Date: 12/29/17 1:54 pm From: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Final Attempt To See A 2017 Cook County Pileated Woodpecker Friday 12-29-17
Hello Bird People,
WARNING! This is more of a story than a normal report so it may not be interesting to all. Read on if you wish.
Noticed on ebird that both Matthew C & Andrew A have passed me up on the Cook County Year List for 2017 but maybe if I could find 1 more species I could catch up. There are 3 species I could still get but I thought Pileated Woodpecker offered me my best chance. (The other 2 species are Barred Owl & Lesser Black Backed Gull.) On the other hand I have probably tried for a Cook Co Pileated 10 times in 2017 & failed on each try even though I usually find 1 every year. I have tried all the usual Palos area locations, Bemis Woods/Salt Creek & the Chicago Botanic Garden where one was seen this year. The closest I've come was at the CBG where I heard the loud calls & drumming of what was probably a Pileated but as seeing is believing & hearing is hoping I did not count it.
A Walk In The Woods
Over the years my best place to look has been the Palos area that includes the Old Country Road, Spears Woods & Cranberry Slough where I once saw 4 Pileateds on one long walk. Started at 8:15 a.m., walked north on the Old Country Road, crossed over to the path that goes to Spears Woods & then back south to Cranberry Slough crossing 95th Street twice in the process. It was a fine walk in the quiet, snow covered woods where I had the company of a Coyote for about 10 min. The Coyote let me catch up to within 50 yards & then would trot ahead, wait for me & then move ahead again. But it finally had enough of my slow pace & off it went. In my entire walk of almost 2 hours I only encountered one hiker other than the Coyote. Pretty much solitude in the snowy woods which was fine with me.
With the exception of one species all I saw were normal Winter birds & although I saw quite a few Woodpeckers none was a Pileated. The exception was RED HEADED WOODPECKER & I saw one adult & one immature. In the Winter that species is just as hard to find as a Pileated but today there they were probably as I wasn't looking for them. Also seen were Red Bellied, Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers, good numbers of Blue Jays & White Breasted Nuthatches, one Chickadee, Cardinals, Juncos & Goldfinch. A few Canada Geese flew by calling.
Highlight of this walk took place at 8:40 a.m. as I crossed over to the yellow trail to get to Spears Woods. But it was a sound highlight & not a visual one. Suddenly the quiet ended with a pack of Coyotes howling like crazy! This lasted about 4-5 min & it was quite the "Coyote Concert" & a free concert at that. They were close by but of course I never saw them. Pretty exciting though.
So one more try for a Pileated & one more failure. I guess it just wasn't meant to be this year. Later I half heartedly tried again at Swallow Cliff & Maple Lake but no Pileateds there either. I did locate Andrew A at Swallow Cliff but saw no Crossbills today.
If you are in this area you should check the feeders at The Little Red School House as with the coming of snow there are many birds using those feeders. Highlights for me were TUFTED TITMOUSE (1 or 2) & 3-4 PURPLE FINCHES of which one was a beautiful purple/pink male.
It was a fine day for me in spite of missing the big woodpecker. Bird-Of-The-Day goes to the 2 Red Headed Woodpeckers as they are not always found here in the Winter & Runners-Up to the male Purple Finch & the Tufted Titmouse.
Al Stokie In the Palos area of Cook County today
------------------------------------ Posted by: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> ------------------------------------