Illinois & Indiana: Fall 2021

Fall 2021: 1 Aug–30 Nov

James D. Hengeveld

Keith A. McMullen

Geoffrey A. Williamson

Recommended citation:

Hengeveld, J.D., K.A. McMullen, and G.A. Williamson. 2022. Fall 2021: Illinois & Indiana. <> North American Birds.

It was the twelfth warmest fall period on record for the region, 1.2 C warmer than average, with October averaging 3.0 C warmer than average (the region’s fifth warmest on record). There was some indication that warmer temperatures through October might have slowed or delayed southbound movement. Precipitation was also higher than normal, driven by October’s rain levels being 7.8 cm above average (fifth wettest on record). A long list of notable records included Eurasian Wigeon, Mexican Violetear, six Rufous Hummingbirds, Limpkin, an inland Pomarine Jaeger, Royal Tern, Wood Stork, eight White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, multiple Swallow-tailed Kites, Ferruginous Hawk, two Prairie Falcons, the region’s second Small-billed Elaenia, Vermilion Flycatcher, Rock Wren, two Townsend’s Solitaires, and Painted Bunting.

Sub-regional Compilers: Kenneth J. Brock (Indiana), Andy Gilbert (Illinois).

Abbreviations: Carlyle (Lake Carlyle, Bond, Clinton, and Fayette counties, IL); Chautauqua (Lake Chautauqua NWR, Mason Co, IL); Emiquon (Emiquon NWR and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Fulton Co, IL); FP (Forest Preserve); FWA (Fish and Wildlife Area); IBSP (Illinois Beach State Park, Lake Co, IL); Miller (Miller Beach, Lake Co, IN); Montrose (Montrose Point in Chicago’s Lincoln Park); SFWA (State Fish and Wildlife Area); Wakarusa (Wakarusa Wastewater Treatment Facility, Elkhart Co, IN); WMA (Wildlife Management Area).

Waterfowl through Limpkin

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck reports came from four IL counties, including 13 in Buncombe, Union Co 28 Aug (James Jarosz); the largest group in IN was of 12 at L. Gibson, Gibson Co 24 Sep (Chuck Mills). An impressive 102 Trumpeter Swans were noted in Scott Co, IL 24 Nov (Colin Dobson, Gordon Tucker, Vicky Tucker). The 11,000 Gadwall estimated at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 8 Nov (Don Mullison, Judy Groskind) represented a strong fall count. A Eurasian Wigeon at Newton L., Jasper Co, IL 18 Nov (ph. C. Leroy Harrison, ph. Robert E. Shelby) was a rare find. Single Harlequin Ducks were seen at North Point Marina, Lake Co, IL 13 Nov (m. ob.) and at Miller 22 Nov (John Cassady, Lisa & Randy Vanderbilt et al.). An estimated 5000 Ruddy Ducks at Niota, Hancock Co, IL 22 Nov (Colin Dobson) was an impressive congregation.

Two Red-necked Grebes were seen from Indiana Dunes SP, Porter Co, IN 31 Oct (Brendan Grube), and singles were at Wilmette’s Gillson Park, Cook Co, IL 9 Nov (Woody Goss) and at Miller 14 Nov (Michael Topp). Among a good number of Eared Grebe reports was an early individual at L. Lemon, Brown Co, IN 8 Sep (Jim & Susan Hengeveld), three at Chautauqua 1 Nov (Colin Dobson, Scott Robinson), and late birds at Chicago’s Grant Park 27 Nov (Jacob Drucker) and at Heritage L., Putnam Co, IN 27 Oct+ (Carl Huffman, m. ob.).

Single White-winged Doves were detected in Menard Co, IL 14 Aug (Jim Herkert) and at the New Road grassland, St. Joseph Co, IN 8 Sep (Carol Goodall et al.). An extremely late nighthawk, thought to be a Common Nighthawk, was observed at East Fork L., Richland Co, IL 24 Nov (†C. Leroy Harrison). A large Chimney Swift roost site at Notre Dame University in South Bend was monitored from late Aug to early Sep (Charlotte Probst), the high count occurring on 7 Sep, when 2395 were tallied. IL’s second Mexican Violetear, an individual visiting a feeder in Mundelein, Lake Co 20–24 Aug (ph. Jason Cristino, Jeanna Cristino, m. ob.), was seen by many. Six different Rufous Hummingbirds (four in IL, two in IN) made for a good regional showing this fall. One of these was an adult female in Steuben Co, IN 13 Oct+ (Kip Miller) that was originally banded in Tallahassee, FL in Jan of 2021 (fide Don Gorney); recapture on 16 Oct (Allen Chartier) verified the bird’s age and band number.

Five Yellow Rails were detected this season. Sightings included birds at Chicago’s Rainbow Beach 5 Sep (Woody Goss, Ian Sarmiento, Lucas Wilson); in Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary, Lake Co, IN 1 Oct (Michael Topp); at Seidner Dune and Swale, Lake Co, IN 3 Oct (Matt Kalwasinski); at Emiquon 5 Oct (Andy Gilbert); and in Urbana, Champaign Co, IL 23 Oct (†Aerin Tedesco). IL’s third Limpkin, following on the heels of the second during Summer 2021, was at Dixon Waterfowl Refuge, Putnam Co 16–28 Aug (ph. Scott Harp, m. ob.). The first state record occurred in 2019.

Shorebirds to Terns

A notable tally of 75 Black-necked Stilts was made at Emiquon 28 Aug (Dan Williams). American Avocet reports came from 16 IL and 11 IN counties, with a high count of 26 birds at the Gibson L. Borrow Pits, Gibson Co, IN 13 Aug (Ian and Ethan Wiist). In the tomato fields in northern LaGrange Co, John Cassady and Benjamin Miller found 140 American Golden-Plovers on 25 Sep, IN’s fourth largest fall count.

Six Whimbrels in the region included one on 4 Aug and two on 10 Aug at Miller (Michael Topp), one at Montrose 22 Aug (m. ob.), another at Miller 22 Sep (Nathan Goldberg et al.), and one at IBSP 21 Oct (Peter Weber) that was record-late for IL by three days. Hudsonian Godwits had a good flight. The count of 79 in DeKalb Co 12 Aug (Tim Balassie, ph. Brendon Lake) tied the highest ever for IL. Other high counts included 19 in Chicago 14 Sep (Scott Judd) and 10 in Rochelle, Ogle Co, IL 10–13 Oct (m. ob.). The last to depart were three at Rochelle, Ogle Co, IL 20 Oct (Demetri Lafkas). Marbled Godwits were in much lower numbers, with only four singletons reported from IL.

Red Knots had a good season relative to recent years, with reports totaling 15 birds from eight different locations. Notably, all but one of these reports were away from L. Michigan, which is quite unusual. The peak count was of five at Emiquon 30 Aug (m. ob.). The 325 Stilt Sandpipers at Emiquon 19 Aug (Colin Dobson) formed a good-sized group. Dunlin numbers were the lowest in more than two decades in IN, the high for the period being 30 in Warrick Co on 27 Oct (James Campbell). Purple Sandpiper reports included singletons in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 12–13 Nov (ph. Annette McClellan, ph. Henry Meade, m. ob.) and in Chicago 21 Nov (Ryan Fuller). The nine Least Sandpipers at the Santa Fe Bottoms, Clinton Co, IL 28 Nov (Mark Seiffert) constituted an unusually large group for so late in the season. The peak count of Western Sandpipers was nine at Emiquon 19 Aug (Colin Dobson) and at Chautauqua 28 Aug (m. ob.), and the species was more prevalent than usual in IN with twice the usual number of reports. Two early Long-billed Dowitchers were seen and heard at Wakarusa 11 Aug (Leland Shaum, Kyle Miller). A fine count of 47 Spotted Sandpipers was made at Wakarusa on 7 Aug (Kyle Miller). Spotted Sandpiper singletons in Finlay, Shelby Co, IL 16 Nov (Colin Dobson) and at Wood Dale Reservoir, DuPage Co 16 Nov (Alan F. Stokie) were late to depart. A strong count of 400 Greater Yellowlegs was estimated at Two Rivers NWR, Calhoun Co, IL 7 Sep (Pam Bruns, Ken Smith).

Good numbers of Wilson’s Phalaropes were reported in the region. Sizeable counts included 32 at Chautauqua 28 Aug (Keith A. McMullen), 19 at Emiquon 12 Aug (Colin Dobson), and 15 at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 21 Aug (Mark Seiffert). An exceptional count of 30 Red-necked Phalaropes at Chautauqua 28 Aug (m. ob.) was IL’s fifth largest on record. At North Fork Refuge on L. Monroe, Monroe Co, IN, a juvenile Red Phalarope just beginning to molt into first basic plumage was found on the early date of 16 Sep (ph. David Rupp), remaining through 19 Sep (m. ob.). Another rare appearance of Red Phalarope away from the IN L. Michigan lakefront occurred at Turtle Creek Reservoir, Sullivan Co. 18–20 Oct (Steve Lima, ph. Michael Brown). A third IN Red Phalarope was seen at Michigan City Harbor, LaPorte Co on 4 Nov (Lucas Wilson, Mark Rhodes).

It was an excellent fall for jaegers in IN that included more than 60 being reported. IN’s first Pomarine Jaeger away from the L. Michigan lakefront in more than two decades was a juvenile that was on Morse Reservoir, Hamilton Co 22–23 Oct (ph. Jesse Greene et al.). A Parasitic Jaeger was noted at Carlyle 18 Sep (ph. Colin Dobson, ph. Steve Zehner, m. ob.), while at the IN L. Michigan lakefront, 30 Parasitic Jaegers were reported, with a high count of 12 at Miller 22 Sep (John Cassady, Bill Sharkey, Michelle Holycross et al.). An unusually high seasonal number of eight Long-tailed Jaegers occurred off IN’s L. Michigan lakefront, including three each at Miller 1 Sep (Don Gorney, ph. John Kendall) and 22 Sep (John Cassady, Bill Sharkey, Michelle Holycross et al.). In IL, a Long-tailed Jaeger was at Carlyle 11 Sep (ph. Travis Mahan).

It was a fine season for Black-legged Kittiwakes with more than 30 reported. IN’s third Sep record of Black-legged Kittiwake and first away from L. Michigan was of a juvenile at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis 8–9 Sep (ph. Chris Newbold, ph. Peter Finley). A high count of 10, which included a rare adult, was registered at Miller 30 Oct (John Cassady et al.), and three passing Wilmette’s Gillson Park, Cook Co, IL 9 Nov (Audrey Carl, Josh Engel, Woody Goss) were also notable. Another kittiwake away from L. Michigan was a bird at Lock & Dam 21, Adams Co, IL 26–27 Nov (ph. Tammy Volk, Eric Benner). Sabine’s Gulls were located at a surprising number of locations spread over seven IL and three IN counties. Reports away from L. Michigan included an early individual at Helmick Nature Preserve, Cook Co, IL 17 Aug (ph. Nancy Buis, m. ob.); an adult in Alton, Madison Co, IL 6 Sep (ph. Tommy Goodwin); one on L. Shelbyville, Moultrie Co, IL 12 Sep (Travis Mahan); one at Sanganois SFWA, Mason Co, IL 12 Sep (ph. Trevor Slovick); one at Chautauqua 17 Sep (Don Hartzler, Ted Hartzler) with three there 21 Sep (ph. Alyssa Rod, m. ob.) and one continuing to 26 Sep (Josh Engel et al.); one on L. Decatur, Macon Co, IL 21 Sep (Travis Mahan); one at Wilmette’s Gillson Park, Cook Co, 22 Sep (Oliver Burrus); three on L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 23–24 Sep (Trevor Slovick, ph. Benjamin Murphy, Angelo Capparella) with one continuing there 29 Sep (Trevor Slovick); one on Turtle Creek Reservoir, Sullivan Co, IN 24–28 Sep (ph. Michael Brown, Chuck & Karen Lunsford et al.); three at Carlyle 25 Sep (ph. Colin Dobson, m. ob.); and one at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, Allen Co, IN 30 Sep–4 Oct (Jon Jenkins, m. ob.). An amazing passage of Bonaparte’s Gulls occurred on 20 Nov at Brookville L., Franklin and Union Cos, where 4050 were tallied (Wiliam Buskirk), furnishing IN’s largest count in 26 years. Three different Little Gulls were noted. An adult was seen from the tower at Indiana Dunes SP, Porter Co, IN 5 Sep (Brendan Grube), a juvenile was on Rend L., Jefferson Co, IL 9 Sep (ph. Aaron Gyllenhaal), and an adult was on L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 27–28 Oct (H. David Bohlen).

Laughing Gull reports came from six IL and three IN counties. Exceptional counts of Franklin’s Gulls included 400 in Moline, Rock Island Co, IL 12 Oct (Steve Freed), 150 at Montrose 12 Nov (Robert D. Hughes), and 104 at Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary, Lake Co, IN on 12 Nov (Michael Topp). Three California Gulls were present in IL, making for a good seasonal total. An immature bird was at North Point Marina, Winthrop Harbor, Lake Co 4 Sep (ph. Adam Sell, m. ob.); an adult was in Moline, Rock Island Co, 6–7 Oct (Steve Freed, m. ob.); and an immature bird was at Sanganois SFWA, Mason Co, IL 26 Sep (Colin Dobson et al.). A rather early Iceland Gull was located at Eagle Creek SP, Shelby Co, IL 28 Sep (ph. Ron Bradley). Unusual for so early in the season were 11 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (eight adults, two immatures, one juvenile) counted at L. Decatur, Macon Co, IL 21 Sep (ph. Travis Mahan). On 14 Aug, Michael Topp set a new fall maximum count of Caspian Terns for the IN L. Michigan lakefront, tallying 192 at 129th St. Marsh and Miller, Lake Co. The Black Tern passage was very poor in IN with only 211 reported, the high count consisting of 25 at Cane Ridge WMA, Gibson Co 13 Aug (Chuck Mills). A great find was a Royal Tern at Carlyle 11–13 Aug (ph. C. Leroy Harrison, m. ob.).

Storks to Falcons

The Wood Stork found at Mermet L., Massac Co, IL 19 Jul (Bill Gilmour) remained to 11 Aug (Jack Bechtel). Sightings of Neotropic Cormorants continue to increase in frequency in the region. This season’s observations included birds at Horseshoe L. SP, Madison Co, IL peaking in number at four on 18 Aug (Keith A. McMullen), with one to two continuing to 20 Sep (Frank R. Holmes); three at Carlyle 18 Aug (Mark Seiffert) with one continuing to 2 Oct (m. ob.); and singletons in Taylorville, Christian Co, IL 15 Aug (Trevor Slovick); at IBSP 28 Sep (Janice Sweet et al.); at Hitchcock Road Pond, LaPorte Co, IN 26 Oct (ph. Kenneth J. Brock); and at Lock & Dam 18, Henderson Co, IL 22 Nov (ph. Colin Dobson).

For the fall season, American Bitterns were reported in the lowest numbers in IN since 2001. By contrast, numbers of Great Egrets reported in IN were the highest ever, the largest daily count being 1000 that were tallied at Cane Ridge WMA, Gibson Co on 10 Sep (Evan Speck). A Snowy Egret at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 30 Oct (Judy Groskind) was rather late to depart, and one in Tippecanoe Co, IN 13 Nov (Raven Busbee) was the latest on record for IN. Also late were seven Cattle Egrets in Champaign, Champaign Co, IL 17 Nov (ph. Deanna Uphoff, m. ob.), and eight seen south of Connersville, Fayette Co, IN 20 Nov (ph. Jeffery Coleman), the latter providing IN’s fifth latest fall record.

Two White Ibis were at Sanganois SFWA, Mason Co, IL 5 & 26 Sep (ph. Colin Dobson, m. ob.), and another was located at Cahokia Mounds, St. Clair Co., IL 15 Oct (ph. John C. Sullivan). A group of five White Ibis was observed at Little Poison Creek Slough on 27 Nov (Harriet Neill), establishing a new late date for IN. A White-faced Ibis was carefully identified in Putnam Co, IL 1–3 Oct (ph. Steven J. Huggins, ph. Dan Williams). A Roseate Spoonbill was a rare find at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 20 Aug–4 Sep (Katy Banning, Kimberly Rohling, ph. Craig A. Taylor, m. ob.).

An out-of-range Black Vulture was present in Chicago’s Lincoln Park 13–14 Nov (ph. Frank Geilen, m. ob.). IL’s top two counts of Turkey Vultures both occurred this season: 643 at the Ft. Sheridan hawkwatch, Lake Co 16 Oct (Adam Sell et al.) and 515 the same day at the IBSP hawkwatch (Paul Sweet et al.). An impressive 45 Osprey passed the Ft. Sheridan hawkwatch, Lake Co, IL 14 Sep (Adam Sell et al.). It was an unprecedented autumn for Swallow-tailed Kite, with seven reported (six in IN). One or two were near Oakland City, Pike Co, IN 4–7 Aug (Jeremy Ross, Bill Sharkey, Ian & Ethan Wiist et al.); one was at Willow Slough FWA, Newton Co, IN 6–23 Aug (ph. Matt Beatty, m. ob.); one was in Steuben Co, IN 14 Aug (Sam Carbo); one was noted in Plainville, Adams Co, IL 15 Aug (ph. Jason Mullins); one was in Gibson Co 23 Aug (Matt Seaton); and one was in Harrison Co, IN 4 Sep (Jesse Greene).

At least 14 Golden Eagles were spotted in the region, including two in Carroll Co, IL 12 Nov (Ethan Brown). An adult Northern Goshawk was photographed in Trine State Recreation Area, Steuben Co, IN on 3 Nov (Larry & Rebecca Theller). There was a record flight of Mississippi Kites in IN with 80 reported, the high count eight in Pike Co on 7 Aug (Tina & Eric Rosier). The juvenile that Vern Wilkins photographed at Fairbanks Landing FWA, Sullivan Co on 25 Sep was the third latest for IN. Sightings of Mississippi Kite in the northern tier of IL, where they are uncommon, included four at the IBSP hawkwatch, with two 24 Sep (Karen Lund et al.) and the latest 8 Oct (Karen Lund et al.), and one at Rollins Savanna FP, Lake Co 15 Oct (Beau J. Schaefer). Seven Swainson’s Hawks were noted in IL. Reports came from the IBSP hawkwatch 25 Sep (Paul Sweet et al.), 27 Sep (Vic Berardi et al.), and 11 Oct (Chris Whittier et al.); from Ft. Sheridan hawkwatch, Lake Co 25 Sep (Adam Sell et al.) and 9 Oct (Lisa Maier et al.); from Sangamon Co, IL 1 Oct (H. David Bohlen); and from the Greene Valley FP hawkwatch, DuPage Co, IL 12 Oct (Bob Fisher). The raptor of the season was a Ferruginous Hawk noted at IBSP 17 Nov (†Vic Berardi); this was IL’s second record in the last three years.

A Barn Owl was in residence in Chicago’s Burnham park 23 Aug–1 Sep (ph. Claire Halpin, m. ob.). Two Barn Owls were at Dixon Waterfowl Refuge 3 Oct+ (ph. Neil Zborowski), and three were at a McLean Co, IL site during 5–21 Oct (Angelo Capparella, Benjamin Guo, ph. Benjamin Murphy). At the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, Winnebago Co, IL, an impressive 11 Northern Saw-whet Owls were banded 22 Oct (John C. Longhenry et al.); eight were banded at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, Porter Co, IN on 26 Oct (Corey Wagner). A good flight of 164 Merlins occurred at the IBSP hawkwatch 14 Oct (Paul Sweet et al.). Two Prairie Falcons were noted. One was present in McLean Co, IL 27 Oct–1 Nov (Taylor Root, ph. Alyssa Rod, m. ob.). The other, at the regular Coles Co, IL wintering site 2 Nov+ (Amy Lynch, m. ob.), was also observed nearby in Douglas Co, IL 8 Nov (Candida Abrahamson).

Flycatchers to Blackbirds

The biggest news of the fall was IL’s second Small-billed Elaenia, present in Waukegan, Lake Co 26 Nov+ (ph. Susan Zelek, m. ob.). This is nearly 10 years after the first North American record of the species occurred in Chicago. The only Western Kingbird reports were of a family group of three at the traditional IN nesting area near Mt. Vernon, Posey Co 1 Aug (ph. Heath Harlan); an individual in Columbia, Monroe Co, IL 18 Aug (James Hickner); and a probable juvenile in Sullivan Co, IN 4–5 Sep (ph. Steven Lima, ph. Michael Brown). IN’s seventh Vermilion Flycatcher was an adult male that appeared on a farm near Ramsey, Harrison Co on 19 Sep (Angela Eveslage); it was seen by scores of birders through 28 Sep (Jennifer & Scott Martin).

Several rather late vireos were noted this season. A White-eyed Vireo at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Cook Co, IL 26 Nov (ph. Vlad Nevirkov) was IL’s second latest ever. A Yellow-throated Vireo in Edwards Co, IL 15 Oct (Robert Shelby) was also late. IN’s third latest Blue-headed Vireo was noted on the Notre Dame University campus, St. Joseph Co 22 Nov (James Mitchell), and a Warbling Vireo at Muscatatuck NWR, Jackson Co 1 Nov (Darrell Hance) tied for IN’s second latest. IN’s second latest Red-eyed Vireo was also on the Notre Dame campus 24–25 Nov (James Mitchell). The weekly outing on 19 Sep at Fort Harrison SP, Marion Co, produced eight Philadelphia Vireos (Don Gorney), tying IN’s second highest daily count.

Several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers stayed late. One at Busey Woods, Champaign Co, IL 17 Nov (Grant Witynski) was the latest on record for IL outside the southern tier and the fifth latest for the entire state. IN’s third Rock Wren was seen for a single day at Bluegrass FWA, Warrick Co on 4 Oct (John Meredig, James H. Campbell). A Winter Wren in Evanston, Cook Co, IL 27 Aug (Tamima Itani) was IL’s third earliest ever. On 6 Sep, 20 Marsh Wrens were tallied at Mallard Roost Wetland Conservation Area, Noble Co (Robert Guth), furnishing IN’s third highest fall count.

Michael Topp photographed a Townsend’s Solitaire on 23 Oct at the same site in Marquette Park, Lake Co, IN where he found one in 2020. Another Townsend’s Solitaire was present in Oswego, Kendall Co, IL 31 Oct (ph. Scott Johnson). This species has established a regular pattern of occurrence in IL, though still rare. The 26 Veeries found by Kyle Miller et al. in Elkhart Co on 18 Oct represented IN’s second largest fall count. IL’s second latest Wood Thrush, a bird in Chicago’s Washington Park 17 Nov (Barton Wicksted), was four days short of the record-latest.

Winter finches were in general quite scarce. The lone Evening Grosbeak report was of one bird at Stickney Run Conservation Area, McHenry Co, IL 9 Nov (†Lisa Maier). Only two Common Redpolls were reported from IN, but 30 were in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 19 Nov (Philip Vogrinc) and 52 were at Ft. Sheridan FP, Lake Co, IL 27 Nov (Lisa Maier). The lone Red Crossbill report was of one bird in Cary, McHenry Co, IL 7 Nov (Jeff Aufmann), and the only White-winged Crossbill was noted at Ft. Sheridan FP, Lake Co, IL 31 Oct (ph. Krzysztof Kurylowicz, ph. Henry Meade, m. ob.).

The seven Clay-colored Sparrows in IN constituted the lowest reported fall total since 2005. IN’s all-time earliest fall record of Dark-eyed Junco was furnished by a photographed bird in Fishers, Hamilton Co on 4 Aug (Alyssa Barr), and a Dark-eyed Junco at Montrose 8 Sep (Scott Judd, Tamima Itani) was also very early. A White-crowned Sparrow in Chicago’s Lincoln Park 31 Aug (Karen Gibson) tied the second earliest IL arrival date. It was a good season for Harris’s Sparrows, with two in IN and about 15 reported in IL, including two in Evanston, Cook Co, IL 20–24 Oct (Josh Engel, m. ob.). An impressive four LeConte’s Sparrows were counted at Chicago’s Park No. 566 16 Oct (Jeff Bilsky, Carl Giometti, et al.), and good counts of Nelson’s Sparrows included 10 at Chicago’s Rainbow Beach 15 Oct (Woody Goss) and eight at Rollins Savanna FP, Lake Co, IL 29 Sep (Beau J. Schaefer).

A late Yellow-breasted Chat was spotted at Montrose 14 Oct (Kevin Lin). An adult male Baltimore Oriole in Urbana, Champaign Co, IL 27 Nov (Brody Dunn, ph. Rob Kanter, Rachel Vinsel) was IL’s second latest on record. Four Rusty Blackbirds noted in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 8 Sep (Linda Lutz) set a record-early arrival date for IL.

Warblers to Grosbeaks

A group of five Worm-eating Warblers in Brown County SP on 6 Aug (Mitchel Mayer) tied IN’s largest fall count. A single Worm-eating Warbler in Bloomington, Monroe Co on 2 Oct (Allisyn-Marie Gillet) was IN’s fourth latest. Late-departing Golden-winged Warblers included singletons in Evanston, Cook Co, IL 10 Oct (Yonatan Simkovich) and at IBSP 8 Oct (Andrew O. Stewart), and an excellent tally of 21 Golden-winged Warblers was made at Mississippi Palisades SP, Carroll Co, IL 3 Sep (Kelly McKay et al.). A late Blue-winged Warbler was reported from La Bagh Woods FP, Cook Co, IL 16 Oct (ph. Marian Runk). At Celery Bog, Tippecanoe Co on 5 Oct, the 93 Tennessee Warblers tallied by Alex Lowe-Massi constituted IN’s third largest fall total. Tennessee Warblers at the Carlyle WTP, Clinton Co, IL 19 Nov (Mark Seiffert) and at Busey Woods, Champaign Co, IL 17 Nov (Grant Witynski) were late, as were Nashville Warblers in Chicago’s Burnham Park 21 Nov (Isoo O’Brien) and at Busey Woods, Champaign Co, IL 17 Nov (Grant Witynski). The 40 Nashville Warblers tallied at Notre Dame University, South Bend on 23 Sep (Thomas Anderson) tied the fall high count for IN. A Mourning Warbler at Montrose 12 Aug (Geoffrey A. Williamson, m. ob.) and one at North Pond in Chicago’s Lincoln Park 13 Aug (Steven J. Huggins) were quite early, the former tying for IL’s third earliest. On 30 Aug, a Kentucky Warbler found at Cowles Bog, Porter Co (Jerry Hampton) was only the third for the IN L. Michigan lakefront. An exceptionally late Kentucky Warbler at Hickory Knolls Natural Area, Kane Co, IL 20 Oct (Wally Levernier) was the second-latest on record for IL. A Magnolia Warbler at Crystal Lake Park, Urbana, Champaign Co, IL 31 Oct (Brody Dunn, ph. Colin Dobson, Roger Digges) was IL’s fifth latest on record. More than five times the average number of Bay-breasted Warblers were reported in IN. This was likely due to a spruce budworm outbreak on their breeding grounds, leading to high levels of reproductive success and an abundance of juveniles. Early-arriving Canada Warblers included one at Greene Valley FP, DuPage Co, IL 6 Aug (Andrew Steinmann, Rebecca Steinmann) and one at Spencer Conservation Area, Boone Co, IL 6 Aug (Don Hartzler, Ted Hartzler).

Three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks stayed into Nov, each coming to feeding stations. One was in Charleston, Coles Co, IL 27 Nov (Wayne Bartholomew); another was in Miami Co, IN 11 Nov (Bruce Mohler), and the third was in Urbana, Champaign Co, IL 11 Nov (Roger Digges). A Blue Grosbeak at Stump Lake, Jersey Co, IL 25 Oct (ph. Mike Thelan) was notably late. Quite the find was a male Painted Bunting in Alden Township, McHenry Co, IL 30 Nov+ (ph. Randy Schietzelt).

Report processed by Eric DeFonso, 06 Feb 2024.

Photos–Illinois & Indiana: Fall 2021

Illinois’s second Mexican Violetear made use of hummingbird feeders in a Mundelein, IL neighborhood 20–24 Aug 2021 (here 22 Aug), and its long stay enabled many delighted individuals to see it. Photo © Junko Yokota.

Present at Carlyle Lake in southern Illinois 11–13 Aug 2021 (here 11 Aug), this Royal Tern was the second for Illinois in 2021 after a six-year drought in which the species was not detected. Photo © C. Leroy Harrison.

Found by Katy Banning and Kimberly Rohling, this Roseate Spoonbill graced Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Williamson Co, IL during 20 Aug–4 Sep 2021 (here 21 Aug). Spoonbills have been recorded in Illinois in five of the last 10 years. Photo © Keith A. McMullen.

One of seven in the region, this Swallow-tailed Kite lingered in northwestern Indiana (Newton Co) for more than two weeks and was captured in this interesting pose on 22 Aug 2021. Photo © Chandler Roberts.

Illinois’s second Small-billed Elaenia was a bird discovered in Waukegan, Lake County 26 Nov 2021 by Susan Zelek; it stayed past the end of the season (here 4 Dec). A steady stream of excited birders observed it in the small patch of trees and shrubs that it favored. Photo © Geoffrey A. Williamson.

For more than a week, this molting adult male Vermilion Flycatcher remained on a farm in southern Indiana (Harrison Co), much to the delight of birders throughout the area. 22 Sep 2021. Photo © Ryan J. Sanderson.

There are few Painted Bunting records later than August in Illinois, making especially notable this striking male in Alden Township, McHenry Co 30 Nov 2021 and into the winter season. Photo © Randall Schietzelt.