Eighteen observers attended this annual Chicago Ornithological Society – Evanston North Shore Bird Club sponsored field trip on Sunday morning (27 August 2017). We visited the MWRD Calumet Water Reclamation Plant (restricted access, visits authorized 30 days in advance) and then Burnham Prairie Nature Preserve afterward. Eleven shorebird species were found, plus one flyover Pluvialis plover not identified to species.
We found a total of 49 bird species at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant. Upon our arrival, a few of us saw a flyover long-winged plover (probably American Golden-Plover, but not seen well enough to be certain). By my count, the remaining eleven shorebird species seen at the plant throughout the morning included 11 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 38 KILLDEER, 5 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, 10 LEAST SANDPIPERS, 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, 26 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 1 WILSON'S SNIPE, 7 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 9 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, 1 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and 8 LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Once again no big-ticket items, but close views of the various shorebirds allowed participants to brush up on their shorebird ID skills (never a bad idea). In particular, a juvenile GREATER YELLOWLEGS gave us great opportunities to compare size and bill structure with nearby LESSER YELLOWLEGS. Unfortunately, the 5 BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS quickly flew by before exiting the area, leaving most of us longing for better views. Predictably, an adult PEREGRINE FALCON kept us company throughout the morning, flushing shorebirds at will. Those Peregrines sure love their shorebirds - sometimes I wish it weren't so! Early on, a flyover OSPREY carrying a large fish made an appearance at the plant, and 2 secretive SORAS emerged from cover long enough to be viewed.
At Burnham Prairie, we found six shorebird species. Nothing new, but once again we had a great opportunity to compare a loudly calling GREATER YELLOWLEGS with quieter nearby LESSER YELLOWLEGS. A great learning opportunity!