On Sunday morning we had the extreme pleasure to join experienced birder Jim Solum for the Early Spring Migrants program by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. To our surprise, we were the only participants, which meant that we had a private birding guide for the morning – awesome!
We met Jim at Spring Bluff Forest Preserve where we walked down a closed service road to look for birds. Right away we saw Northern Shoveler and Blue-winged Teal in the water through Jim’s scope. Soon an Eastern Meadowlark landed in a nearby tree for great looks. Song Sparrows were back and everywhere. During our walk (also by the lake at North Point Marina) we had Common Snipe, Wood Ducks, Northern Pintail and several Sandhill Cranes flying over.
Since we’re new to the area (sort of – I wasn’t really birding much before I moved to Holland) it was great to be able to ask Jim some basic questions – like when certain migrants can be expected to return, where we can see birds like Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and do Common Loons breed here (because they’re being reported everywhere! They are just passing through on their way to more northerly breeding grounds).
After the walk, we left Jim and had a short walk around the marina and then on a trail in another part of Spring Bluff. Besides lots of Song Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbirds, we saw Bufflehead and one Horned Grebe. Not nearly as many birds as we saw with our guide! 😉
We also saw this a cute black squirrel. We don’t see them too often so it was a treat.