disappointment: Yes these are in the same category….weird. In July, Eric canoed out to the Geotube with me on Grass Lake only to be greeted by a totally inundated flood pool with 0 shorebird habitat and 0 shorebirds. Yesterday we went out to the Tube and found the EXACT SAME conditions. This boggled my mind seeing as the other shorebird habitats of the day were good. Needless to say we got no shorebirds…..except 1, and it was a good one. It was so white I was ready to pass it off as a gull, but then Eric shouted out, "It's an AVOCET!" After almost falling out of the boat we backed up and got nice looks at a basic plumage AMERICAN AVOCET. 1 shorebird good for 1 year bird at the Tube. Nice.Most fun birds: 14 owls. I love hearing and seeing owls, even if I've heard/seen them many times before. Yesterday we had 3 EASTERN SCREECH OWLS whinnying and tooting, 9 GREAT HORNED OWLS (yes, 9. Talk about feast or famine. I've been shut out by this bird 3 of the past 4 months.) Yesterday we had 2 juveniles begging and 7 hooting adults. The best, though, were the 2 BARRED OWLS who followed us down the path after we called for them a couple of times.Biggest misses: Horned Lark (again- even though I know where to find them, but I can't get there in time), Sedge Wren (didn't leave enough time at Rollins), Green Heron, and Eastern Phoebe.By location:D. Wright- All THRUSHES (except Veery), PHILADELPHIA VIREO, SCARLET TANAGERRyerson- WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, TENNESSEE, BLACKPOLL, 4 VIREO species, 3 COOPER'S HAWKS.Waukegan- CAPE MAY WARBLER, D.EYED JUNCO, BROWN CREEPERNorth Unit- BOBOLINK, DICKCISSEL, BLUE-HEADED VIREO (nice spot, Eric).Nippersink Marsh- LEAST and PECTORAL SANDPIPER, GREATER AND LESSER YELLOWLEGS, N. SHOVELER, RUSTY BLACKBIRD.Rollins- Am. WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, Am. COOT, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, DOWITCHER sp. ( I could tell by structure it was a dowitcher, but I was too distant to see plumage details, and it may have been a winter plumage adult)Almond Marsh- We got here with barely enough light to pick out 2 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, but the place was crawling with waterfowl. I wish I was there a half hour earlier.Good Birding!