Tundra Swan - photo by Andrew Aldrich

Tundra Swan - photo by Andrew Aldrich

A group of 16 birders met at McGinnis Slough in the Palos Area this morning, Sunday, November 20th, to look for waterfowl and any other interesting birds that crossed our paths.  We were fortunate to have local expert Wes Serafin join us to navigate and give a bit of history about the different areas.  McGinnis was partially frozen this morning, but we still managed some decent flocks of waterfowl here.  Most notably the dozens of Bufflehead and Hooded Mergansers, Coots, and Pied-billed Grebes.  A couple Great Blue Herons were hunkered down among the cattails.  

 

Next we stopped at Saganashkee Slough, where good numbers of Ring-billed Gulls were actively feeding at the west end.  Not many ducks, but a small flock of Red-breasted Mergansers and great looks at a group of 8 Hooded Mergansers made the stop worthwhile.  We also saw 2 groups of migrating Sandhill Cranes overhead here.

 

At Little Red Schoolhouse, an adult Bald Eagle was perched across the pond allowing excellent scope views for everyone.  The feeders were very active as well with several White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and the expected mix of Sparrows and Finches.  A Red-breasted Nuthatch made a brief appearance, and a flyover Common Grackle was a late surprise.  We also saw our first Tufted Titmouse of the day here.  

 

Mallards, Shovelers and Green-Winged Teals in flight - photo by Andrew Aldrich

Mallards, Shovelers and Green-Winged Teals in flight - photo by Andrew Aldrich

Maple Lake did not have any loons or fancy ducks, but the passerine activity was fun with close looks at Titmouses, Blue Jays, Juncos and more.  We ended the trip at Sag Quarries, where a Tundra Swan has been present for the last few months.  It did not disappoint, and lifted its head long enough to see the diagnostic yellow lores.  This turned out to be the best stop for waterfowl as well, with over a dozen Northern Shovelers, a few Green-winged Teal and Gadwall, and a pair of Wood Ducks.  We also had a female Lesser Scaup, and a female Redhead was blending in among the Mallards.  

 

All in all it was a chilly morning with fewer ducks than we hoped, but a beautiful sunny day to be out nonetheless.  I hope some of the participants saw some new birds for the year, and got to explore some areas they may not have been too familiar with.  Complete checklist below, feel free to email me if you would like the eBird checklists shared with you!

Checklists included in this summary:


(1): McGinnis Slough--East/La Grange Rd
Date: Nov 20, 2016, 7:48 AM
(2): Saganashkee Slough
Date: Nov 20, 2016, 8:59 AM
(3): Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Date: Nov 20, 2016, 9:43 AM
(4): Maple Lake, Palos area
Date: Nov 20, 2016, 10:23 AM
(5): Sag Quarries
Date: Nov 20, 2016, 10:53 AM

104 Canada Goose -- (1),(2),(4),(5)
1 Tundra Swan -- (5)
2 Wood Duck -- (5)
4 Gadwall -- (5)
40 Mallard -- (1),(4),(5)
16 Northern Shoveler -- (5)
5 Green-winged Teal (American) -- (5)
1 Redhead -- (5)
1 Lesser Scaup -- (5)
45 Bufflehead -- (1)
75 Hooded Merganser -- (1),(2)
18 Red-breasted Merganser -- (1),(2)
13 duck sp. -- (1),(2)
11 Pied-billed Grebe -- (1),(2),(4)
1 Double-crested Cormorant -- (2)
2 Great Blue Heron (Blue form) -- (1)
1 Bald Eagle -- (3)
1 Red-tailed Hawk -- (3)
20 American Coot -- (1)
43 Sandhill Crane -- (2),(5)
143 Ring-billed Gull -- (1),(2),(3),(5)
7 Herring Gull -- (1),(4)
1 Mourning Dove -- (3)
5 Red-bellied Woodpecker -- (1),(3),(4)
5 Downy Woodpecker -- (1),(3),(4)
13 Blue Jay -- (1),(2),(3),(4)
12 Black-capped Chickadee -- (3),(4)
5 Tufted Titmouse -- (3),(4)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch -- (3)
7 White-breasted Nuthatch -- (3),(4)
8 American Robin -- (1),(3),(5)
14 American Tree Sparrow -- (1),(2),(3),(4),(5)
3 Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) -- (1),(4)
1 White-throated Sparrow -- (1)
7 Northern Cardinal -- (1),(2),(4),(5)
2 Red-winged Blackbird -- (2)
1 Common Grackle -- (3)
1 blackbird sp. -- (1)
6 House Finch -- (3)
7 American Goldfinch -- (1),(3)
30 House Sparrow -- (3)

Good birding!

- post contributed by Andrew Aldrich