Monday, January 13, 2014

First Snowy of the Year

Spring Semester 2014 officially begins here at Wheaton College today. Thankfully, my first meeting wasn't until noon, so after dropping my wife off at work, I headed down to Bolingbrook in search of the Snowy Owl that had been around for a few days.

My outing was an interesting mix of birding and dodging Chicagoland's cavernous potholes. I felt a little bit like I was driving through a real life MarioKart race, never knowing what part of the road in front of me was going to cave in next. I am grateful to be back home, having avoided irreparable or expensive damage to our little Sonata.

I made it to the Bolingbrook Golf Club at about 8:40, and pretty quickly found my target for the day. It's well known that this is an invasion year for Snowies, but I did not want to leave this tick hanging much longer. After all, with birds, you just never know. It sounded like this Will County bird was pretty reliable, and sure enough it showed quite nicely. Andrew had seen it just this morning, and the place he described was exactly where it was still sitting. This lightly barred Snowy is likely an adult female by my estimation. I watched it through the scope for several minutes and just soaked in its beauty. No matter how many you see, Snowy Owls simply never get old.

Here it is, nestled into its suburban context. It was ironic to me to watch it sit on a sign for a soon to be developed lot - this will sadly not be a place that this Snowy can return in the coming years because it will be too built up.

Snowy Owl
Bush Rd, Will Co, IL
January 13, 2014

This was my only real target for the morning, so I drove away quite content with this excellent year bird. I tried for the Kane County Snowy out on Scott Road but came up empty. I ran into Pete Moxon who had spent a while in the area and was unable to come up with it either.

So, I started heading back to Wheaton. On the way I stopped along the Fox River, where I found three Mute Swans. Two were at Island Park in Geneva and another was just north of there along the river.

Mute Swans
Island Park, Kane Co, IL
January 13, 2014

Many of my excursions will be quick mornings out like this now that the semester is beginning. I'm grateful the first was so productive!

ABA: 104

Illinois: 68

Will, IL: 55
Kane, IL: 39