87. Eastern Bluebird
While cruising the road listening for anything of interest, I heard a Yellow Rumped Warbler chip so I pulled over, and that's when I heard the high pitched honking of Greater White Fronted Geese overhead! We looked up to see a flock of about 100 birds heading east. Surprisingly not a new bird, but definitely an exciting sight! Photo by Simon.
88. Lapland Longspur
Our last stop of the day was the owl roost at Bartel Grassland where I added:
89. Great Horned Owl
90. Snowy Owl
91. Pied Billed Grebe
92. Barred Owl
Saw whet time. Unlike my many other attempts, this one was filled with hope- I had actually just learned that this location was much more reliable than the previous places I'd been trying. However, despite my high hopes, I once again failed to get Northern Saw Whet Owl... frustrating! I'm sure the Great Horned Owl calling nearby definitely wasn't helping us.
(2/15) I took my first break from Cook County birding for the year to attend the IOS Gull Frolic, one of my favorite birding events of all time! As usual, we were awarded with crushing looks at uncommon wintering gulls and the opportunity to catch up with many people from the birding community.
Adult and 2nd cycle Herring Gulls:
93. Surf Scoter
95. Lesser Black Backed Gull
96. Common Grackle
(2/22) I made my first trip to Montrose this year hoping to catch a glimpse of some early spring migrants, but more importantly, I was holding out for the possibility that I might have a shot at my nemesis bird for the year, Long Eared Owl. Bob Hughes found one early the previous morning, and by the time I made it there after school the bird wasn't where he had it. Although it would be unlikely, I knew it definitely wasn't out of the question for the bird to come back to the same roost the next day. And that's exactly what happened!!! After 13 attempts at this bird, victory had never felt so sweet. Nemesis conquered. Huge thanks to Bob for getting me on it. Long Eared Owl!
97. Long Eared Owl
A stop at Cap Sauers in Palos yielded my year bird Pileated Woodpecker, which promply flew away before I got any photos. On the other hand, this Red Headed Woodpecker nearby was much more cooperative! A treat to see these two uncommon woodpecker species just a few trees apart.
99. Pileated Woodpecker
Red Headed Woodpecker:
100. Northern Shoveler