Seventeen observers attended this joint Chicago Ornithological Society/Evanston North Shore Bird Club sponsored field trip to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant in southeast Chicago on Sunday morning (19 August 2012). An absolutely gorgeous day for a field trip. Shorebirds were rather cooperative as well - we counted over 300 individual shorebirds of ten species (the vast majority of shorebirds were in Lagoon 17, which was the very last lagoon we visited).

Shorebird highlights included 3 BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS in Lagoon 17 and 1 WILSON"S SNIPE in Lagoon 3. The most numerous shorebird species was LEAST SANDPIPER (~135), followed by PECTORAL SANDPIPER (~80). We counted at least 20 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, which is a decent total for that species. There were several non-shorebird highlights as well. Two OSPREYS were seen flying over the plant, and a total of ten GREEN-WINGED TEAL were seen at various lagoons. Andrew Aldrich pointed out a very pale adult Red-tailed Hawk with a largely white head and patchy white on its upper parts, but an entirely red tail. This bird was possibly a Krider"s/Eastern intergrade, or a leucistic/partial albino Eastern Red-tailed Hawk. This bird appeared to be the same individual that was reported at Calumet by Fran Morel one week earlier. Two SORAS were in Lagoon 3, and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH was in Lagoon 15. After Calumet WRP, eleven of us stopped at the south end of Deadstick Pond, where we added two more shorebird species (2 juv. SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and 1 juv. STILT SANDPIPER), bringing our total to twelve shorebird species for the day. Our trip results (Calumet Water Reclamation Plant only) are listed below. By my count, we found a total of 43 bird species at the plant.

Once again, a big thanks goes to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for graciously allowing our groups access to the plant.

- post contributed by Walter Marcisz

Calumet Water Reclamation Plant (Chicago), Cook, US-IL Aug 19, 2012 7:10 AM - 10:45 AM

43 species
Canada Goose6

Wood Duck3


Blue-winged Teal1

Green-winged Teal (American)  10

Double-crested Cormorant28     (27 flyovers)

Great Blue Heron2     (flyovers)

Great Egret2     (flyovers)

Green Heron1

Turkey Vulture1


Red-tailed Hawk3     (Total includes 1 very pale adult with largely white head & patchy white on upperparts, but an entirely red tail. Possibly an Eastern/Krider"s intergrade, or a leucistic/partial albino Eastern Red-tailed Hawk.)


Semipalmated Plover20


Spotted Sandpiper9

Solitary Sandpiper8

Lesser Yellowlegs17

Semipalmated Sandpiper34

Least Sandpiper135

Baird"s Sandpiper3     (3 juveniles)

Pectoral Sandpiper80

Wilson"s Snipe1

Ring-billed Gull90

Herring Gull (American)  1

Rock Pigeon2     (flyovers)

Mourning Dove2

Chimney Swift25

Downy Woodpecker2

American Kestrel1

American Crow1

Barn Swallow43

American Robin7

Gray Catbird2

European Starling80

Cedar Waxwing13

Northern Waterthrush1

Song Sparrow4

Northern Cardinal1

Indigo Bunting1

Red-winged Blackbird175     (estimate)

Common Grackle2

American Goldfinch17