Saturday, April 26, 2014

Morning in Putnam

With Jen hosting a baby shower in the morning, I had this Saturday morning free for some birding. Andrew and I were planning on using the time to check out some locations in Will County for migrant passerines and resident specialties, but a report of a Marbled Godwit at Hennepin-Hopper caused a last minute change of plans as we decided to head west to Putnam County. Unfortunately, the godwit had not lingered, or at least it wasn't visible while we were there. There were still a few highlights though as we raked in 71 species at Hennepin alone, along with several year birds.

While scoping from the parking area, Andrew spotted this American Bittern flying out across the marsh.

American Bittern
Hennepin-Hopper, Putnam Co, IL
April 26, 2014


This was one of 7 shorebird species present.

Solitary Sandpiper
Hennepin-Hopper, Putnam Co, IL
April 26, 2014

From the parking area, we could hear our first Common Gallinules of the year trumpeting in the marsh, and this one eventually showed itself.

Common Gallinule
Hennepin-Hopper, Putnam Co, IL
April 26, 2014

A Warbling Vireo sang continually, as did Common Yellowthroats, both indicators of migrants being on the move. We walked along the marsh to the observation tower and picked up Green Heron on the way. My FOY Yellow Warbler was singing nearby, the Yellow-headed Blackbirds were conspicuous, and a grand total of 144 Bonaparte's Gulls were out on the lake - I never get tired of seeing them in alternate plumage. Here's the whole checklist.

From there we meandered back to the area that has had nesting Prairie Warblers for a number of years now. We rolled the windows down as I pulled the car up. A couple Field Sparrows called, then the ascending buzzy trill of a Prairie Warbler rang out, score! We got out to find that he was calling right next to the road, where we were treated to excellent views.


Prairie Warbler
Putnam Co, IL
April 26, 2014

While watching him, three Broad-wings flew by, also providing nice looks! You can see this one is still molting a couple primaries on its right wing.



Broad-winged Hawk
Putnam Co, IL
April 26, 2014

On the way home we stopped at a couple La Salle County locations, where we didn't pick up much new. Though at the Lone Point Shelter we did have Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, Palm, and Common Yellowthroat. The water levels along the river were too high for shorebirds, so we moved on to the La Salle State Wildlife Area. The cooling ponds are difficult to see from the parking lot because of the berms, and we could hear yellowlegs calling, so I did the natural thing and got on the car to scope.


Unfortunately this tactic yielded no new birds, but it's good to know it can be done! All in all it was a nice morning of birding, even though we missed our target bird.

ABA 2014: 232

Illinois 2014: 210

Putnam, IL: 102 (my third county in triple digits this year, and I've only had 3 trips there!)
La Salle, IL: 85