Neal Miller, Fran R. Morel, Peter A. Moxon, Don D. Mullison, Luis G. Muñoz, Ben Murphy, Landon Neumann, Chris Newman, Joan I. Norek, Isoo O’Brien, Sidney Oliveira, Randy J. Pals, JoSepth Phipps, Christine Ransdell, Kevin B. Richmond, Aidan Rominger, Jeremy Ross, Jeffrey R. Sanders, Ryan J. Sanderson, Beau J. Schaefer, Will Schaust, Peter E. Scott, Adam W. Sell, Leland Shaum, Robert E. Shelby, Mark S. Sieffert, Andrew P. Sigler, Scott Simpson, John Skene (JSk), Jeff A. Smith, Gary Soper, Evan Speck, Vicky Sroczynski, Jack Stenger (JSt), Lee W. Sterrenburg, Andy O. Stewart, Eric Stockton (ESt), Alan F. Stokie, Douglas F. Stotz, Vaughn Suhling (VSg), Janice Sweet, Paul W. Sweet, Paul Switzer, Susan Szeszol (SSz), Aerin Tedesco, David Thomas, Jeffrey Timmons, Michael A. Topp, Sheryl M. Vance, Lynn H. Vernon, Laurie Voss, Eric W. Walters, David Ward, David Weth (DWh), Jo Whitmore, Vern Wilkins, David E. Willard, Barbara C. Williams, Dan T. Williams, Geoffrey A. Williamson, Miles R. Zevin. Many others submitted observations but could not be personally acknowledged; all have our thanks for their contributions.
Cane Ridge (Cane Ridge W. M. A., Gibson, IN); Carlyle (Carlyle Lake, Clinton, Bond and Fayette, IL); Chau (Chautauqua N. W. R., Mason, IL); Dixon (Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Putnam, IL [formerly Hennepin-Hopper Lake]); Eagle Cr. (Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, IN); Emiquon (Emiquon N. W. R. and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Fulton, IL); F. W. A. (Fish and Wildlife Area); Goose Pond (Goose Pond F. W. A., Greene, IN); Illinois Beach (Illinois Beach S. P., Lake, IL); Mich. City (Michigan City Harbor, LaPorte, IN); Miller (Miller Beach, Lake, IN); Prairie Ridge (Prairie Ridge S. N. A., Jasper and Marion, IL).
Waterfowl through Grebes
Three Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were discovered 17 Aug at Montrose (RDH, ph. JWL), and two days later, the IN lakefront’s second record of the species was furnished by two fly-bys at Miller (MAT). Ross’s and Cackling Geese were reported in lower-than-average numbers. A juvenile Brant at Lake George in nw. Lake 15 Sept (AWB) that lingered through 19 Sept (JSk) provided IN’s earliest fall record; another was at Chicago’s Northerly Island and Grant Park 11–29 Nov (ph. SJH, ph. MMC, CG, m. ob.). Generally scarce this fall, the 69 Tundra Swans at Illinois Beach 19 Nov (PWS, JS, JL) constituted a notably high count. Dabbling ducks were reported in good numbers, exemplified by 4,000 Blue-winged Teal at Chau 28 Aug (KAM), 7,500 Gadwall at Emiquon 4 Nov (CD), 1,075 American Wigeon at Dixon 24 Oct (DFS), 10,000 Northern Pintail at Chau 22 Oct (CD), and an IN record count (via a DNR survey) of 2,106 Green-winged Teal 10 Nov at Goose Pond. Among diving ducks, the tally of 900 Redhead at Illinois Beach 18 Nov (EWW) was noteworthy. The adult male Ring-necked Duck that summered at Cane Ridge, Gibson, IN was still present 27 Aug (ES), providing an early fall record, and there was an early Greater Scaup at Rainbow Beach, Cook, IL 23 Sept (DFS). Single Harlequin Ducks were at Evanston, Cook, IL 1 Oct (IO) and at Waukegan, Lake, IL 7 Oct –16 Nov (ph. NC, m. ob.), and the 3 that flew past Miller 13 Oct (LN) represented IN’s earliest fall record. Surf Scoters were reported in good numbers: The 31 at Miller 13 Oct (LN) constituted the high count; single birds away from Lake Michigan were at O’Fallon W. T. P., St. Clair, IL 30 Oct and 5 Nov (KAM), and at E. Fork Lake, Richland, IL 9 Nov (CLH). White-winged Scoters were less common than usual, though the 17 at Rosewood Park Beach, Lake, IL 11 Nov (BJS) were notable. In the southern tier, single White-wings were reported at Hickory Ridge Nature Preserve, Douglas, IL 4 Nov (RoB, TDF), at E. Fork Lake, Richland, IL 19 Nov (CLH), and at Buffalo Trace Park 27 Nov (CR), providing a first for Harrison, IN. At Miller, a female-plumaged Black Scoter 3 Sept (KJB, JKC, RJP, LHV et al.) was IN’s earliest fall bird by 26 days, and 106 there 20 Oct (DG, JCK, BH) furnished IN’s fourth largest count ever. Five Long-tailed Ducks were at Illinois Beach 25 Nov (RDH) and singles away from Lake Michigan were at Peoria Lake, Tazewell, IL 9 Nov (DH, TH), at Lake Lemon, Monroe, IN 21 Nov (GL), at Celery Bog, Tippecanoe, IN 24 Nov (JF et al.), and at West Boggs Lake, Martin, IN 29 Nov (AK et al.). An early Common Merganser was at North Point Marina, Lake, IL 1 Oct (AFS, RNE), and the 7,000 Red-breasted Mergansers at Rosewood Park Beach, Lake, IL 11 Nov (BJS) were impressive.
Surveys of Greater Prairie-Chickens at Prairie Ridge yielded counts of 23 on 17 Nov (CLH) and 11 on 25 Nov (RES). An impressive 500 Pied-billed Grebes were tallied at Emiquon 6 Nov (AG, KAM). The 4 Red-necked Grebes at Eagle Cr. 13 Nov (LV, SE) tied the high fall count for IN. Single Eared Grebes were in Charleston, Coles, IL 24 Sept (RoB) and at Lake Springfield, Sangamon, IL 28 Sept (HDB). Western Grebes made appearances at Illinois Beach 6–8 Nov (MMC, OB, BB, AT, m. ob.) and at Moline, Rock Island, IL 6–18 Nov (JW, SF, m. ob.).
Doves through Terns
The count of 70 Eurasian Collared-Doves at Graham Grain in Terre Haute 26 Nov (PES) was the second highest ever for IN. A Common Ground-Dove in Springfield 23 Oct represented the third record for Sangamon, IL (ph. HDB). Single White-winged Doves were in River Grove, Cook, IL 8 Aug (ph. SSz), in Lake, IL 16 Aug (AWS), in Guion, Parke, IN 31 Aug (ESt) through 5 Sept (AK, m. ob.), and at Montrose 10 Nov (LGM, ph. MMC, m. ob.).
The peak tally of 745 Common Nighthawks, which occurred in Lake Villa, Lake, IL 9 Sept (RAB), was less than a fourth of the average high count in IL over the last ten years. An anonymous observer photographed an adult male Rufous Hummingbird in Marshall, IN 17 Aug (fide DG), and one was in a DuPage, IL backyard 4–22 Oct (REF, KDF, ph. UWG, m. ob.).
Seven Yellow Rails were reported, including 3 from Prairie Ridge (fide SS). Large numbers of American Coots graced the Illinois River valley, with an estimated 23,350 at Dixon 24 Oct (DFS). Whooping Cranes were reported from several locations in both IL and IN through the end of the period, providing further evidence of their short-stopping migration strategy.
An excellent post-breeding tally of 157 Black-necked Stilts was made at Chau 5 Aug (DRD), while in IN, the total of 6 reported was the lowest since 2004. American Avocets passed through in good numbers, exemplified by 35 at Carlyle 14 Aug (DMK) and 26 at Evergreen Lake, McLean, 1 Nov (BM, JP); a tardy bird was at Crab Orchard N. W. R., Williamson, IL 14 Nov (JG, DDM). Four Semipalmated Plovers at Emiquon 15 Nov were also late (SDB). Of 4 Piping Plovers reported in Indiana, all at Miller in August, 3 were banded juveniles that hatched on Manitou Islands of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI. A late Piping Plover was at Carlyle 22 Sept (CLH). The shorebird of the season was the Region’s first Common Ringed Plover seen near Herscher, Iroquois, IL 13–14 Sept (ph. GS, m. ob.). Only 5 Whimbrel were reported for the season. At Chau, an amazing count of 79 Hudsonian Godwits was made 19 Aug (CD, AGt), while 16 Marbled Godwits were there 5 Sept (DK). Two Ruffs in IL included one rotating between Emiquon and Chau 4–10 Jul (DK, KBR, ph. CL, m. ob.) and another, a Reeve, present at the El Paso S. T. P., Woodford, 16 Jul (ph. TH, DHo, m. ob.). A single Purple Sandpiper, furnishing the first fall record for IL since 2011, was noted at Waukegan, Lake, 18–22 Nov (ph, DBJ, AOS, PWS, m. ob.).
The 20 Baird’s Sandpipers at Chau 26 Aug represented a notably high count (KAM). Eight White-rumped Sandpipers at Emiquon 4 Nov (CD) were rather late. A maximum count of 29 Buff-breasted Sandpipers at Schlapp Rd. sod farms, Kendall, IL 28 Aug was higher than expected (VS et al.). More than 7,000 Pectoral Sandpipers were tallied at Chau 12 Aug (AGt). At Carlyle, a single Western Sandpiper 15 Oct (DMK) and one Short-billed Dowitcher 4 Nov (ph. CLH) were late. The 153 Long-billed Dowitchers tallied at Goose Pond 19 Oct (AK, DG) nearly quadrupled IN’s previous high count. A single Long-billed Dowitcher at Goose Pond 28 Nov (BF) was the third latest for IN. A Spotted Sandpiper at the Woodburn S.T.P., Allen 28 Oct (JJM) provided the second latest record for the northern tier of IN. A single Willet 3 Jul along Schoolhouse Rd., Madison, IL was presumably an early southbound migrant (FRH). Phalaropes passed through in decent numbers, especially at Chau, with a maximum count of 25 Wilson’s there 27 Aug (CG) and 21 Red-necks 5 Sept (CD). For the first time in 20 years, Wilson’s Phalarope was not reported in IN for the fall. Single Red Phalaropes were present at Miller 20 Oct (MAT) and at Chau 6 Aug-2 Sept (KAM, CD, TH, ph. GAW, m. ob.).
With respect to jaeger watches on Lake Michigan, the last day of August was memorable, as it yielded the first double-digit tally (15) of jaegers in IN for August—10 at Miller (JJM et al.) and 5 at Mich. City (JJM). Very unusual was a flock of 11 light-morph adult Parasitic Jaegers at Miller 20 Oct (DG, JCK, BH), as immatures are far more common. A single adult Long-tailed Jaeger was seen flying with a juvenile Parasitic at Miller 31 Aug (JJM, JKC et al.). Four juvenile Black-legged Kittiwakes were reported along the Lake Michigan lakefront, 2 in IL and 2 in IN. Sabine’s Gulls were more widespread than usual, with 3 juveniles at Lake Springfield, Sangamon, IL 29 Sept–7 Oct (HDB) and 2 juveniles at Chau 20–23 Sept (KBR, AGt, m. ob.). Two juvenile Sabine’s Gulls at inland sites in IN represented the first inland records in six years: one was at Lake Monroe, Monroe 12–14 Sept (AK, m. ob.) and the second was at Prairie Creek Reservoir, Delaware 20–24 Oct (GM, BD). Five Little Gulls were reported throughout the region. Four California Gulls were reported from IL, and an adult at Mich. City 31 Aug (BJG, m. ob.) provided IN’s first August record. Perhaps this same individual was at the same site 24 Oct (RJS, MB, EM et al.) and again 20 Nov (AAA). Excellent tern numbers included 135 Blacks at Chau 19 Aug (CD) and 210 Forster’s at Carlyle 24–25 Sept (DMK). Two Black Terns at Sand Pit Lake, Jackson 22 Oct (TB) provided IN’s third latest record.
Loons through Owls
The high count of Red-throated Loons was 46 at Miller 11 Nov (KJB et al.); the 5 at Lake Springfield, Sangamon, IL 5 Nov (HDB) were noteworthy for an inland location. Four Pacific Loons were recorded in IN, all at Miller, one on 30 Aug (LN) furnishing IN’s first August record. Common Loon numbers were below average (fifth consecutive year in IN), though with significant counts on 11 Nov of 337 at Miller (KJB et al.) and 77 at Gillson Park, Cook, IL (AFS, JRS, JC).
The lingering Neotropic Cormorant at Park Number 566, Cook, IL was noted 9–27 Sept (ph. ASA, SL, JWL, m. ob.). American White Pelicans had a huge presence in the region, with 30,000 at Carlyle 8 Oct (DMK) and IN’s second highest count ever (950) at Goose Pond 19 Oct (VW). A late American Bittern at Eagle Cr. 27 Nov (GLC) apparently succumbed later that day (DG, AR). At Lake Gibson, Gibson, 45 Great Egrets were seen 5 Nov (HH), the highest November total ever for IN. A Snowy Egret at Evergreen Lake, McLean, IL 18 Oct (BM, JP) was rather late. Following the poor showing in 2015, Little Blue Herons invaded south and central IN, the total recorded the highest since 1952. They were reported in 14 counties with first records established in Clinton, where 4 were tallied in the Frankfort Lagoons 21 Aug (NK, JT et al.), and in Scott. The maximum count was of 49 at Fairbanks Landing F. W. A., Sullivan 23 Aug (MRB). The 12 Cattle Egrets at Goose Pond 4 Nov (RB) represented IN’s largest daily count since 2010, and 6 lingered at Emiquon to 24 Nov (AFS, APS). A somewhat tardy Green Heron was at Willowhaven Nature Center, Kankakee, IL 20 Oct (JBH). Adult White Ibis were seen near Alma, Marion, IL 7 Sept (ph. RD) and at Goose Pond 10 Sept (BF), the latter IN’s first reported adult in nine years. A juvenile White Ibis was at Eagle Slough, Vanderbugh, IN 8–11 Oct (CN, m. ob.). A solo White-faced Ibis was at Carlyle 24 Sept (ph. DMK) and at least one of the two Plegadis ibis present at Goose Pond 28 Oct was determined to be a White-faced (DG), constituting IN’s second latest fall record. An unidentified Plegadis lingered at Goose Pond to 29 Nov (LWS). At Silver Creek wetlands, St. Clair, IL, a Roseate Spoonbill was reported 22 Sept (ph. SO).
At least two Swallow-tailed Kites provided first records for Pike, IN: one was found s. of Petersburg 13 Aug (LH, ph. ES) and a second was in north-central Pike 20 Aug (SDB). The first bird drifted west into Warrick 21 Aug (G&LB) and was last seen 25 Aug (JR). Another Swallow-tailed Kite was found near Savoy, Champaign, IL 22 Aug (THd). A Northern Goshawk at Greene Valley Hawk Watch, DuPage, IL 8 Oct (JAS, VS, JIN) was a tad early. An excellent tally of 22 Mississippi Kites at East Cape Girardeau, Alexander, IL 5 Aug (LB) was indicative of a successful nesting season in the area. Nine Mississippi Kites were seen in the vicinity of the Petersburg, IN Swallow-tailed Kite 23 Aug (AK). An extralimital Mississippi Kite in W. Lafayette, IN 17 Aug (EMH) was joined by a second adult and a juvenile 24 Aug (CC), suggesting possible nesting. The 41 Broad-winged Hawks observed in Lawrence on the early date of 19 Aug (AK) constituted IN’s largest August count. The high fall count of Broad-wings, IN’s fourth largest ever, consisted of 594 in Fort Wayne 25 Sept (DW, MD).
The season’s first Snowy Owl was at Waukegan, Lake, IL 16–25 Nov (ph. RDH, m. ob.), while IN’s lone bird appeared n. of Hartford City, Blackford 26 Nov (SMV). The first Long-eared Owl of the season appeared at Burnham Park, Cook, IL 23 Nov (MMC, JC, CG).
Falcons through Longspurs
Merlins continued to increase in the region, with reports from 74 counties. A Prairie Falcon in O’Fallon, St. Clair, IL 7 Aug (KAM) was a nice surprise, while two appeared at the “Magic Stump,” Coles, IL 28 Oct (v. t. TDF), and a single was at Mt. Erie Bottoms, Wayne, IL 12 Nov (RES).
A Western Kingbird at Three Oaks R. A., McHenry, IL 3–4 Oct (JA, m. ob.) was unexpected. IN’s latest fall record of Western Kingbird was furnished by a bird at Universal Mine, Vermillion 20 Nov (PS, AR et al.). Carlyle hosted its second-ever Gray Kingbird 5 Nov (ph. DMK, ph. KAM, MSS), providing IL’s third state record. A record season in IN for Olive-sided Flycatcher yielded 41 birds, 11 higher than the previous best total. Yellow-bellied Flycatchers were also seen in record numbers in IN with 72 tallied, including one at Hammond Sanctuary, Lake 14 Oct (LS, HK, NM), the latest for the Indiana Lake Michigan lakefront and third latest for the state. A Say’s Phoebe at Scenic Bluff Rd., Carroll, IL 9 Nov (ph. EB, CBn) was unfortunately a one-day wonder, as was a Vermilion Flycatcher at Goose Lake Prairie S. N. A., Grundy, IL 6 Nov (ph. TBa, CCn).
Loggerhead Shrikes continue to decline; they were reported from only seven IL counties and three IN counties. On the flip side, Northern Shrikes were reported from 20 IL and 5 IN counties. A high reported total of White-eyed Vireos was capped by a tally of 29 at Harmonie S.P., Posey 11 Sept (JM), IN’s third largest fall count. For the late date of 6 Oct, 4 Warbling Vireos near Lawrenceburg, Dearborn, IN (JSt) represented an unusually high number. Even later was a singing Warbling Vireo at Scales Lake Park, Warrick, 1 Nov (JM) that furnished IN’s first November and latest ever record. Incredible numbers of Tree Swallows gathered at Carlyle—an estimated 40,000 were noted 1–2 Oct (DMK). A report of 1,000 Bank Swallows at Chau 23 Aug (DK, ASA) was noteworthy. At Tern Bar Slough, Gibson, a Cliff Swallow seen 23 Oct (DC) provided IN’s second-latest record. Two Cave Swallows at Mich. City 18 Nov (JJM) tied the late date for and represented the ninth record for IN. The following day, a single Cave Swallow was at Waukegan, Lake, IL (SJH, ph. CG).
Lingering wrens included a House Wren at Gaskin Lake, Clay, IL 30 Nov+ (CLH), a Sedge Wren at Prairie Ridge 25 Nov (RES, CLH), and 3 Marsh Wrens at Bailey Wetlands, Wayne, IL 29 Nov (CLH). An unusually high number (29) of Carolina Wrens was logged at Hamonie S.P., Posey, IN 2 Oct (JM). At Eagle Cr., a male Golden-crowned Kinglet 14 Aug (WS, DLM) provided the first August record for Indiana outside of Pigeon River F. W. A., where the species is known to nest. An early Townsend’s Solitaire was found at Ogden Dunes, Porter, IN 30 Oct (NK, LN). Other solo solitaires were reported at Sag Quarries, Cook, IL 6–7 Nov (M&TD); at Spring Mill S. P., Lawrence 11–26 Nov (JSC, AK et al.) that furnished IN’s fifth record away from the Lake Michigan lakefront, and the first in 12 years; near Stockton, Jo Daviess, IL 20 Nov (ph. JJ); and at Rock Cut S. P., Winnebago, IL 25 Nov+ (RF, DTW, ph. BCW). Strong flights of Cedar Waxwings were noted, punctuated by the 4,195 at Fort Sheridan Hawk Watch, Lake, IL 15 Aug (AWS). On 22 Aug, an American Pipit at Wakarusa Wastewater Treatment Facility, Elkhart (BG) was IN’s third earliest ever for the fall.
IN’s first fall Pine Grosbeak since 1997 was logged at Ogden Dunes, Porter 22 Nov (JCK). A high count of 25 Purple Finches was made at Carlyle 30 Oct (ph. DMK). Small numbers of redpolls and siskins were noted, and only 2 Red Crossbills were reported, both in IN. A maximum count of 1,200 Lapland Longspurs was made at Carlyle 19–23 Nov (DMK).
Sparrows through Buntings
A Vesper Sparrow in Cass, IL 29 Nov (VSg) was tardy, as was a Grasshopper Sparrow at Viking Mine, Daviess, 29 Nov (AK, ph. GL) that provided IN’s third-latest record. Excellent sparrow numbers included an incredible 30 LeConte’s at Mauvaise Terre Lake Dredging Ponds, Morgan, IL 8 Oct (CD), 25 Nelson’s at Montrose 27 Sept (RDH, FRM), and 21 Lincoln’s at Park Number 566, Cook, IL 27 Sept (CG). Three single Harris’s Sparrows were reported from Illinois: at Afton Forest Preserve, DeKalb 27-30 Oct (DCn, PAM, UWG, m. ob.), at Lyman Woods Forest Preserve, Lake 9 Nov (PC), and at Burnham Prairie N.A., Cook 10 Nov (CG).
Single adult male Yellow-headed Blackbirds were noted at the 129th St. wetland, Hammond, Lake, IN 10 Sept (CAM), at Comlara Park, McLean, IL 23 Oct (DWh), and in Montgomery, Daviess, IN 2 Nov (AK, GL), while 2 were in Mason, IL 12 Nov (CD). An IN high count of 300 Bobolinks was made at Goose Pond 26 Sept (J&SH, OC). An Orchard Oriole at Geneva Park District, Kane, IL 7 Oct (MM) was tardy. The 151 Brewer’s Blackbirds tallied in St. JoSepth 16 Sept (EM) constituted IN’s highest count since 1998; 2 found in Daviess, IN 2 Nov (AK, GL) provided a first county record.
A lingering Ovenbird was on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, Cook, IL 9 Nov (GAW). Northern Waterthrushes were reported in very low numbers in IN. A Golden-winged Warbler at Hayswood Nature Reserve, Harrison 11 Oct (CR) was IN’s fourth-latest ever. An excellent tally of 160 Tennessee Warblers was made at Carlyle 8 Oct (DMK), and a rather tardy Tennessee was at Watershed Nature Center, Madison, IL 7 Nov (DL). IN’s earliest-ever Nashville Warbler was well described at Elkhart Campground, Elkhart 6 Aug (DD). The 80 American Redstarts at Carlyle 17 Sept (DMK) were noteworthy, as were the 55 Magnolia Warblers at Busey Woods, Champaign, IL 26 Sept (DT). An unprecedented 16 Palm Warblers at 13 IN locations were recorded in November; the 6 at Cane Ridge on 6 Nov (DC) constituting IN’s highest-ever November count. A Yellow Palm Warbler (ssp. hypochrysea), IL’s 5th record for this subspecies, was at McCormick Building in Chicago 8 Nov (DEW, ph. MH). On 16 Nov, IN’s third-latest fall Yellow-throated Warbler was photographed in Mooresville, Morgan (CB), and the third-latest Prairie Warbler in IN was photographed on Tow Path Rd., Warrick 13 Oct (JM). Single late Wilson’s Warblers were at Eagle Cr. 6 Nov (MRZ) (IN’s fifth-latest) and at Izaak Walton Preserve, Cook, IL 7 Nov (PL).
A Summer Tanager at Dixon 5 Nov (TH, DH, m.ob.) was tardy, as were single Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in Peoria, IL 16 Nov (DRH) and at a feeder in Tippecanoe, IN 22–28 Nov (DZA). Single Blue Grosbeaks at Somerville Mine, Gibson 11 Oct (ph. JM) and at Goose Pond 19 Oct (VW) provided IN’s third and second latest records, respectively. A Painted Bunting from the E. St. Louis, St. Clair, IL nesting location was last reported 4 Aug (VSg). A Dickcissel in Cook, IL 18 Nov (DFS) was late.
Report processed by Amy Davis, 12 Oct 2020.