Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kane County Clay-colored

As we headed to bed around midnight last night, I told Jen that I may not be going birding in the morning. "Wow, you really must be tired," she responded. And she was right. Yesterday was incredible, but the long hours and amazing birds really took it out of me. The prospect of another short night was not appealing.

But the prospect of not getting year birds was even less appealing.

I compromised and stayed around home for an extra hour this morning, and instead of going down to the city I headed to Kane County where Scott Cohrs and I had a really solid morning. He got to Prairie Green before me and had texted me about a Clay-colored Sparrow on the hedge row, as well as a couple of late American Tree Sparrows. I found the Trees and heard the Clay-color buzzing, and about that time got another text from Scott that he was on a Wilson's Phalarope down at the main pond. Content with hearing the Clay-color, I hurried down to the pond, where this little spinning phalarope put on a show for us! These are the best pics I've ever had of one, and we had a really hard time pulling ourselves away from such a cooperative bird.




Wilson's Phalarope
Prairie Green, Kane Co, IL
May 3, 2014

What a treat to get to study the intricate plumage details up close. I hadn't spent much time looking at the gray and crimson streaks on the back before. So great.

Prairie Green was loaded with sparrows too: in addition to the Tree and Clay-colored, there were Savannah, Vesper, Song, Swamp, White-throated, Grasshopper, and Henslow's.

Henslow's Sparrow
Prairie Green, Kane Co, IL
May 3, 2014

We then went up the road to Hickory Knolls, a cool birding spot that I hadn't been to before. It was initially slow but then things heated up. We picked up Blue-headed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and this Black-and-white Warbler in the woods.

Black-and-white Warbler
Hickory Knolls, Kane Co, IL
May 3, 2014

We came to a clearing a flushed a couple sparrows. I got on the first and saw that it was a Chipping, but Scott stayed on them and and found that the second was another Clay-colored! It was great to actually get to lay eyes on one. We ended up getting another on the way out of the park, too.

Clay-colored and Chipping Sparrows
Hickory Knolls, Kane Co, IL
May 3, 2014

Clay-colored Sparrow
Hickory Knolls, Kane Co, IL
May 3, 2014

We had a Sedge Wren calling nearby in a marshy area, another year bird for the day. All in all it was a brief but quality outing with two year birds and two county lifers!

ABA 2014: 253

Illinois 2014: 231

Kane, IL: 125 (life: 190)