Date: 3/5/17 7:08 am From: <chicagio10...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Park 566 lakewatch, Calumet park, Burnham Prairie NP - 3/4 morning
sorry for the day-late report...
I spent a little more than an hour at park 566 watching the lake, hoping to get a loon or some scoters. I was able to pick up a male White-winged Scoter fairly close to the edge of the lake. Only other bird of interest was a 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull.
Heading south, steelworkers was loaded with fisherman so i did a quick drive around Calumet Park. Not much here but i found my year-bird Horned Grebe as well as a large mixed flock of American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos.
Didn't see anything at wolf lake so i went to my main stop of the day, Burnham Prairie NP. About 90 minutes into my time there, i started to hear the unmistakable rattle. I spent the next hour counting flock after flock of Sandhill Cranes. They appeared to be moving more west-northwest than north. It took me about 30 minutes to count 1,000+ birds then in 15 minutes, 4-5 flocks of 200+ birds came through in rapid succession. My final crane tally was 2,683. The birds came through so quickly, i had to roughly estimate flock size but i took a few pictures so i'll confirm that my guesses are in the ballpark. Looking at the SE winds in the forecast with the warm air coming in, i figured stuff would be moving, so it was nice to actually make a prediction and be right.
Other than that, it was a really nice day for species diversity (given the calendar) and in 3 hours, i was able to hit 30 for the site for the day. Overall, i had 35 species of bird on an unexpectedly cold day. State year bird count now at 72 with not a goldfinch or blue jay in there.