Chicago Northerly Island

Northerly island with Soldier Field and Chicago in the background.
Slight change of plan today as I was expecting to spend the whole of the day in Chicago with Heather but she had to work this morning. that was my cue to try birding a new area for me and one that was closer to where I'm staying - Northerly Island. Formerly a small airport built on infill into the lake, this has been transformed into a park with jogging/cycling tracks and prairie type vegetation. Sticking out into Lake Michigan just south of the city and the museum area, it clearly attracts migrants, especially Sparrows.

It was an eventful three hours as there was plenty of long grass for birds to disappear into but nevertheless, I saw over 40 species. My first tramp through some taller grasses produced Savannah and Swamp Sparrows as well as an obliging Nelson's. Palm Warblers were everywhere again and the avifauna was enlivened by the presence of Coopers Hawk, Peregreine, Black-billed Cuckoo and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I flushed a Meadowlark (Eastern or Western???) and three Sora Rails as I walked down the paths bordering the grasses. More sparrows, including many unidentified, appeared - Chipping, White-throated, Song and Clay-coloured. two Golden-crowned Kinglets called like Goldcrests in some small pines at the south end which was hopping with birds - mainly American Goldfinches but a few other bits and pieces such as Brown Thrasher, Yellow-rumped, Nashville, Black-throated Green and Tenessee Warblers. A pair of Wood Duck were on the lake and four American Coots in the marina to boot! Think I may be coming back here tomorrow before the homecoming breakfast.

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