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Birding Equipment / looking to buy scope - suggestions?
«  birding faun February 09, 2016, 04:30:38 PM »

i'm ready to invest in my first scope/tripod set up... i'm not terribly big and burly, so a lightweight set up would be best...

any suggestions for a first time buyer?

any info is appreciated... :)


Identification / Swan Help
«  Fran Morel January 26, 2016, 01:45:30 PM »

I have already discussed this with you previously, but for the record the three birds in your photo are clearly Tundra Swans, based on head shape, bill size/shape/ and pinched lores/separated eye. I have been looking at Trumpeter Swans all winter - the birds in your photo do not look like Trumpeter Swans at all.

Walter Marcisz
Chicago, Cook Co.

I agree
Identification / Swan Help
«  Walter Marcisz January 26, 2016, 08:09:19 AM »

I have already discussed this with you previously, but for the record the three birds in your photo are clearly Tundra Swans, based on head shape, bill size/shape/ and pinched lores/separated eye. I have been looking at Trumpeter Swans all winter - the birds in your photo do not look like Trumpeter Swans at all.

Walter Marcisz
Chicago, Cook Co.
Identification / Swan Help
«  Bstehl January 23, 2016, 04:46:26 PM »
I am no expert on swans, but judging by the "U" shape at base of bill and the ability to distinguish the eyes from the black of the bill....i would say Tundra.
Identification / Swan Help
«  Evan Carlson January 23, 2016, 04:20:27 PM »
The other day I saw 12 swans out on the ice on Peoria Lake and called them Trumpeter Swans because I thought the immature birds were darker than what I thought an immature Tundra would be in mid-January. But I guess I got that field mark backwards? An immature swan with a lot of white rules out a Trumpeter, but an immature swan with little or no white does not rule out a Tundra?

Anyway, today there were three swans remaining, and they swam up close and let me get a look at what I think are Tundra Swans. I want to post some pictures here and make sure I'm doing swans right before I spend the rest of my life misidentifying them.

20160123_162806 by Evan Carlson, on Flickr

20160123_162923 by Evan Carlson, on Flickr

20160123_162927 by Evan Carlson, on Flickr
Identification / Any opinions please.....hawk i.d.
«  Bstehl January 22, 2016, 04:31:01 PM »
Have a friend who needs some help with this hawk. I don't want to influence so I will not comment any further. Any help or comment is appreciated.
Thanks to everyone for the good comments and great i.d. pointers!!!
I joined Pat Durkin and the regulars for the Jackson Park Audubon bird walk yesterday, checking Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow and the outer harbor area.  Later a few of us headed down to Wolf Lake.
The Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow area was slow but we saw my FOY WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH near the Darrow Bridge at the end of our tour.  Earlier we had a HAIRY WOODPECKER in this area.  Heading towards the harbor we noted that the inner harbor was frozen with just a bit of open water at the Lake Shore Dr. bridge with a lone Herring Gull sitting on the ice.  In the outer harbor were male and female CANVASBACKS and some REDHEADS but the most interesting bird was an apparent MALLARD X GADWALL hybrid.  I've attached two photos of it.  While I was counting birds someone noticed 3 swans flying south in formation with some Canada Geese.  I couldn't get my scope on them in time to tell if they were Mute Swans or Tundra/Trumpeter Swans.  I still need the latter two for my Jackson Park life list.  An adult RED-TAILED HAWK was circling high above the harbor, with a 2 crow escort, of course. There were a few DARK-EYED JUNCOS feeding under a small tree within the marina fence.  As usual, I found no uncommon or rare gulls here.
After brunch in Whiting, Indiana we checked the Whiting Refinery Beach but there was virtually nothing there.  On to Wolf Lake.  When we first got there most of the non-Mute Swans were asleep.  Eventually, a few TRUMPETER SWANS raised there heads.  We found an immature swan that might be the Tundra.  It was asleep and, because of its position and that of the swans next to it, we couldn't be sure of its size.  Finally, something caused it and the swan next to it to stand up and it was obviously a smaller TUNDRA SWAN next to a bigger Trumpeter.  I counted 13 Trumpeters, 30 Mutes and 5 Trumpeter/Mute Swans that never raised their heads while I was looking.  Jennie S. and I checked the alders for Redpolls but found none.
Here's my full list with the following abbreviations, WI/BM=Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow, OH=outer harbor, LM=Lake Michigan east of La Rabida/outer harbor, WL=Wolf Lake:

Canada Goose: WI/BM (52), OH (575), WL (200)
Mute Swan: WL (30)
Trumpeter Swan: WL (13)
Tundra Swan: WL (1)
swan sp: OH (3), WL (5)
Mallard: OH (30), WL (3)
Mallard x Gadwall hybrid: OH (1)
Canvasback: OH (2), WL (10)
Redhead: OH (5), WL (7)
Greater/Lesser Scaup: WL (1)
Common Goldeneye: WI/BM (1), OH ( 8 ), OH (9)
Red-breasted Merganser: WI/BM (2), OH (6), LM (10)
Red-tailed Hawk: OH (1)
A. Coot: OH (1), WL (15)
Ring-billed Gull: WI/BM (1), OH (70), WL (1)
Herring Gull: OH (14, + 1 at IH), WL (1)
Downy Woodpecker: WI/BM (2)
Hairy Woodpecker: WI/BM (1)
A. Crow: WI/BM (2), OH (3), WL (6)
Black-capped Chickadee: WI/BM (5), OH (1)
White-breasted Nuthatch: WI/BM (1)
Dark-eyed Junco: OH (3)
N. Cardinal: WI/BM (2)
A. Goldfinch: WI/BM (4)
House Sparrow: OH (5)

Randy Shonkwiler
Hyde Park/Chicago

I checked the same three places along the south Chicago lakefront that I checked last weekend, namely Calumet Park, Steelworkers Park, and Rainbow Beach Park. I had slightly different results today. My highlights:

Cal Park

Bald Eagle - 1 adult
White-winged Scoter - 2 adult males close to shore near the Coast Guard station
Great Black-backed Gull - 1 adult offshore in Indiana waters

Steelworkers Park

Red-necked Grebe - The continuing bird, well inside the North Slip today
Great Black-backed Gull - 2 adults or near adults, probably in Indiana waters
Snowy Owl - 1 on the concrete wall at the mouth of Calumet Harbor

Rainbow Beach Park

Redhead - ~75
Lesser Scaup - ~75
Greater Scaup - ~20
Great Black-backed Gull - 1 adult

The Cal Park Snowy Owl is the first Snowy Owl I've seen along the Chicago lakefront this winter.

Robert D. Hughes
Chicago, Illinois
Identification / Re: Any opinions please.....hawk i.d.
«  Mike Baum January 16, 2016, 06:23:35 AM »
A lesser god certainly, Mr. Mountjoy.  I can't help myself... I really can't.
Identification / Re: Odd gull -- historical interest
«  Amar Ayyash January 15, 2016, 11:44:05 PM »
I'll echo Walter's comments. Looking at the second photo, you can see reasonable contrast between the black wingtip and the upperwing. Maybe a Dutch Intergrade (graellsii/intermedius) or even intermedius. Or, it could be the exposure in the images??

The primary pattern doesn't look unlike LBBG (mirror on p10, smaller mirror on p9). Head streaking is fine for Lesser, and the bright yellow bill with large red gonys spot is very reminiscent of Lesser Black-backed. The bill does look chunky, but not a deal breaker.

Here's a LBBG with a larger-than-average bill: http://www.gull-research.org/lbbgjanmay/j0k0.html

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