Date: 1/7/18 9:07 am
From: <rlshonkw...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET South Lake Front and Calumet area, Saturday, 6 January: No Slaty-backed but lots of other nice birds
Dan Lory and I birded the south lake front and the Calumet area yesterday hitting 31st Street Harbor, the outer harbor of Jackson Park, Steel Workers Park, Park 566, Calumet Park, Turning Basin No. 3 off 126th St., Turning Basin No. 5/Stony Island along Dead Stick Pond and the Bend of the Little Calumet River by 127th Street. We didn't get the main target bird but we saw some other nice birds. It was also my first birding outing of the new year. My year list until yesterday was composed of 1 each cardinal, chickadee and House Sparrow!
We started at 31st Street Harbor but only had RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON GOLDENEYE and A. CROW, though all FOY for me. The outer harbor of Jackson Park had no open water except at the harbor mouth. We only added CANADA GEESE and RING-BILLED GULL. Things got better at Steel Workers Park. I missed it on my initial scan, but some other birders arrived, including Carl G. and Steve H., and pointed out a SNOWY OWL out on the breakwater. It was in Indiana, but that's alright. It later flew in closer but was still in Indiana I think. Carl and Steve and a photographer had seen another owl in the area earlier. There were hundreds of mostly COMMON MERGANSERS way out there initially, but something flushed them (not the owl which hadn't moved at this time). They mostly flew northwest by Park 566. Among the closer birds I found a female BLACK SCOTER, along with my first GREATER SCAUP of the year. Carl and Steve had mentioned seeing several Common Redpolls and the Hoary Redpoll at Park 566, so we headed there next. I first scoped the lake off the park and added REDHEAD. It took some time but we eventually found the redpolls along with some A. TREE SPARROWS. We saw a pale bird that was probably the Hoary with little streaking on the side perched on a plant but it took off and we never relocated it. We saw ~15 COMMON REDPOLLS.
At Calumet Park we added MUTE SWAN (4) and found a few LESSER SCAUP mixed in with the Greaters. Most of the birds were right along the border with Indiana moving back and forth over the line so I just counted them as Illinois birds. Way out on the ice in Indiana waters I could barely make out a black and white bird that was probably a Great Black-backed Gull but the heat distortion was so bad that I couldn't rule out other black backed gulls. We also saw an A. KESTREL and another unidentified falcon here (in Ill.). We stopped for lunch at the Wendy's off Ave. O north of Wolf Lake. Looking out the large windows facing west I noticed 2 adult BALD EAGLES fly over! At Turning Basin 3 off 126th Street there was an immature BALD EAGLE on the ice that was chassed off by a RED-TAILED HAWK. We also had FOY SONG SPARROWS and a DARK-EYED JUNCO and lots of HERRING GULLS. We headed off to Turn Basin 5 to look for the Slaty-backed Gull but we found birders looking at gulls on the roof of one of the industrial buildings along Stony Island. Some had seen a dark backed gull fly off before we got there. There was an immature GLAUCOUS GULL on the roof with over a hundred Herring Gulls. Several birders decided to go to another access point on the river. Turned out it was where we had just come from, Turning Basin 3. We didn't find the gull here but there was an adult RED-SHOULDERED HAWK sitting on a wire as we pulled in. Jeff S. also pointed out the resident PEREGRINE FALCON on the big bridge to the west. To close the day we visited the Bend of the Little Calumet River. We found 6 immature BALD EAGLES on the ice, which would fly around every now and then. Dan also spotted an adult flying over and 2 adult RED-TAILED HAWKS. Water birds added to the year list here were MALLARD, A. BLACK DUCK, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, GREAT BLUE HERON, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and A. COOT. Due to lack of time and the bright, low sun in the east I had to do rough estimates of most of the birds here. My full list is below.

Abbreviations: 31st = 31st Street Harbor, OH = Jackson Park outer harbor, SWP = Steel Workers Park, P566 = Park 566, CP = Calumet Park, Wendy's = Wendy's!, TB 3 = Turning Basin 3, SI = Stony Island along Dead Stick Pond, BLCR = Bend of the Little Calumet River.

Canada Goose: OH (20), P566 (66), CP (260), TB 3 (285), BLCR (10)
Mute Swan: CP (4), BLCR (7)
Mallard: BLCR (142)
A. Black Duck: BLCR (5)
Redhead: P566 (2), CP (3), BLCR (3)
Ring-necked Duck: BLCR (3)
Greater Scaup: SWP (1), CP (82)
Lesser Scaup: CP (3), BLCR (300)
Greater/Lesser Scaup: P566 (2)
Black Scoter: SWP (1)
Common Goldeneye: 31st (1), OH (7), SWP (6), P566 (4), CP (8), BLCR (60)
Bufflehead: BLCR (10)
Common Merganser: SWP (57), P566 (333), TB 3 (1), BLCR (90)
Red-breasted Merganser: 31st (7), OH (7), SWP (52), P566 (13), CP (23), TB 3 (156), BLCR (50)
Double-crested Cormorant: BLCR (2)
Great Blue Heron: BLCR (2)
Red-shouldered Hawk: TB 3/126th St. Marsh (1)
Red-tailed Hawk: TB 3 (1), BLCR (2), plus 1 at Indian Ridge Marsh
Bald Eagle: Wendy's (2), BLCR (7)
A. Coot: BLCR (6)
Ring-billed Gull: OH (10)
Herring Gull: TB 3 (94), SI (106), BLCR (6)
Glaucous Gull: SI (1)
Rock Pigeon: TB 3 (10)
Snowy Owl: SWP Ind. (1)
Downy Woodpecker: TB 3 (1), BLCR (1)
Peregrine Falcon: TB 3 (1)
A. Kestrel: CP (1)
Falcon sp: CP (1)
A. Crow: 31st (2), OH (3), SWP (19), P566 (2), CP (1)
Euro. Starling: Wendy's (8), SI (15)
A. Tree Sparrow: P566 (7), TB 3 (2), BLCR (2)
Song Sparrow: TB 3 (2)
Dark-eyed Junco: TB 3 (1), BLCR (3)
N. Cardinal: BLCR (1)
Common Redpoll: P566 (15)

Randy Shonkwiler
Hyde Park/Chicago

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