Well, the day before yesterday, we went to Midewin again to test my new camera. We didn’t see as many good birds as last time, and the highlight was a Bell’s Vireo who would sit still and pose until right when I get my camera on it. Over 30 minutes of trying to photograph it produced 0 photos. After that, we went to Kane County to search for the Swainson’s Hawk (in Burlington, the intersection of Peplow and Chapman (or McGough) Roads, look at the eastern treeline, which we didn’t do so much the 1st time, from the cemetery), which we found in a few minutes instead of not seeing it and searching for over an hour, but we didn’t know the specific directions the first time. It was way far off, so no photos. There were some Chipping Sparrows, which allowed nice photos.
After that, we took a quick stop at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve, and found a Family of Pied-billed Grebes among other things.
Yesterday, a Neotropic Cormorant was reported from Almond Marsh in Lake County, IL. It flew away from there, but was relocated at the nearby Rollin’s Savannah. So, although in the afternoon, we went to Almond Marsh, we saw a good candidate, but we weren’t able to confirm it. We then went to Rollin’s Savannah to search for the cormorant, but we were unsuccessful. A nice surprise was to find 2 pairs of Gadwall, although they were far out. They normally aren’t found in Illinois in the summer I believe.
We left Rollin’s, and went back to Almond Marsh. After getting out of the car the view that is just not pulled off along the main road, and right by the gate that was closed at the time, I found a sort of odd-ball-out cormorant perched in a tree. It was a good amount smaller and thinner tailed (like a Neotropic) than the near-by Double-Crested Cormorants, but at first we couldn’t get good enough views of the throat patch. When it raised its head, we were pretty sure we saw a more angled throat patch with a white border (the other way to ID Neotropic), but the lighting was terrible so we couldn’t confirm. Dave Johnson called us down to where he was, and told us they had better lighting. Sure enough, within 10 minutes of us getting to that specific spot, we saw it lift it’s head, and we saw the white bordering the more angled patch of skin on the throat as well as a lack of feathers on the lores (yet another good way of IDing Neotropics). That was lifer #420, and Illinois bird #299 (sooo close to 300, but I’ll have to wait until… who knows what).
In about a week, I leave for Camp Chiricahua from the company Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT). It is basically a birding tour that is a bit like a camp and for young birders 14-18 years old. It is in South-east Arizona, and it should be amazing.