A South American flycatcher’s Earth Day in Chicago

Elaenia Species

This little bird has attracted a lot of attention in Chicago recently. It’s about 7,000 miles away from home. It’s part of the Elaenia genus, that much we know. Elaenias are flycatchers from South America; or at least this one is most likely from that far away. There has been a lot of discussion as far as trying to determine which Elaenia it is. The bird has likely been observed by over 100 people, maybe it’s more like 200 by now, as people are flying in from out of state. I don’t make a habit of chasing birds, but I live maybe 20 minutes away from the park where it is being seen.

I contacted my friend Lesa (by now we felt like the only two birders on the planet that had not gone to see the Elaenia, with work, other commitments and the need to get a good night’s sleep getting in the way) and we went to Douglas Park on the west side of Chicago to look for the bird and see some other, more expected migrants.

Hermit Thrush

I got pictures of some of the more predictable species. There were several Hermit Thrushes. There was a Swainson’s Thrush right at the beginning of our walk but I did not manage to capture him.

another Hermit Thrush

Pied-Billed Grebe

There’s a water feature which had some Blue-Winged Teal, this Pied-Billed Grebe and several species of swallow. I managed to get on a Northern Rough-Winged Swallow.

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

The Elaenia was likely catching some of the same bugs with several Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, so it was perhaps inevitable I would manage to get a picture of one of them.

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

After walking around the perimeter of Douglas Park, trying to stay warm on a chilly if sunny day, we went to Columbus Park, another beautiful park on the west side of Chicago, and here is where my memory blurs on what birds we saw where. I think I got most of the next photographs here.

Palm Warbler

Palm Warblers are in town. I usually see them on the ground foraging, pumping their tails as they poke around, but this one was in the trees until he flew.

Palm Warbler

At one point we came upon a convention of Chipping Sparrows, there must have been at least 20 of them. But I couldn’t get close enough to take a group shot of such small birds so you’ll have to settle for one of many.

Chipping Sparrow

Predictably, Yellow-Rumped Warblers were out in force. Even one showing his yellow rump.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

and another

Y _ _ l _ w-Rumped Warbler

Making it easy for you.

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