Illinois & Indiana: Fall 2019

Fall 2019: 1 Aug–30 Nov

James Hengeveld

Keith A. McMullen

Geoffrey A. Williamson

Recommended citation:

Hengeveld, J., K.A. McMullen, and G.A. Williamson. 2021. Fall 2019: Illinois & Indiana. <> North American Birds.

The fall season continued as summer had ended—warm and dry. September was the 3rd–4th warmest on record. This all changed in October when precipitation was above normal and record-breaking heat early in the month was followed by record-breaking cold temperatures, with frosts and measurable snowfall in northern portions of the region by the end of the month. Particularly in Illinois, the list of rarities was impressive. Regional rarities including the following: Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Brant, King Eider, Pacific Loon, White-winged Dove, Limpkin, Ruff, Little Stint, Ancient Murrelet, Swallow-tailed Kite, Ferruginous Hawk, Cassin’s Kingbird, Say’s Phoebe, Townsend’s Solitaire, Kirtland’s Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, and Western Tanager.

Contributors (subregional editors in boldface)

Annie Aguirre, Andrew S. Aldrich, Jill S. Anderson (Illinois), Pat Anderson, Daniel J. Anzia, Benjamin & Leslie Atkins, Jeff Aufmann, Vinod Babu, Davis Balser, Tim Balassie, Margaret Bauer (MBr), Matt Beatty, Nathan Beccue, Tommy Becker, Stephen D. Bell, Andy Belt, Suzanne Bidgood, Jeff Bilsky, Richard A. Biss, Clay Bliznick, Howard Blum, H. David Bohlen, Kenneth J. Brock (Indiana), Ethan Brown, Brad Bumgardner, William H. Buskirk, Barney Camden, Joan Campbell, Michael Carroll, John K. Cassady, Paul Clifford, Ian Souze-Cole, Stephen Constantelos, Chad Cremer, Matthew M. Cvetas, Sarajane Damin, Carl & Pen Daubach, Rich J. DeCoster, Henry Detwiler, Colin Dobson, Jon J. Duerr, Patricia Durkin, Ethan Ellis, Joshua I. Engel, Peter Fenner, David Ferris (DFe), Caroyn S. Fields, Chuck Fields, Steven M. Freed, Dawn Fronk, Nate Fuller, Tyler D. Funk, Brian Gall, Joe Gardner, Richard Garrett, Sarah Geiger, Urs W. Geiser, Wally George, Glen Giacinto, Robert Gillette (RGi), Nathan T. Goldberg, Tommy Goodwin, Don Gorney, Judy Groskind (JGd), Benjamin Guo (BGo), Robert Guth (RGu), Eric D. Gyllenhaal, Heath Harlan, Logan Harlan, Scott Harp, C. Leroy Harrison, Don Hartzler, Ted Hartzler, James L. Herkert, Jed B. Hertz, Vicki Hill, Kurtis Himmler, Jennifer Hoffman, Frank R. Holmes, Dustin Holschuh, Edward M. Hopkins, Carl Huffman, Steve J. Huggins, Robert D. Hughes, Matt Igleski, Tamima Itani, Scott Johnson, Ryan Jones, Davida Kalina, Matt S. Kalwasinski

Contributors (cont.):

Dan M. Kassebaum, Amy Kearns, John C. Kendall, Mike Kilburn (MKn), Mark Kolasa, Donna Kubik (DKb), Krzysztof Kurylowicz, Kristina & Logan Lakins, Thomas B. Lally, Scott Latimer, John C. Longhenry, Tammy Loussaert, Pat Lueders, Mike A. Madsen, Travis A. Mahan, Maureen Marsh, Andrew Mast, Jeffrey J. McCoy, Kelly J. McKay, Keith A. McMullen, John Meredig, Kyle Miller, Neal Miller, Perry Miller, Steve G. Mlodinow, Fran R. Morel, Jim Mountjoy (JMy), Vince Moxon, Don D. Mullison, Alison Newberry, Elizabeth Nishiura, Isoo O’Brien, Krista Oswald, Sam & Patti Oliveri, Gary Overdorf, Randy J. Pals, Tom Parmeter, Glen Perricone, David Petersheim, Kevin B. Richmond, Chandler Roberts, Ervin & Lois Rockhill, Kim Roll, William C. Rowe, Wesley Sadler, Ryan J. Sanderson, Dave Schwartz, Jennifer Scoby (JSy), Peter E. Scott, Mark S. Seiffert, Spike Selig, Adam W. Sell, Paul Senner, William Sharkey, Leland Shaum, Robert E. Shelby, Andrew P. Sigler, Trevor Slovick, Matt Sparapani, Evan Speck, Andy O. Stewart, Alan F. Stokie, Douglas F. Stotz, Del Striegel (DSt), Janice Sweet, Paul W. Sweet, Craig A. Taylor, David L. Thomas, Rhiannon Thunell, Amanda Tichacek, Michael A. Topp, Florian Trebouet, Jack Verdin, Sean Verkamp, Jude Vickery, John Waidner (JWa), Eric W. Walters, Peter Walton (PWn), David Ward, Tony Ward, Stephen Weddle, Ethan Wiist, Ian Wiist, Barton Wiksted, Kyle Wiktor, Vern W. Wilkins, Daniel T. Williams, Christine L. Williamson, Geoffrey A. Williamson, Lucas Wilson, Elmer Wingard (EWd), Matt Wistrand, Philip Wixom, Ted Wolff (TWf), Julie Woods, Dave Yoder, Whitney Yoerger, Jerry and Jody Zamirowski.

Abbreviations: Cane Ridge (Cane Ridge W.M.A., Gibson Co, IN); Carlyle (Carlyle L., Clinton Co, Bond Co and Fayette Co, IL); Chau (Chautauqua NWR, Mason Co, IL); Emiquon (Emiquon NWR and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Fulton Co, IL); F.W.A. (Fish and Wildlife Area); Goose Pond (Goose Pond F.W.A., Greene Co, IN); Miller (Miller Beach, Lake Co, IN).


A single Black-bellied Whistling-Duck between 8 Aug (DW) and 29 Oct (PW, m. ob.) provided a first record for Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, Allen Co, IN. At the Country Mark Golf Course north of Mt. Vernon, Posey Co, IN—where the species has bred several times—two adult and eight recently hatched young Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were found 9 Aug (HH, ph. LH et al.). After a successful breeding season near Columbia, Monroe Co, IL and near Grand Tower, Jackson Co, IL, good numbers of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks remained, with maximum counts, respectively, of 48 on 3 Sep (PL) and 42 (31 adults and 11 young) on 13 Aug (KAM, CD). Four Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were near Granite City, Madison Co, IL 16 Aug (FRH) and seven were in St. Clair Co, IL 20 Aug (TG). While a single Fulvous Whistling-Duck at the Tower Island Levee, Jackson Co, IL 12–27 Aug (ph. †DDM, ph †DMK, ph. KAM, CD, m. ob.) was notable, more exciting were at least two family groups (21–24 birds) near Valmeyer, Monroe Co, IL 13 Sept–5 Oct (ph. † WGe, ph.† GAW, TG, ph. KAM, m. ob.). A fly-by Brant was seen at Miller 4 Nov (EMH), and 650 Cackling Geese at Lake Sule, Ogle Co, IL 29 Nov were notable (SJH). Swan numbers were impressive: 282 Mute at Banner Marsh, Fulton Co, IL 27 Nov (CC), 1000 Tundra at Upper Mississippi NWR, Carroll Co, IL 20 Nov (KJM), and 400 Tundra in Elkhart Co, IN 12 Nov (PM) that established a new high count for Indiana.

The 15,000 Northern Pintail at Emiquon 12 Oct were impressive (CD, TW). Noteworthy diving duck totals included 1600 Canvasback at Lock and Dam 13, Whiteside Co, IL 24 Nov (EWW); 1500 Redhead at Rainbow Beach, Cook Co, IL 1 Nov (GAW, JHn); and 1700 Ring-necked Ducks at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 4 Nov (DDM, JGd). A female King Eider was an exciting find in Evanston, Cook Co, IL 31 Oct (†TI, †MMC). This individual was seen by many observers over the next two days at three other locations along the downtown Chicago lakefront, including at Monroe Harbor 2 Nov (TWf, †DTW, †GAW, m. ob.). Three singleton Harlequin Ducks were reported: at Rainbow Beach, Cook Co, IL 25–26 Oct (JLH, SJH, NTG, CD); at Grant Park, Cook Co, IL 2 Nov (KK); and at Miller 12 Nov (JKC et al). Decent scoter flights included reports of Surf from 18 counties, White-winged from 12 counties, and Black from seven counties with a high of 12 birds at Park 566, Cook Co, IL 25 Oct (TWf, CD). Inland Black Scoters included a single at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 28 Oct (HDB); a single in Warsaw, IN 18 Nov (JCK) that provided a first record for Kosciusko Co; and four at Geist Res., Marion Co, IN 14–24 Nov (DG, m. ob.). A rare inland scoter trifecta occurred 18 Nov when single Surf and White-winged and four Black Scoters were seen at Geist Res. northeast of Indianapolis (DG). Long-tailed Ducks were reported in usual numbers, but a solo bird at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 18 Nov was noteworthy at such a southerly location (DDM, FT). An incredible 16,200 Red-breasted Mergansers were tallied at North Point Marina, Lake Co, IL 7 Nov (EWW). Also impressive were 2400 Ruddy Ducks at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 25 Nov (DDM, JGd).

Red-necked Grebes were reported from 15 locations, with the two at Marquette Park, Lake Co, IN 27 Oct (WS) providing the only report of multiples. Eared Grebes were seen in eight counties, two at Horseshoe L., Madison Co, IL 25–26 Oct the earliest reported (FRH, KAM, m. ob.). Two Western Grebes were seen: one at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 8–11 Nov (ph. HDB) and one at Port of Indiana 19 Nov (EMH) that lingered through the end of the season (RJP, m. ob.).


A White-winged Dove was a one-day wonder at Two Rivers NWR, Calhoun Co, IL 23 Aug (†WCR, TP). On a LaGrange Co farm in northern Indiana, a tardy Yellow-billed Cuckoo was seen 25 Oct (AM). Common Nighthawks continue to decline across the country; a count of 618 at Grayslake, Lake Co, IL 2 Sep (AWS) was encouraging; one seen in Jefferson Co, IN 4 Nov (BG) was late. Impressive counts of over 2000 Chimney Swifts were made, with 2500+ in St. Charles, Kane Co, IL 1 Sep the highest tally (JJD). Two Chimney Swifts 3 Nov in Evanston, Cook Co, IL were tardy (FRM). A late Ruby-throated Hummingbird was noted in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 4 Nov (DF) while the region’s only Rufous Hummingbird was seen in Decatur, Macon Co, IL 11–13 Sep (VH, BC, ph. TAM, m. ob.). A reported Rufous/Allen’s Hummingbird was in Lake Co, IL 13 Oct (ph. MM).

It was a rather quiet season for rails with no Yellow Rails reported, though seven Virginia Rails were reported in Nov. A deceased Purple Gallinule was picked up and delivered to the Field Museum by the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors 9 Oct (fide NTG). One of the biggest surprises of the season was a Limpkin at Borah L., Richland Co, IL that was first seen in the summer (20 Jun) and that continued through 7 Nov (B&LA, ph. †CLH, ph. CAT, ph. KAM, m. ob.). This first state record showed well for hundreds of birders during its stay, consuming large quantities of freshwater mussels and seemingly in no hurry to move on.

An incredible count of 330 Black-necked Stilts was made 15 Aug at Grand Tower, Jackson Co, IL (HD). It was a record fall for American Avocets with an amazing tally of 226 at Montrose 22 Oct (TB, MI, m. ob.). Some 300 were reported across 17 counties in Indiana, the 45 at Cane Ridge 24 Oct (ES) establishing a new inland record. Multiple Nov birds were recorded including one at Dunlap Sewage Lagoon, Peoria Co, IL (PF, JSy) and five at L. Gibson, Gibson Co, IN 10 Nov (ES). Part of a poor flight of Black-bellied Plovers in Indiana, the peak count was only four at Miller 7 Sep (JJM). Tardy to depart were single Black-bellied Plovers at Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Putnam Co, IL 4 Nov (SH) and an American Golden-Plover near Charleston, Coles Co, IL 1 Nov (TDF). An impressive 150 Semipalmated Plovers were at Emiquon 31 Jul (DTW). The last Piping Plovers noted were two at Rainbow Beach, Cook Co, IL 27 Aug (TL, JB) and an unbanded young bird at Montrose 26 Aug (JIE, TWf, RJD) that likely was from the successful brood earlier in the summer. Upland Sandpipers were reported from 11 counties (nine of those in Illinois) with a late, injured bird in LaGrange Co, IN 19 Sep (fide LS) that unfortunately died 23 Sep. Whimbrels were reported from seven counties, with an unexpected inland bird at East Cape Girardeau, Alexander Co 20 Aug (KAM). Single Hudsonian Godwits were reported at Chau 7 Sep (JIE, m. ob.), Emiquon 7–13 Sept (CB, CD, m. ob.), and at Brookville L., Union Co, IN 8–15 Oct (WHB, JV, m. ob.). Marbled Godwits were reported from six Illinois counties (contrasting with only one report in Fall 2018), while singles 17–18 Aug at Carlson Oxbow Nature Park, Lake Co (RG, m. ob.) and 13–18 Sep at Fairbanks Landing F.W.A., Sullivan Co (VWW, WS) constituted Indiana’s only reports. Several rare inland Red Knots were reported. One at Eagle Creek Park Indianapolis 28 Aug–2 Sep (ph. WY, m. ob.) provided Indiana’s first fall record away from L. Michigan since 2011. Another seen just north of Eagle Creek Park near Whitestown 1–3 Sep (CR, m. ob.) provided a second record for Boone Co, and one at East Cape Girardeau, Alexander Co, IL 31 Aug–5 Sep was enjoyed by many (CD, m. ob.). A Ruff at Emiquon 1 Aug (ph. ISC, m. ob.) was relocated across the Illinois R. at Chau 5–9 Aug (SL, KBR, KAM, m. ob.). A Sanderling at 18th St. Beach in Chicago, Cook Co, IL 28 Nov was rather late (BW).

The shorebird of the season was Illinois’s first state record Little Stint found at Emiquon 3 Aug by Keith McMullen. The bird stayed through 7 Aug and was enjoyed by hundreds from several states (ph.†KAM, ph.†DK, ph.†SMF, m. ob.). A nice count of 18 Buff-breasted Sandpipers was made near Jacob, Jackson Co, IL 1 Sep (CAT); they were in very short supply in Indiana. A well described Semipalmated Sandpiper at Goose Pond 9 Nov (PES) was Indiana’s latest ever by one day. At Goose Pond, a Western Sandpiper was seen 19–20 Aug (ph. WS, EMH, RG et al.), and a pair was at Cane Ridge 13–24 Sep (ph. ES, m. ob.). A Long-billed Dowitcher at Willowhaven Nature Center, Kankakee Co, IL 10 Nov (JBH) was tardy; as were single Spotted Sandpipers at Eastport Marina, Tazewell Co, IL 1 Nov (TH, DHr); and at Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis 2 Nov (K&LL). Notable high counts included 80 Willets at Michigan City Harbor, LaPorte Co, IN 18 Aug (RT); 10 Wilson’s Phalaropes at Chau 20 Aug (CD); and 29 Red-necked Phalaropes at Chau 14 Sep (AFS) in a season where maximum high counts were below normal for many shorebird species. Rarely seen on or near L. Michigan, a basic adult Wilson’s Phalarope was at Michigan City Harbor, LaPorte Co, IN 30 Aug (ph. JW). Three Red Phalaropes were reported in Illinois, the latest being at North Point Marina, Lake Co 1 Nov (AOS, EWW). Even later was a rare inland bird at Brookville L., Union Co, IN 2–10 Nov (SW, m. ob.).

All three jaeger species were seen on the L. Michigan lakefront. A single juvenal Pomarine was seen from Miller 22 Nov (JKC, JJM, WS, KJB et al.). On 4 Sep at Miller, of 10 jaegers seen, four were identified as Parasitics and three as Long-taileds (JKC, JCK, KJB et al.); an additional Long-tailed (adult) was seen two days later at West Beach, Porter Co (MB) with presumably the same bird at Miller the same day (MAT, JCK). A juvenile Parasitic Jaeger at Illinois Beach S.P., Lake Co, IL 7 Sep was a nice find (PWS, JS, m. ob.). Many Illinois birders were delighted when an Ancient Murrelet graced Montrose 9–10 Nov (†RDH, ph. MC, †MMC, †GAW, m. ob.). Only five Black-legged Kittiwakes were reported in Indiana; with two at Dunes S.P., Porter Co 11 Nov (BB) being the only report of multiple birds. The high count of Sabine’s Gulls was of three at Miller 6 Sep (MAT, JCK). Birds away from L. Michigan included an immature and an adult at East Fork L., Richland Co, IL 4–8 Sept (†CLH, m. ob.) and 9 Sep (†CLH, RES, m. ob.), respectively. Two were at Cane Ridge 12–17 Sep (ES, m. ob.); two immatures at Carlyle 14 Sep (CD, DMK, KAM, m. ob.); and a single bird at L. Shelbyville, Moultrie Co, IL 2 Oct (TAM). An adult Little Gull at L. Decatur, Macon Co, IL 6–7 Nov (TAM, CD) was a nice find. Laughing Gulls continue to increase in the region, with reports coming from 15 locations. An excellent tally of 200 Franklin’s Gulls was made at Carlyle 25 Oct (DMK). Despite a poor overall flight in Indiana, 138 were tallied in Gibson Co 27 Oct. (ES). A California Gull was present at Carlyle 21–22 Sep (DMK, †CD, TW, ph. KAM). Only four Glaucous Gulls were reported.

Terns were reported in good numbers. Maximum counts included the following: 30 Least at Len Small Levee, Alexander Co, IL 31 Aug (EE); 175 Caspian at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 21 Aug (HDB, JG); 225 Black at Emiquon 13 Sep (CD); 417 Common at Miller 30 Aug (JCK et al.); and 143 Forster’s at Carlyle 1 Nov (MSS). Having declined over the past two decades, Black Terns had an exceptionally poor flight in Indiana, where the total reported (105) was the lowest since 1998.


Notable were Red-throated Loons at five Indiana locations away from L. Michigan; a singleton at Carlyle 24–26 Nov (DMK, KAM, m. ob.) was also noteworthy. Two Pacific Loons were seen in Indiana: at Beverly Shores, Porter Co 14 Nov (WS) and at Miller 17 Nov (MSK). In another down year for Common Loons, the high count was of 237 at Miller 7 Nov (JKC, m. ob.). Neotropic Cormorants continued their increase within the region as they were reported from three Illinois counties; the latest was on Lake Michigan off Chicago 20 Oct (SJH, TBL).

American White Pelicans continue to pass through in big numbers; the high count being 14,000 at Carlyle 19–20 Oct (DMK). An impressive count of 2837 Great Egrets was made at Kidd Lake Marsh State Natural Area, Monroe Co, IL 27 Aug (C&PD). Only eight Snowy Egrets were reported in Indiana, though one seen at George L., Lake Co 2 Nov (PD) through 9 Nov (PA, MAT) provided the latest record for Indiana’s L. Michigan lakefront. Two Little Blue Herons in Dubois Co 9 Aug (SV) were the only ones reported in Indiana, the lowest fall count since 1988. The 33 Green Herons at Mallard Roost, Noble Co, IN 11 Aug (RGu) were notable, and one at Homer L., Champaign Co, IL 18 Nov (DLT) was unusually late to depart. On 21 Sep, a basic-plumaged Glossy Ibis was seen on an Elkhart Co, IN farm (DS, ph. LS). A White-faced Ibis lingered at Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Putnam Co, IL 26 Sep–23 Oct (†SG, †DTW, †KAM, †ASA, m. ob), a single bird was at L. Springfield 14 Oct (ph. †HDB), and three birds were at Emiquon 1 Nov (TH, DHr).

It was a very good season for Swallow-tailed Kites as five singles were reported, all from Illinois: near Thebes, Alexander Co 17 Aug (†SJH, GG); at Silver Creek Conservation Area, McHenry Co 18 Aug (†JA); at Olive Township, Madison Co 23 Aug (ph.†KAM, ph.†FRH, CD); with very cooperative individuals at Alton, Madison Co 1–16 Sep (APS, NTG, m. ob.) and at Allerton Park, Piatt Co 24 Aug–4 Sep (DH, NBe, m. ob.). Only a single Golden Eagle was seen in Indiana—Grant Co, 19 Nov (KR)—representing the lowest fall total since 2001, but the five tallied at Lost Mound, Jo Daviess Co, IL 24 Nov (EWW) represented an excellent count away from hawk watch sites. Impressive were three Northern Goshawks 4 Nov (PWS, JS) and 3152 Broad-winged Hawks 26 Sep (PWS, JS, m. ob.) at Illinois Beach S.P., Lake Co, IL. Mississippi Kites wandering late in the season in White Co, IN 9 Sep (GO) and Fountain Co, IN 19 Sep (DB) were county firsts, the latter furnishing Indiana’s third latest fall record. The highest daily total of Rough-legged Hawks in a below average season in Indiana was of six at TNC Kankakee Sands, Newton Co 17 Nov (MBr). The raptor of the season was a Ferruginous Hawk at Lake Sule, Ogle Co, IL 26 Nov (†CAT, †APS). Unfortunately, the bird could not be relocated even an hour after the original sighting.

Unusually, Barn Owls were seen in two northern tier locations: a late nesting pair on a LaGrange Co, IN farm fledged a single juvenile 15 Aug (DY); and a single bird was flushed from a field in St. Joseph Co, IN 18 Sep (ph. DFe). Snowy Owls were more scarce than usual with reports from five counties, four of them in Illinois, including the earliest of the season in DeKalb Co 16 Nov (SB, RGi). Among 41 Short-eared Owls reported in five Indiana counties, the high count was of 10 at Somerville Mine, Gibson Co 15 Nov (TB, DSt). Though not an irruptive year for Northern Saw-whet Owls, they were reported from at least 20 locations with six and five caught on 29 Oct and 15 Nov, respectively, at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, Winnebago Co (JCL). The locally famous “Magic Stump” in Coles Co, IL once again hosted a Prairie Falcon 1 Nov+ (TDF).


Illinois’s first state record Cassin’s Kingbird was a shocking find, seen only a single day at Montrose 22 Sep (†ph. KK, †ph. RDH, †ph. VB, †ph. SGM, m. ob.). The 38 Eastern Wood-Pewees tallied in St. Joseph Co 10 Aug (NM) represented Indiana’s highest ever fall count. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in Olney, Richland Co, IL 5 Aug was rather early (CLH) while a Least Flycatcher at Chicago’s Burnham Park, Cook Co, IL 5 Nov was late (DFS, ph. GAW, m. ob.). Say’s Phoebes were nice finds at Greene Valley, DuPage Co, IL 8 Sep (JAS, ph.†UWG, ph. †BGm, m. ob.) and at Chau 13 Sep (BGo, ph.TH, DHr). Loggerhead Shrikes continue their precarious existence in the region with reports from only six Illinois and five Indiana counties for a total of 13 birds. By comparison, Northern Shrikes were reported from 19 counties in Illinois and a total of 18 birds in ten counties in Indiana. Late vireos included White-eyed Vireos in Bloomington, Monroe Co, IN 3 Nov (ph. SDB); at Hammond Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary, Lake Co, IN 9 Nov (RG); and in Kankakee Co, IL 22 Nov (JBH); a Blue-headed Vireo at Igleheart Park, Vanderburgh Co, IN on 14 Nov (ph. IW, EW); and a Philadelphia Vireo in Evanston, Cook Co, IL 30 Nov (†JB). Nine Yellow-throated Vireos at Potato Ck. S.P., St. Joseph Co, IN 14 Sep (NM) was a notable fall total.

A new state high count of Fish Crows was set in Indiana 20 Oct when 54 were seen on the west side of Indianapolis (vt., SS). A Fish Crow at Carlyle 28 Nov was late to depart (DMK). Swallows that lingered included one Tree at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 30 Nov (HDB, TS); a Northern Rough-winged in Kankakee Co, IL 25 Nov (JBH); and a Barn at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 3 Nov (HDB).

A non-irruption year for Red-breasted Nuthatches was exemplified by low reporting throughout the region; the 11 reported in Indiana was the lowest total since 2002. The maximum count of four occurred at Morton Arboretum, DuPage Co, IL 3 Nov (J&JZ). A House Wren lingered at Carlyle 29 Nov (DMK) as did a single Marsh Wren along Centennial Trail, DuPage Co, IL 28 Nov (MAM). Excellent kinglet numbers included maximum counts of 52 Golden-crowned Kinglets at Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Cook Co, IL 8 Oct (CLW); and 60 Ruby-crowned Kinglets at Northwestern University, Cook Co, IL 8 Oct (IO) and at Carlyle 20 Oct (DMK).

A Townsend’s Solitaire was discovered at Arbor Gates Subdivision, Kendall Co, IL (†SJ), and another or possibly the same bird at Waa Kee Sha Park, Kendall Co, IL 25 Oct (†RJ). A nocturnal count of Gray-cheeked Thrushes in Marshall Co, IN 7 Sep yielded 28 birds (NM). A very late Swainson’s Thrush was reported from the Morton Arboretum, DuPage, IL 15 Nov (JC, PC). At Pigeon R. F.W.A., LaGrange, IN, eight Wood Thrushes 9 Sep (SP) provided a nice fall tally. A new high fall count of Gray Catbirds was established in Indiana with 53 tallied in St. Joseph Co 10 Aug (NM).

Reported in 35 Illinois counties, Eurasian Tree Sparrows continue their range expansion; singles in Jo Daviess Co 24 Nov (EWW) and in Rockford, Winnebago Co 6–11 Nov (DTW, ph. S&PO, m. ob.) provided the northernmost sightings.

It was a very poor flight year for winter finches. Purple Finches arrived late and in small numbers; the maximum count consisting of six at Oakhurst Forest Preserve, Kane Co, IL 25 Oct (WSr). Common Redpolls were even more scarce with the same high count of six found at L. Petersburg, Menard Co, IL 27 Oct (JLH). There were only three Red Crossbill reports, all during a four-day period at the Morton Arboretum, DuPage Co, IL: three on 26 Oct (EWW) and one–two birds 28–29 Oct (AFS, EWW, KW). No White-winged crossbills or Evening Grosbeaks were reported, and the high count of Pine Siskins was a mere 12 at Montrose 24 Oct (ASA).

Lapland Longspur numbers were below average, but five separate reports of Smith’s Longspurs in Illinois made for a good season; bracketed by two at Tuscany Trail Park, Kendall Co, IL 29 Sep (JV, RJ) and a noteworthy five in Whiteside Co, IL 20 Nov (KJM). Snow Buntings rebounded from a poor 2018 fall in Indiana with over 1200 reported; the high count consisting of 314 at Miller 10 Nov (JJM).


An extremely tardy Lark Sparrow was in Cook Co, IL 29 Nov (ph. NF). Several Chipping Sparrows lingered into late-Nov including one in Westchester, Cook Co, IL 18 Nov+ (DFS). A flock of six Clay-colored Sparrows associating with Chipping Sparrows at Bonneyville Mill County Park, Elkhart Co 19 Sep (AA) tied for Indiana’s largest ever. A late Clay-colored Sparrow was reported from Evanston, Cook Co, IL 7 Nov (IO). There were numerous Harris’s Sparrows this season, with reports from seven counties—six of them from Illinois. A nice total of four LeConte’s Sparrows was tallied at Goose Pond 5 Nov (AK), and a high count of six Nelson’s Sparrows was made at Chicago’s Rainbow Beach, Cook Co, IL 28–29 Oct (MW, CD). An impressive 253 Swamp Sparrows logged at Goose Pond 19 Oct (JJM, RJS) constituted Indiana’s second largest fall count. On 6 Aug, an adult male Dark-eyed Junco photographed in Anderson, Madison Co (E&LR) furnished Indiana’s first Aug record of the species.

A Yellow-breasted Chat in Indianapolis 13 Nov (ph. WY, ph. AB) was Indiana’s second latest ever, surpassed only by Amos Butler’s 1 Dec 1881 record. A Yellow-headed Blackbird at Montrose 24–25 Sep was unexpected (KH, HB, JB, m. ob.). A nice tally of 10 Western Meadowlarks was made in Lima Township, Adams Co, IL 23 Nov (EWW), and the total of 650 Rusty Blackbirds in Elkhart Co, IN 10 Oct (AA) was noteworthy for this declining species. Lingering Baltimore Orioles included singles in LaGrange Co, IN 9 Nov (DP); in St. Joseph Co, IN 12 Nov (fide NM); and in Carroll Co, IL 18 Nov (EB).

Ovenbirds lingered at two downtown Chicago locations 6 Nov (PWn, GAW). A Northern Waterthrush at Chicago’s Riis Park, Cook Co, IL 10 Nov was extremely late (EDG). An excellent count of 16 Golden-winged Warblers was made at Mississippi Palisades S.P., Carroll Co, IL 4 Sep (KJM). A late Blue-winged Warbler was in Elkhart Co, IN 7 Oct (EWd). Five Brewster’s Warblers were reported (four from Illinois) and a female Lawrence’s Warbler was at Carlyle 14 Sep (ph. DMK). Lingering warblers included a Black-and-White at Chicago’s Columbus Park, Cook Co, IL 2 Nov (EDG); a Tennessee at Montrose 6 Nov (MKn, MK); and a Nashville at Greene Valley Forest Preserve, DuPage Co, IL 14 Nov (SC). At Falls of the Ohio S.P., Clark Co, a Nashville Warbler 16 Aug (KO) tied Indiana’s second earliest fall arrival date. A fine fall count of six Hooded Warblers was made at Potato Ck. S.P., St. Joseph Co, IN 14 Sep (KM et al.). Indiana’s third fall record of Kirtland’s Warbler was provided by a bird in Lafayette, Tippecanoe Co 19–20 Sep (EMH, m. ob.). A peak daily count of nine Cape May Warblers was logged at Hammond Lakefront Park and Bird Sanctuary, Lake Co 16 Sep (JCK); and a late bird was in Galesburg, Knox Co, IL 20 Nov (ph. JMy). A late Magnolia Warbler was at DePauw Nature Park, Putnam Co, IN 28 Oct (CH). Bay-breasted and Yellow Warblers had excellent flights in Indiana; high counts topping out at 39 at L. Monroe, Monroe Co 11 Oct (VWW) and 17 at Potato Ck. S.P., St. Joseph Co 10 Aug (NM); respectively. Other late warblers included a Blackpoll at Montrose 5 Nov (ASA, RDH); a Black-throated Blue at Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Cook Co, IL 8 Nov (MI, PS); a Palm at Montrose 10 Nov (EN); and an incredibly late Prairie in Bloomington, Monroe Co 20 Nov (ph. SDB) that added a month to Indiana’s all-time latest record. The most noteworthy warbler was a Townsend’s at Montrose 15–17 Sep (†AN, MS, RDH, †GAW, m. ob.). Record-late in Indiana (by two days) was a Canada Warbler in Ripley Co 15 Oct (LW), and a Wilson’s Warbler at Illinois Beach S.P., Lake Co, IL 8 Nov (CSF, CF, VM) was also notably late.

A Western Tanager in River Forest, Cook Co, IL 21 Sep was a one-day wonder (DJA, †JSA). A Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Fermilab, Kane Co, IL 17 Nov was late to leave (GP, DKb). At two sites in Lake Co, three family groups of Blue Grosbeaks totaling 11 birds were found on 17 Aug (MAT), establishing a new high count for the Indiana L. Michigan lakefront. On Youngblood Rd. in Warrick Co, a Blue Grosbeak found 23 Oct (JM) extended Indiana’s all-time late record date by two days. An Indigo Bunting at Carlyle 17 Nov (ph. DMK) was late, as were single Dickcissels at Goose Pond 5 Nov (AK, WS) and at a feeder in Perry Co, IN 9 Nov (ph. SD).

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 1 Feb 2021.

Photos–Illinois & Indiana: Fall 2019

Hover or click on each image to read the caption.