In part one of three we discuss the morning highlights of the 2008 Spring Bird Count which took place May 10th in the entire state of Illinois.
We began the long day of birding by getting up at 0400 and were at our first stop at around 0530. Last year we began here earlier but with plans of a late night, we decided the extra sleep was a good thing. Our goal was to see what was about at Nygren Wetlands, a property belonging to the Natural Land Institute, a local organization that does wonderful things for conservation.
We had a wonderful mix of birds at Nygren, our first of the day being a Common Yellowthroat. By the time we had left, we had seen or heard nearly 40 species including a few that were only seen there.
Our next stop was a road with a mix of flooded farm fields and mud flats. We were looking for American White Pelicans (no luck) and intended for a quick stop which turned into over an hour of some really interesting finds.
Best finds along this road were an American Pipit, Pectoral Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Sandhill Cranes (pair), and a group of Bobolinks!
The biggest highlight though was a flock of 12 Cattle Egrets, a first for us in our county and a pretty unusual find (and something we were unsure about until we found out another group had the same flock!).
We eventually pulled ourselves away from this area and made it to our next stop, Sugar River Forest Preserve. We had high hopes of a lot of warblers but with numerous flooded trails, we were not so lucky. We were able to add Golden-winged, Yellow-throated, Chestnut-sided, and Cerulean Warblers to our list, so it was still successful.