Date: 3/7/17 12:58 pm From: douglas stotz <dfstotz...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Cliff Swallow near McCormick Place
Wendy Paulson led a field trip to the McCormick Bird Sanctuary this AM. We had 15 participants and 35 species. The highlight was a flyover Cliff Swallow. Someone called out Tree Swallow, and looked up to see a swallow flying south with other "reverse-migrant" robins and blackbirds. As soon as I got my binoculars on the bird, it was clear that it was not a Tree Swallow, With a dark throat, buffy rump, and dirty white underparts, Josh Engel and I independently concluded it was an extraordinarily early Cliff Swallow. I looked at e-bird and was reminded that Fran Morel had a Cliff Swallow at Montrose last year on 17 March. It seems clear that March Cliff swallows in Illinois are an increasing phenomenon, but northern Illinois records are still very few, and this date is really at least 2 weeks before the first few typically are found in southern Illinois. Bohlen's Birds of Illinois lists only 2 March records from Illinois, nowadays there are usually several March records annually. Last year there were 7 records in e-bird from Illinois in March and 3 in 2015. Nearly all were the last week of March.
Besides the swallow, interesting birds included an adult male Northern Harrier, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers and a somewhat early Eastern Phoebe. -- Douglas Stotz Conservation Ecologist/Ornithologist Environmental and Conservation Programs Field Museum of Natural History 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605