Happiness is a large, brown shorebird with a down curved bill!
Covered my usual 3 beach areas (Waukegan, Illinois Beach South & State Line Beaches) in N.E. Lake County & on the way home I again checked Techny North as part of my shorebird quest. Did very well today with 13 species of shorebirds highlighted by a calling, very close, fly-by WHIMBREL going north to south over the lake & beach at Illinois Beach South Unit, a continuing juvenile PIPING PLOVER (the one with the bottom blue band) at Waukegan, a Ruddy Turnstone on the Waukegan pier & 2 somewhat early Wilson's Snipe at Techny North.
Non shorebird highlights included a great (& long) look at a LEAST BITTERN preening in the reeds in the backwater area & a Summer adult BONAPARTE'S GULL (with full black head) on the swimming beach both at Waukegan. That's more highlights than I usually get in a full week of birding! Here's the breakdown by location:
Waukegan Beach, Pier & Backwaters (6:30-8:30 a.m.)
Killdeer (2), PIPING PLOVER (1-JUV), Spotted (2) & Semipalmated (7) Sandpipers, Sanderling (2) & RUDDY TURNSTONE (1) Ring Billed (~200), Herring (~10) & BONAPARTE'S (1-AD) Gulls Caspian Tern (3-4) LEAST BITTERN, Great Blue Heron & Great Egret (1 each in backwaters) Also had 2 groups of fly-by Peeps (6 & 4) but they did not land so I could not try & I.D. them And 100's of southbound Swallows the majority of which were Barn
Illinois Beach South Unit (Beach birds only) (8:30-10:30 a.m.)
I saw Andy Stewart at Waukegan & he said I was flirting with "shorebird shutouts" both at IBSP & at State Line Beach but I saw 1 young Spotted Sandpiper toward the Dead River mouth & then another one near to the resort area. Plus
1st one in a few years for me! This has happened to me before but I heard a calling shorebird which sounded vaguely familiar but not familiar enough. Lucky for me it was flying by close to shore (& then over the shore) so I got a great look at the big shorebird & it's down curved bill. It acted like it was going to land (I told it Land! Land!) but it circled twice & then went directly south along the beach. Look for this big guy to the south perhaps at Waukegan or even Montrose later today or tomorrow.
Again 100's of Swallows, the usual Gulls, 4 Caspian Terns & after not seeing any for about 2 or 3 weeks or more there was 1 BREWER'S BLACKBIRD either a female or a young one as they look alike to me. Again Andy Stewart had the singing young Blue Grosbeak along the Dunes Trail & again I did NOT.
State Line Beach
Here Andy's prediction came true as there were no birds at all mainly due to quite a few human beach users I guess. So a "shorebird shutout" but after today's good birding it did not bother me!
Here I added Semipalmated Plover (1) & Wilson's Snipe (2) to get my shorebird total to 13, a fairly good total for N.E. Illinois. Again 80% of the shorebirds here were Killdeer.
I had thought for sure that the Least Bittern (such a good look!) would be top bird but no, Bird-Of-The-Day goes to the Whimbrel due to how seldom I see them in the last few years. Runners-Up to the Least Bittern & the young Piping Plover. Fancy Pants Bird Of The Day to the very classy looking adult Bonaparte's Gull.
Al Stokie Having a fine day mostly in N.E. Lake County today
------------------------------------ Posted by: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> ------------------------------------