Date: 12/31/17 11:53 am
From: Al Stokie <alstokie99...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET A Cold But Good Ending To 2017 At Montrose Point On Sunday 12-31-17
Hello Bird People,

During our prolonged cold spell I have not been birding every day as I
usually do but have been skipping a few of the coldest days. But
although today was one of the coldest days, at least at 1st, I just
could not skip the last day of the year. Thought it would be nice to
end the year with one last special bird sighting & as Montrose has had
a Snowy Owl lately I decided to try for that bird.

Walked out to the fish hook pier with Jeff B where we found 4 birders
who had NOT seen the Snowy Owl while they were there. They left but we
kept up the search with a 3rd birder. The pier had some very ice
covered sections but we saw no Owls on it. The 3rd birder headed down
the beach & a young guy with a camera climbed on the pier & walked to
the end. Lucky for us that he did as he got toward the red tower he
flushed the dark, young SNOWY OWL from the lower part of the pier & it
flew out over the lake & landed on some floating lake ice. I called to
the 3rd birder who returned to see the Owl through Jeff's scope as did
2 of the 4 birders who had not seen the Owl earlier. Turns out that
the young guy with the camera was not a birder at all but a
photographer who wanted photos of the ice covered lake & pier. That
explained why he showed no interest in the Owl when it flew. To each
his own!

The harbor is completely frozen except at the harbor mouth but in the
lake were Canada Geese,
Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye & both Common & Red Breasted
Mergansers. The only Gulls were Ring Billed & Herring. A few Rock
Pigeons were by the gull feeding area.

In the Magic Hedge area a nice lady was tossing bird seed on the
ground in several places & that was a big hit with the land birds
resulting in many birds flying down after the seeds. These birds
included Downy Woodpecker (1), Chickadee (4), Cardinal (1-M & 1-F),
Tree Sparrow (4-5),
Junco (6), Goldfinch (6), House Sparrow (20-25) & the star of the land
birds, one male (red chest) COMMON REDPOLL. Earlier Jeff B had seen 2
Redpolls but they flew before I saw them, One is good enough for me.

Was birding here for about 90 min & my face & hands were pretty cold &
I was glad to quit by 11 a.m. So I had not 1 but 2 special bird
sightings on this last day of 2017. A fine ending after all.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the originally hard to find Snowy Owl &
Runner-Up to the male Common Redpoll.
Birder Of The Day to the lady with the bird seed.

License Plate Of The Day to THREE Alaska plates as in addition to the
2 still near my home I saw one with the old style orange plate with
the large flag on it. Three Alaska plates is usually a full years
total so getting 3 in one day is pretty good. Looks good for the near
by Alaska plates to be here to start off my 2018 list although they've
never stayed into the new year before.

Al Stokie
In Cook County & I hope you all had a fine birding year in 2017!

Posted by: Al Stokie <alstokie99...>


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