Date: 2/28/17 12:00 pm From: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Cook Co-Surf Scoter, Ross's Goose & A Birding History Quiz Tuesday 2-28-17
Hello Bird People,
Lake winds were S.E. over night but by 7:15 the winds at Gillson had changed to S.W. & although the south part is good for Spring duck migration the west part means no ducks were pushed toward shore for better viewing. Duck migrants were fewer than on my last Lake Watch with no really large flocks moving by. The most common duck, especially in the lake, was Red Breasted Merganser & I only had 6 duck species in 2 hours of watching. It was interesting to note that the only ducks flying south rather than north were all Scoters which means they were just milling around rather than migrating. Here's my list:
Gillson Park Spring Lake Watch #2 (7:15-9:15 a.m.)
Horned Grebe (4-5 all swimming in the water) Canada Goose (flocks of 10 & 17 flying north) PINTAIL (1-PR flying north) Redhead (6-8 in with the swimming Scaup flock) Greater Scaup (22 flying north & 60 in the lake by the harbor mouth) SURF SCOTER (1-F flying in close & heading south) "Dark Winged" Scoter (2 flying south but too far out to I.D.) Bufflehead (2-PR flying north) Common Merganser (2-M in the water) Red Breasted Merganser (about 20 flying north & 50-60 in the lake) Ring Billed (3 on the beach) & Herring (~10 fly-bys) Gulls (There were so many dogs on the beach that the Gulls would not stay there.)
Wilmette Harbor only had Horned Grebe (1), Bufflehead (1-F) & R.B. Merganser (2-F)
The only land birds were the most common ones with strong singing by Cardinals, Red Wings & House Finches.
River Park Along The N. Branch Of The Chicago River (11-11:20 a.m.)
I didn't recall this place by name but when I saw it I remembered it very well because of 2 really special birds seen here in the past. In 1986 a very colorful western bird was here & in the mid-90's a duck usually only found on Lake Michigan was here. The quiz will be to name those 2 birds. The answer at the end of this post.
As usual at this park finding a parking place was harder than finding the Goose! Parked on Argyle which was a good move as the ROSS'S GOOSE was with Canada Geese just north of that street along the river. These Canada Geese are tame & used to handouts & some walk right up to you. And as in many other goose gangs the bigger Canada's pick on the little Ross's Goose. Other birds here were Mallards, Herring Gulls, a Red Tailed Hawk (found by Elaine F) & a loud female Kingfisher flying up & down the river.
For some unknown reason I continue to find my targets but I know that won't last long. Bird-Of-The-Day to the Surf Scoter as I wasn't sure I'd see one & Runner-Up to the Ross's Goose which I figured I'd have a better chance of seeing today. Thanks go to Kevin for the original report on the Ross's Goose.
And here are the bird history quiz answers:
In 1986 a beautiful red male VERMILION FLYCATCHER was along the river on a branch overlooking the river where the river splits. This was the very 1st "rare bird" that I chased all by myself & I almost missed it as it took me forever to find a place to park on a Saturday. As I walked in 5 birders were leaving but they said the fancy Flycatcher had flown & not returned! However, one birder took me back & showed me it's hunting branch & said Flycatchers often have favorite spots to hunt from & it may come back. Now on my own I waited 15 min & back came that fine feathered Flycatcher. Later I went to Jarvis ((then Lincoln Park) Sanctuary where I got to brag about seeing the bird. It was also my 1st sighting of Kanae H who was at Jarvis. And 30 years later we are both still around!
The 2nd rare bird at this location was a female Harlequin Duck which was a bit farther up from the river split in shallower but fast moving water where that species likes to hang out. In this case it was more a matter of WHERE the duck was (inland/non-Lake Michigan) than how rare it was. Think about how many times any of you have seen a Harlequin Duck not in Lake Michigan other than the 2 years one was by the dam in Elgin. Not many! Thus endth your bird history lesson & quiz for the day.
Al Stokie In Cook County again & remembering the "good old days"
------------------------------------ Posted by: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> ------------------------------------