the Rookie Birder

I have watched birds all my life, but after reading "The Big Year," "Grail Bird" and especially Kenn Kaufman's "Kingbird Highway," plus Santa's timely stocking stuffer of "Sibley's 2003 Eastern & Western Field Guides," I made the decision to become a rookie birder beginning January 1st, 2006.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year

Humboldt Park on Chicago's west side
1400 North Sacramento Avenue

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006, 915am

I had to take Lynne to work today so I could use our car to meet a client this afternoon. After dropping her off I thought I would swing by Humboldt Park on the way home and check out the cattail marsh and lagoon area there to see what was new since my last stop there February 5th.

The marsh area
was completely quiet. Nothing but an American Crow in the distance, a few European Starlings high in the trees and a few Rock Doves close to the park district building. Right before I walked under Humboldt Avenue using the pedestrian underpass to view the lagoon, I found one lone White-throated Sparrow on the north end of the marsh.

At the lagoon, like my last visit, there were plenty of Canada Geese, Mallard Ducks and a few Domestic Ducks on the lagoon. I also found a group of American Tree Sparrows in the high br
ush on the west side of the lagoon near the small lagoon island, but then I heard a very familiar sound, early I thought for the spring, the unmistakable song of a RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (photo Alejandro Tabini). I spotted two, and heard at least 2 others. I was able to walk up close to one male singing in a tree on the east side of the lagoon pavilion on the south of the lagoon. Spring is coming, and I would imagine soon there will be many other early migrants coming through Chicago. For today, I had my 80th bird of the year, #38 for Chicago, the:



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