Date: 2/27/17 5:22 pm From: Beau Schaefer <beauschaefer...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Feb Lake County Big Day- 69sp.
I really don’t like wind. So it would be plausible to ask yourself why I would want to bird for many hours dealing with 20-30 mph gales. The answer is that the rewards of birding outweigh the trivialities of poor weather conditions, so Steve Bailey and I endured yesterday’s windstorm and finished with a personal February best of 69 sp. Highlights:
First Bird: Great Horned Owl; 2 hooting at COLSP around 1:45am
Last Bird: Short-eared Owl at 5:50pm at Rollins Savanna; fairly close at about 100 yds.
Biggest misses: There were a lot. Passerines were difficult because they either weren’t singing, were hunkered down, or the wind was drowning them out. Only had 4 sparrow species (missed both swamp and fox), missed many birds at COLSP that I have had in past weeks (no RL Hawk, shrike, hermit thrush, YR warbler, GC kinglet), but the BIGGEST miss, by far, was a BLUE JAY. A big day first. I’ve never missed a Blue Jay. And we went to no less than three houses with feeders and many places with oaks. That was a rough miss.
Biggest Highlights: Also many of these. We had 22 waterfowl species yesterday including every species of dabbling duck except for BW Teal. Best bird of the day may have been the male WOOD DUCK that we had on the east side of Pine Dunes FP. Also had 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL here and our only EASTERN BLUEBIRD of the day. Another highlight was the 5 sp. of blackbirds that we had. We ran into multiple blackbird flocks to the north along rt. 45 and also Millburn Rd. with a lone EASTERN MEADOWLARK at Fed Ex. We had a couple of RUSTY BLACKBIRDS at COLSP and then some BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS in a mixed flock along Millburn Rd. We also had great looks watching the PEREGRINE FALCON at Midwest Gen chase around a Rock Pigeon. That was one of our 5 raptor sp. on the day.
Best location- Tough one. Pine Dunes FP is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots. The short grass there is great for many species that we don’t find at our other preserves. And ducks love this place also. Fourth Lake has also proven to be a huge duck magnet but visibility and accessibility here is a bit more difficult.
Thanks to Steve for braving the elements with me yesterday and finding some great birds.