Illinois & Indiana: Spring 2022

Spring 2022: 1 Mar–31 May

James D. Hengeveld

Keith A. McMullen

Geoffrey A. Williamson

Recommended citation:

Hengeveld, J.D., K.A. McMullen, and G.A. Williamson. 2023. Spring 2022: Illinois & Indiana. <> North American Birds.

Across the region, a warm March was likely at least partially responsible for many early April arrivals. Like March, May was also warmer and slightly wetter than average, while April was cooler and slightly drier than average. Rarities were plentiful. First state records for Illinois included Brown Booby and Lesser Goldfinch. Unusual waterfowl included Fulvous Whistling-Ducks, Whooper Swan, Cinnamon Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, and Mottled Duck, along with breeding in Indiana by Common Mergansers. Four Black Rails and a Limpkin were reported in Illinois, which also hosted four (!) Snowy Plovers. A Ruff was found in each of the region’s two states. The season sported many Swainson’s Hawks along with a Gyrfalcon. Vagrant flycatchers included a Fork-tailed Flycatcher and three separate Say’s Phoebes. Other rarities included Lark Bunting, Spotted Towhee, Bullock’s Oriole, and Great-tailed Grackle. Three Swainson’s Warblers plus two Painted Buntings rounded out the mix.

Sub-regional Compilers: Kenneth J. Brock – IN; Geoffrey Williamson – IL

Abbreviations: DSP Tower (Observation Tower at Indiana Dunes SP, Porter Co., IN); Eagle Creek (Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, IN); Emiquon (Emiquon NWR and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Fulton Co, IL); FP (Forest Preserve); FWA (Fish and Wildlife Area); Goose Pond (Goose Pond FWA, Greene Co., IN); Kankakee Sands (The Nature Conservancy Kankakee Sands, Newton Co, IN); Illinois Beach (Illinois Beach SP, Lake Co, IL); Montrose (Montrose Point in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, Cook Co, IL); SFWA (State Fish and Wildlife Area).

Waterfowl through Limpkin

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were reported from 16 counties in IL, with the lone sighting from the northern tier a bird in Chicago 24 Apr (ph. Rachel Reichman). In IN, the high count of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks among the eight counties in which they were reported was of 21 at Whitewater Memorial SP, Union Co on 4 May (ph. Jeremy Proeschel). Five Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were noted on L. Charleston, Coles Co, IL 1 May (Ron Bradley, ph. Craig Taylor). Large numbers of Snow Geese again staged in Mar at Emiquon, with some estimates reaching 500,000 birds. In IN, a new high count in the northern tier for Greater White-fronted Geese was logged on 12 Mar when 9,217 were tallied in Starke and LaPorte Cos (Leland Shaum). The 250 counted from DSP Tower 15 Mar (Kyle Wiktor) represented the highest ever total for the IN L. Michigan lakefront. The 125 Mute Swans at Banner Marsh FWA, Fulton Co, IL 6 Mar (Lori Herrin, Lou Herrin) provided one of the highest spring tallies for this species in IL. Excellent totals for Trumpeter Swan (351) and Tundra Swan (1,162) came from the Mississippi R. in Whiteside Co, IL 17 Mar (Kelly J. McKay). Two Whooper Swans of unknown provenance were first seen south of Elnora, Daviess Co, IN on 19 Mar (ph. Tommy Grav). From 20 Mar–8 May, they were seen periodically at Goose Pond (Mark, Welter, Bill Sharkey et al.), and were last reported south of Sandborn in Knox Co, IN on 10 May (Stuart Tower, ph. Gary Bowman).

In a pothole marsh north of Crawfordsville, Montgomery Co, IN, a male Cinnamon Teal was found 2 Apr (Jennifer Hatmacher, Shari McCollough, m. ob.) and remained through 12 Apr (Lucas Wilson). A drake Eurasian Wigeon was at Rollins Savanna FP, Lake Co, IL 23 Mar–21 Apr (ph. Beau Schaefer, m. ob.). A Mottled Duck was at Bailey Wetland, Richland and Wayne Cos, IL 27 May (ph. C. Leroy Harrison). Impressive tallies of 27,302 Canvasbacks and 11,000 Ring-necked Ducks were made along the Mississippi R. in Whiteside Co, IL 17 Mar (Kelly J. McKay). At Spring L. unit of Upper Mississippi NWR, Carroll Co, IL, a notable count of 13,000 Lesser Scaups was made 17 May (Kelly J. McKay). A male Harlequin Duck was regular at Winthrop Harbor, Lake Co, IL since the season’s start (m. ob.), being last noted 5 Apr (Andy Stewart); two males were there 9–14 Mar (Andy Stewart, m. ob.). Two male Harlequin Ducks were also noted at Rosewood Beach, Highland Park, Lake Co, IL 21 and 26 Apr (ph. Matt Tobin). A flock of 100 White-winged Scoters seen on 21 Apr (ph. Tom Froman) on L. Michigan off of Dune Acres, Porter Co, eclipsed the count of 99 from DSP Tower on 20 Mar (Kyle Wiktor) and furnished IN’s second largest spring count. Lingering White-winged Scoters in the Illinois R. valley in Mason Co, IL included one at Sanganois State Wildlife Area 4–7 May (Trevor Slovick, Andy Gilbert) and one at Chautauqua NWR 12–13 May (Colin Dobson et al.). Unusually prevalent in IN were Black Scoters with 22 reported, the peak count of three logged at DSP Tower 21 Mar (Kyle Wiktor). Inland Long-tailed Ducks in IN were seen at five sites, the maximum count of two recorded at Geist Res., Marion Co 4–17 Mar (Don Gorney, m. ob.), in Petersburg, Pike Co on 13 Mar (Jeremy Ross), and in Delaware Co on 27 Mar (Drew Bailey). From mid-March through late May (Ryan Shean, Peter Varela et al.), Common Mergansers were reported in Turkey Run SP, Parke Co, IN. On 27 May, Barbara Schwaderer photographed a female and approximately 14 tiny chicks, confirming IN’s first breeding record.

Red-necked Grebe reports consisted of a single at Montrose 20 Mar (Betsy Brill, Lin Johnston), three at DSP Tower 3 Apr (Kyle Wiktor), two at Lake of the Woods, Marshall Co, IN on 10 Apr (Dale Kaufman) and singles at Whalon L. FP, Will Co, IL 12 May (ph. Jeff Smith) and at the Nygren Wetlands, Winnebago Co, IL 13 May (Ashlyn Rogers, Lydia Wilson). Eight Eared Grebes were reported from IL and two from IN. A Western Grebe was at Emiquon 13–17 May (Colin Dobson et al.).

White-winged Doves now appear with some regularity in IL. This spring, five individuals were noted. The earliest was in Carlinville, Macoupin Co 26 Apr (Eric Rosier). Three were in Cook Co: one in Niles 7 May (ph. Amy D’Arco, Kathryn Meyer), one in northwest Chicago 11 May (Glenn Forchione, ph. Debra Koss), and one at Montrose 14 May (Dave Antieau, ph. Chris Holden, Leo Miller). The last was in Effingham, Effingham Co 24 May (ph. Kodi Avery). The single White-winged Dove reported in IN attended a feeder in Perry Co on 1 Apr (Larry Caldwell).

A Chuck-will’s-widow was early to arrive in Saline Co, IL 11 Apr (Travis DeNeal), while in northern IN, where Chuck-will’s-widows are rare, one was heard in LaGrange Co 31 May (Danny King, Sam Plew et al.). On 11 Apr, an Eastern Whip-poor-will was heard in Indiana Dunes SP (Dan Barriball), providing the second earliest record for the IN L. Michigan lakefront.

Two Common Gallinules at Horseshoe L. SP, Madison Co, IL 10 Apr (ph. Frank Holmes) were early. Five Yellow Rails in the region included singletons at Springbrook Prairie FP, DuPage Co, IL 25 Apr (Joe Suchecki), in Henry Co, IN 6 May (Michael Minium, Erich Baumgardner), at Bartel Grassland, Cook Co, IL 7 May (ph. Peter Tolzmann, Simon Tolzmann), at Clinton, DeWitt Co, IL 17 May (ph. David O’Brien, m. ob.), and at Prophetstown SP, Tippecanoe Co, IN on 17 May (Vernon LaVia). One Black Rail was noted at Killdeer Wetlands, Cook Co, IL 30 Apr–1 May (Alex Haza, Jacob Vinsel, †Peter Tolzmann), and three Black Rails were an exciting find at Illinois Beach’s North Unit 17–30 May (v.r. Beau Schaefer, Andy Stewart, m. ob.). These sightings come after a string of five consecutive years with the species’ presence documented in IL. A Limpkin at Horseshoe L. SP, Madison Co 23 May (ph. Mark Feldworth) represented IL’s fourth record.


American Avocets were plentiful in IL. Notable counts included 16 at L. Kakusha, LaSalle Co 18 Apr (ph. Alyssa Rod, m. ob.); 26 at Chicago’s Rainbow Beach 19 Apr (ph. Dan Lory, ph. Woody Goss, m. ob.); 38 at Illinois Beach 23 Apr (Andy Stewart, ph. Nat Carmichael, m. ob.); 28 at Montrose 24 Apr (Simon Tolzmann et al., m. ob.); 24 at Chicago’s Jackson Park 26 Apr (Eddie Kasper, ph. Adam Benner, m. ob.); and 36 at Baker’s Lake, Cook Co 28 Apr (ph. Barbara Laughlin-Karon, Laura Simpson, m. ob.). A notably large group of 39 Black-bellied Plovers was observed at Illinois Beach 23 May (Eric Walters). American Golden-Plovers were reported in well below average numbers in IN with the highest daily count of 430 in Tippecanoe Co on 14 Apr (Edward Hopkins). Unusual away from L. Michigan, single Piping Plovers were found at Chautauqua NWR, Mason Co, IL 4–7 May (ph. Andy Gilbert, ph. Nathaniel Watkins), and near L. Gibson, Gibson Co, IN 11 May (ph. Amy Kearns). IL hosted an amazing four Snowy Plovers. The first was northwest of Gorham, Jackson Co 21 Apr (ph. Keith A. McMullen). At Montrose, one was present 23–24 Apr (Matthew Dolkart, Kevin Lin, ph. Geoffrey A. Williamson, m. ob.) while a second individual appeared 31 May+ (Woody Goss, ph. Robert D. Hughes, ph. Geoffrey A. Williamson, m. o.b). One more was in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 29 Apr (ph. Brad Semel).

On 14 May, a single Whimbrel was found at Goose Pond (ph. Alden & Jason Dauby, ph. Michael Brown) and four were east of Huntingburg, Dubois Co, IN (ph. Sean Verkamp, ph. Logan Harlan); three were spotted at Illinois Beach 19 May (Oliver Burrus, Andy Stewart), and one was at Waukegan Beach, Lake Co, IL 25 May (ph. Donna Kenski, m. ob.). Excellent numbers of Hudsonian Godwits were observed in the region, with the top counts consisting of nine at Santa Fe Bottoms, Clinton Co, IL 14 Apr (Keith A. McMullen, Mark Seiffert), and 11 at Willow Slough FWA, Newton Co, IN on 4 May (John Cassady, Richard Garrett, Bill Sharkey). Marbled Godwit sightings spanned 11 IL counties, with all observations pertaining to single individuals save for the five noted in Morton, Tazewell Co 13 Apr (ph. Bert Foquet) and the 10 noted at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co 18 May (H. David Bohlen); the 10 found at Eagle Creek on 21 Apr (ph. Don Gorney, m. ob.) represented the highest spring count in IN in eight years.

Early Ruddy Turnstones included singletons in DeKalb Co, IL 28 Apr (ph. Carly Crow) and at Montrose 29 Apr (ph. Gaerin Warman-Szvoboda). Providing the highest counts for IL in more than 20 years were totals of 52 Ruddy Turnstones at Montrose 21 May (ph. Dan Hayes), 49 at Springbrook Prairie FP, DuPage Co 21 May (ph. Sathvik Nallagatla), and 32 at Waukegan Beach, Lake Co 25 May (ph Donnie Dann, m. ob.). An excellent group of 16 Red Knots was also on Waukegan Beach, Lake Co, IL 25 May (ph. Donnie Dann, ph. David B. Johnson, ph. Maureen Marsh). Three Ruffs in the region included one at Goose Pond 12 Apr (ph. Don Gorney, Evan Speck, ph. Ethan & Ian Wiist), another found northwest of Champaign, Champaign Co, IL 25 Apr (ph. Tyler D. Funk, m. ob.), and one north of Indianapolis in Hamilton Co, IN on 17 May (Jesse Greene, ph. Austin Broadwater et al.). On 3 Apr, a single Stilt Sandpiper was found at Goose Pond (Jim Brown), tying IN’s earliest arrival date for the species. Five Pectoral Sandpipers in Clark Co, IL 6 Mar (Steven Lima) were relatively early, and an exceptional count of 12,000 Pectoral Sandpipers was made at Santa Fe Bottoms, Clinton Co, IL 23 Apr (Dan M. Kassebaum). Three Western Sandpipers were reported in IL and, similarly scarce in IN, three were found in in northern Gibson Co on 28 Apr (Amy Kearns). An estimated 200 Short-billed Dowitchers at Emiquon 13 May (Colin Dobson et al.) provided a record-high spring count for IL. The 94 Short-billed Dowitchers noted in Newark, Kendall Co, IL 18 May (ph. Ryan Jones) constituted another significant high count. In the same Gibson Co, IN wet ag fields where the Western Sandpipers were found was an impressively large group of 55 Willets on 30 Apr (Evan Speck, Gary Bowman, Heath & Logan Harlan). Even more impressive was an IL state-record high count of 224 Willets at Waukegan Beach, Lake Co 1 May (David B. Johnson).

Gulls through Ibises

The season’s only Little Gulls were at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL. An adult was found 10 Apr (H. David Bohlen), and an immature was there 28 Apr–9 May (H. David Bohlen, ph. Jared Gorrell). An adult Laughing Gull in almost complete alternate plumage was photographed at Baugo Bay in Mishawaka, St. Joseph Co, IN on 11 Mar (Eric Michael). Two other Laughing Gulls were seen in IN, and of the 10+ hosted by IL, two were at Montrose 14 May (ph. Chris Holden), two were at Carlyle L., Clinton Co 27 May (Dan M. Kassebaum), and three were at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co during May (H. David Bohlen). The lone California Gull report was of a second-cycle individual at L. Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 26 Mar (H. David Bohlen). A late Iceland Gull, an immature, was at Montrose 26–29 May (ph. Robert D. Hughes, m. ob.). More than 100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were reported in IN, the peak count of 19 logged at the Elkhart Landfill on both 28 Mar (Eric Michael) and 8 Apr (Eric Michael).

Two Forster’s Tern in Carlyle, Clinton Co 12 Mar (Mark Seiffert) tied the record-early arrival date for IL; one Forster’s Tern in Jefferson Co, IL 13 Mar (Michael Heaney) was not far behind. The IN L. Michigan lakefront’s first March record of Forster’s Tern was logged on the 21st at Seidner Dune and Swale, Lake Co (Katey Powell).

Single Red-throated Loons were found away from L. Michigan in two IL and five IN counties, the latter including a basic-plumaged individual at Bicentennial Nature Park on 22 Mar (Edward Hopkins), providing Tippecanoe Co’s second record. An IL first state-record Brown Booby, found by Russell David Hastings and photographed by Tracey Marie Hastings, was present on Meyers L., Pekin, Tazewell Co, IL for a few hours midday 14 Apr. Of the 17+ Neotropic Cormorants found in IL, four were present 11 May at Horseshoe L. SP, Madison Co (ph. Rad Widmer, m. ob.), where one or more were present throughout the season, and seven were noted at Carlyle L., Clinton Co 15 Apr (Dan M. Kassebaum), where the species was present 31 Mar+. In the northern tier, one was in Bensonville, DuPage Co 29 Mar–16 Apr (Alan F. Stokie, ph. Marcia Suchy, m. ob.), and an immature was at Lambert L. Nature Preserve, DuPage Co 21 Apr+ (ph. Randall Everts, m. ob.). The only Neotropic Cormorant reported in IN was at JI Case Wetland in Vigo Co on 29 May (Nicholas Brown).

On 1 May, five American Bitterns were seen at Dupont Natural Area (with restricted access), Lake Co (Walter Marcisz), furnishing the second largest daily count for the IN L. Michigan lakefront. Notable was a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron that was found on 26 Apr at Pigeon River FWA, LaGrange Co (Sam Plew) in the northeast corner of IN. Ibises were present in strong numbers this season. IL and IN hosted seven+ and two Glossy Ibis, respectively, with three at Rock Springs Nature Center, Macon Co, IL 23–26 Apr (Kristen Ragusa, ph. Tom Colin, m. ob.), two at Cane Ridge WMA, Gibson Co, IN on 23 Apr (ph. Evan Speck) and 26 Apr (Bob Meier), and two at Crab Orchard NWR, Williamson Co, IL 30 Apr–1 May (Dan Wylie, ph. Colin Dobson, m. ob.). Of 49+ and 18 White-faced Ibis recorded in IL and IN, respectively, high counts were of 15 at Goose Pond 26–27 Apr (Amy Kearns, ph. Jim Brown et al.), tying for the second largest total in IN; 10 at Emiquon 4 May (ph. Zita Robertson) where at least five were first found 29 Apr (ph. Nathaniel Watkins); nine at Two Rivers NWR, Calhoun Co, IL 7–9 May (Bill Atwood, ph. Nathan Goldberg, m. ob.); and six in Normal, McLean Co, IL 11 May (Michael McKinley, m. ob.).

Vultures through Flycatchers

The tenth record of Black Vulture for the IN L. Michigan lakefront was logged at DSP Tower 12 Apr (ph. Kyle Wiktor et al.). In IL’s central tier, where Black Vultures are rare, four individuals were noted, including two at L. Shelbyville, Moultrie Co 26 May (ph. Steve Huggins). A singleton was reported in IL’s northern tier at Wedron, LaSalle Co 24 Apr (Joseph Young). Eight Golden Eagles were reported from IL and only four in IN, the latter representing the lowest total since 2002. Northern Goshawk reports consisted of single birds in DuPage Co, IL 20 Mar (fide eBird), at Boone Creek Conservation Area, McHenry Co, IL 5 Apr (Randy Schietzelt), and an immature flying past DSP Tower on 20 Apr (Kyle Wiktor, Brad Bumgardner). Northern tier reports of Mississippi Kites included singletons in Lake Forest, Lake Co, IL 13 May (ph. Scott Ellis), at Pokagon SP, Steuben Co, IN on 13 May (ph. Greg Hertler), at Arlene Shoemaker FP, Kane Co, IL 16 May (ph. Matthew Stephens), in LaSalle Co, IL 20 May (Keith A. McMullen, Mark Seiffert), and at Michigan City, LaPorte Co on 26 May (Lynea Hinchman).

The 264 Broad-winged Hawks seen from DSP Tower 23 Apr (Kyle Wiktor, John Cassady, Randy Pals) was the highest daily total at the IN L. Michigan lakefront since 1992. On the same day, 233 Broad-wingeds were tallied from a tower on a farm in Marshall Co, IN (Neal Miller, Kyle Miller, Titus Mast et al.). It was a banner season for Swainson’s Hawks in the region. At least 13 were reported in IL, with one at Amboy Marsh, Lee Co 1–3 Apr (ph. Bill Rogers, ph. Diana Rod), two in Berwick, Warren Co 29 Apr (ph. Ted Hartzler), a long-staying individual at Illinois Beach 28 Apr–9 May (ph. Rob Birnberg, Paul Sweet, m. ob.), and one at the traditional Burlington, Kane Co site where the species summers, first found 23 Apr (Scott Cohrs). In IN, where Swainson’s Hawks are much less frequent, two light-morph adults were seen: one was at Goose Pond 14 Apr (Amy Kearns, Gary Langell) and the other on the south side of Terre Haute, Vigo Co on 28 May (Michael Brown). An exceptionally late Rough-legged Hawk was seen in Winthrop Harbor, Lake Co, IL 22 May (James Steffen).

Late Snowy Owls in IL included single birds at Chicago’s Northerly Island 9 May (ph. Aaron Gyllenhaal) and in Ogle Co 15 May (ph. fide eBird). Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were present in the Lost Mound unit of Upper Mississippi NWR, Carroll Co, IL 14 May (Kelly J. McKay, Mark Roberts) and 16 May (Larry Krutulis, Greg Neise), perhaps on breeding territory. On 12 Apr from DSP Tower, Kyle Wiktor recorded 856 Northern Flickers, the third largest count in IN. A pair of Merlins observed in Belvidere, Boone Co, IL 9 Apr+ nested and produced five fledglings (Aarron Minson, ph. Joel Neylon). Merlins also likely attempted to nest in IN as a pair was seen in Chesterton, Porter Co on 13 May (vt. Amy Kearns et al.), 20 and 25 May (Brad Bumgardner), and a single on 31 May (ph. Carol Goodall). Singles were also seen in Bloomington, Monroe Co (where they have previously nested) throughout May (m. ob.). A Gyrfalcon was east of Monticello, Piatt Co, IL 23–24 Mar (ph. Alex Lowe-Massi, m. ob.).

Tyrannus species were quite prominent this season, particularly at the North Unit of Illinois Beach. Western Kingbirds were reported from eight IL and two IN counties. In IL, two arrived back at the traditional Granite City, Madison Co site 30 Apr+ (Frank Holmes, m. ob.), two returned to the traditional East St. Louis, St. Clair Co location 2 May+ (Keith A. McMullen, m. ob.), and two were at Illinois Beach 2 May (ph. Nat Carmichael, m. ob.), with one remaining through 11 May (Jennifer Hovey). One was back at the Havana, Mason Co nesting site 7 May (Andy Gilbert), then two were there 12 May+ (Colin Dobson, m. ob.). Singles were seen at four other IL locations. In IN, one to three Western Kingbirds were seen throughout May at the traditional breeding site on the north side of Evansville, Vanderburgh Co (m. ob.), and singles were seen at DSP Tower on 11 May (John Kendall) and 15 May (Kyle Wiktor, Brad Bumgardner et al.). Migrant

Eastern Kingbirds peaked in the first half of May with high counts of 95 at Illinois Beach 5 May (Michal Furmanek) and 101 at DSP Tower 9 May (Stephanie Beilke, Caleb Putnam et al.). Four singleton Scissor-tailed Flycatchers were found in IL: at Scott Air Force Base, St. Clair Co 15 Apr (Ju Mack); in Chicago’s Burnham Park 24 Apr (Jacob Drucker, Ryan Fuller, Jing-Yi Lu); at Illinois Beach 27 Apr–7 May (ph. Annette McClellan, m. ob.), and at Gorham, Jackson Co 13 May (Keith A. McMullen, Mark Seiffert). Finally, a Fork-tailed Flycatcher, representing IL’s sixth record, was also present at Illinois Beach 9–12 May (ph. Miriam Bauer, m. ob.).

An early Acadian Flycatcher was found in Floyd Co, IN 23 Apr (Tommy Becker). More than three times the average number of Alder Flycatchers were reported in IN, the high count consisting of 12 at Potato Creek SP, St. Joseph Co on both 13 May (Kyle Miller) and 15 May (Marcus Chupp). Near Lake Village, Newton Co, a Say’s Phoebe was seen on 9 Apr (ph. Tisha Tolle, Sara Boskovich), furnishing IN’s 15th record. Two Say’s Phoebes were found in Chicago. One in Loyola Park on the city’s north side was present 18–22 Apr (ph. Scott Judd, m. ob.); the second was at Park No. 566 and Rainbow Beach on the south side 19–20 Apr (ph. Dan Lory, m. ob.). Remarkably, the south side bird was seen and photographed being taken by a Merlin on 20 Apr (Wei Lu).

Vireos through Finches

An early White-eyed Vireo was photographed at Lincoln SP, Spencer Co, IN on 2 Apr (David Ayer). IN’s third earliest Yellow-throated Vireo was logged at Hemmer Woods Nature Preserve, Gibson Co on 29 Mar (ph. Lisa Todd). A Solitary Vireo (sensu lato) whose dullness raised the possibility of it being a Cassin’s Vireo was well-photographed in Ewing Park, Bloomington, McLean Co, IL 23 Apr (ph. Bode Thompson, David Thompson), but the IL B.R.C. left it as Cassin’s/Blue-headed Vireo. A record-early Red-eyed Vireo for IN was recorded 1 Apr at Foote’s Pond, Gibson Co (Sean Redman), and another that was quite early for IL’s northern tier, was well-described at Elsen’s Hill, DuPage Co 9 Apr (Lisa Gaylord).

Out-of-range Loggerhead Shrikes were noted in IL south of New City, Sangamon Co 13 Apr (H. David Bohlen), at Chicago’s Park No. 566 23 Apr (Eddie Kasper, ph. Andrea Tolzmann, m. ob.), at Trumpet Rd. Marsh in far north Lake Co 23 Apr (Eric Walters), in nw. Chicago 24 Apr (Ellis Korda), at Wolf Road Prairie, Cook Co 4–6 May (C. Walz, ph. Matthew Cvetas, m. ob.), in western Peoria Co 27 May (Janine Crandell), and at LaSalle L. State FWA 28 May (Bob Fisher, Stan Zatarski). At Potato Creek SP, St. Joseph Co, IN, a Northern Shrike lingered through the late date of 7 Apr (Katey Powell).

Fish Crow presence in the region continues to expand northward with northerly sightings in Donovan, Iroquois Co, IL 14 and 22 Apr (Katy Banning), and on the IN L. Michigan lakefront at DSP Tower 12 May (Kyle Wiktor et al.) and at Long L., Porter Co 15 May (Jared Emmack, Sarah McNichol). Bank Swallows were reported in slightly lower numbers than normal in IN, the high count of 25 registered independently on three occasions. At Eagle Creek, IN’s third earliest Cliff Swallow was seen on 20 Mar in the company of Tree Swallows (ph. Mark Rhodes, ph. Austin Broadwater, Andy Belt); another early Cliff Swallow was at the east end of L. Lemon, Brown Co, on 22 Mar (Jim Hengeveld).

Brown Creepers at Daniel Wright Woods FP, Lake Co, IL 31 May (ph. Mike Affinito) and at Skokie Lagoons FP, Cook, Co, IL 28 May (ph. John Kock) were late migrants or possibly local breeders. A very early House Wren in Oak Park, Cook Co, IL 1 Mar (v.r. Eric D. Gyllenhaal) provided IL’s second earliest record and was especially unusual given the northern location. The number of Winter Wrens reported from IL was well below average. Three Marsh Wrens at Illinois Beach 27 Mar (Steve Mulhall) were early, though at a location where the species sometimes winters into January.

Two Townsend’s Solitaires found in IL during the winter continued into the spring season. One at Moraine Hills SP, McHenry Co remained to 12 Mar (ph. Geoffrey A. Williamson), and one at Hampshire FP, Kane Co was last seen 16 Mar (Brendon Lake). Eurasian Tree Sparrows were reported from 54 of IL’s 102 counties: 20 in the northern tier, 29 in the central, and five in the southern.

Finches through Sparrows

A single Evening Grosbeak was in Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 25 Apr (H. David Bohlen, Ken Bohlen), and several singletons were in LaGrange Co, IN, the latest of which was at a feeder on 20 May (Delbert Farmwald). There was a strong flight of Common Redpolls, with six times the average number reported in IN, and multiple triple-digit counts in IL. Some of the latter included 206 at a Gurnee, Lake Co home 7 Mar (Jim Solum), approximately 200 at a DuPage Co home 5 Mar (John and Shelley Landman), 200 at a Buffalo Grove, Lake Co home 14 Mar (Jason Newton), and 190 at a Wheaton, DuPage Co home 12 Mar (Vince Moxon). The high daily total in IN was 125, tallied at DSP Tower 17 Mar (Kyle Wiktor, Woody Goss) and representing the highest spring count at the IN L. Michigan lakefront since 1994. After a banner winter season for Hoary Redpolls, having four present in northeast IL was not surprising: one was documented in Evanston, Cook Co 6–8 Mar (ph. Tamima Itani, ph. Matthew Cvetas); another was at Skokie Lagoons FP, Cook Co 3 Mar (ph. Matt Tobin); a third was at a northwest Cook Co backyard 5 Mar (ph. Kit Diviesti); and the fourth was long-staying at a Buffalo Grove, Lake Co backyard from winter to 13 Mar (David B. Johnson, m.ob.).

White-winged Crossbills were plentiful in northeast IL, with sightings from six counties there. The highest counts were of 110 in Heritage Oaks Park in Sylvan Lake, Lake Co 20 Apr (Tommy Goodwin) and 75 in Hawthorn Woods, Lake Co 25 Apr (Stephen Hurst). The species was still being noted at the end of the season with one at Lyons Woods FP, Lake Co, IL 31 May (Adam Sell) and two in Gurnee, Lake Co, IL 24 May (Adam Sell). In IN, there were only three reports of White-winged Crossbills: one in Elkhart Co on 1 Mar (Perry Miller), a single in West Lafayette, Tippecanoe Co on 13 Mar (fide eBird), and three at DSP Tower 20 Mar (Kyle Wiktor). European Goldfinches were observed widely in their regional stronghold in Lake Co, IL, and there were a handful of sightings in neighboring Cook, DuPage, and McHenry counties. Pine Siskins were widespread in IL, but they were not particularly numerous; it was also a down year for Pine Siskins in IN, the high count of 44 at DSP Tower on 17 Mar (Kyle Wiktor). A first state-record Lesser Goldfinch was banded at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Cook Co, IL 5 Mar (†Leslie DeCourcey); it remained at the site through 16 Mar (ph. David B. Johnson, ph. Henry Meade, ph. Craig Taylor, ph. Dan Williams, ph. Geoffrey A. Williamson, m. ob.).

Lapland Longspurs were more scarce than normal in IN, with the peak count only 210 from DSP Tower on 16 Mar (Kyle Wiktor). Smith’s Longspurs, on the other hand, were reported in slightly higher numbers than average in IN, the maximum count consisting of 400 in Sullivan Co on 2 Apr (Amy Hodson, Jesse Greene). A Snow Bunting in Waukegan, Lake Co, IL 15 Apr (Donnie Dann) was late to depart, and a calling fly-by Snow Bunting at Marquette Park, Lake Co on 20 Apr (Michael Topp) was the latest ever for the IN L. Michigan lakefront. A Grasshopper Sparrow noted in Chicago’s Lincoln Park 21 Mar (Jake Archbell) provided the second earliest record for IL. Early Clay-colored Sparrows included individuals at Nelson Prairie, DeKalb Co, IL 12 Apr (Karen Lund) and at Chicago’s Burnham Park 13 Apr (Douglas F. Stotz). A Lark Bunting at Chicago’s Park No. 566 12 May (ph. Dan Lory) was a nice find. Quite unusual for the region was a “Pink-sided” Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis mearnsi) in a Chicago backyard 4–5 Apr (ph. Scott Judd, ph. Matthew Cvetas). Four Harris’s Sparrows were noted in IL. Near Darmstadt, Vanderburgh Co, IN, a Spotted Towhee visited a feeder from 28 Mar to at least 22 Apr (Elizabeth Sankovitch, Logan Lakins, m. ob.).

Blackbirds through Buntings

An early Yellow-headed Blackbird was noted in LaSalle Co, IL 11 Mar (Jim Herkert), while the only report in IN other than at Grant St. Marsh, Lake Co, where they are often seen, was of a singleton in LaGrange Co on 11 Apr (Liz Yoder). At DSP Tower, two first-year male Orchard Orioles seen on 23 Apr (Brendan Grube) provided IN’s second earliest record. A Bullock’s Oriole in Winthrop Harbor, Lake Co, IL 11–13 May (James Steffen, ph. Annette McClellen, ph. William McClellan, m. ob.) represented the sixth record for IL. The Great-tailed Grackle found in Monee, Will Co, IL in Jan was last noted 20 Apr (ph. Tommy Goodwin).

A Worm-eating Warbler at Ft. Massac SP, Massac Co, IL 1 Apr (Keith A. McMullen, Mark Seiffert) was record-early for IL. Also record-early for IL was a Prothonotary Warbler at Mermet L., Massac Co 1 Apr (Anne Parmley). In IN, Prothonotary Warblers were reported in numbers more than double the average, reports coming from 49 of the 92 counties.  For the third consecutive year, a Swainson’s Warbler was in Cypress Creek NWR, Union Co, IL, observed this year 28–30 Apr (Keith A. McMullen, Mark Seiffert, v.r. Ryan Jones). Another Swainson’s Warbler visited Carpenter Park in Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 10 May (ph. H. David Bohlen, v.r. Ken Bohlen), and a third was at Washington Co State Recreation Area, Washington Co, IL 25 May (Scott Atkinson). These birds represented IL’s seventh to ninth records in the last five years. Early Orange-crowned Warblers included individuals in Urbana, Champaign Co, IL 2 Mar (Roger Digges) and at LaRue-Pine Hills Ecological Area, Union Co, IL 17 Mar (Andrew Dreelin, Sean Mchugh). These represent the third and ninth earliest dates for IL. A Nashville Warbler noted at Fort Massac SP, Massac Co 6 Apr (Tommy Goodwin) was the second earliest on record for IL. Early Hooded Warblers were at Blackberry Maples FP, Kane Co, IL 5 Apr (Theresa LeCompte, ph. Wes Sadler) and in Springfield, Sangamon Co, IL 9 Apr (Don Hartzler). Cape May Warbler numbers were relatively lower than those of other warblers in IN, the peak count of nine occurring on 12 May at Furnessville Cemetery, Porter Co (Brad Bumgardner et al.). Notable were higher than normal numbers of Cerulean Warblers reported in IN, the high daily count of 20 on 12 May in Brown and Jackson Cos (Jerry Downs), which was encouraging for this Species of Conservation Concern.  A record early arrival for Northern Parula in the northern tier of IN occurred on 31 Mar at Saint Joseph’s L. adjacent to Notre Dame University in South Bend (Jim Mitchell). For the second consecutive year, a Cerulean Warbler x Northern Parula hybrid was found at Glacial Park, McHenry Co, IL 13 May (ph. Jeff Aufmann, ph. v.r. Lisa Maier, ph. Vicki Buchwald). An early (overwintering?) Palm Warbler was discovered in Marshall Co, IN on 1 Mar (Dale Kaufman), and one in Grantsburg, Johnson Co, IL 23 Mar (C. Morvich) also arrived ahead of schedule. Similar to Cape May Warbler, Wilson’s Warblers were slightly underreported relative to other warblers in IN with a maximum of five at Cowles Bog, Porter Co on 12 May (Nathan & Angie Damm).

A Western Tanager was at Daniel Wright Woods FP, Lake Co, IL 8 May (ph. Elizabeth Hepler). This species is rare in the region but occurs nearly annually. An adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak seen in Newton Co on 31 Mar (Deborah Grant) provided IN’s tenth March record. Two male Painted Buntings were located at the traditional spot in East St. Louis, St. Clair Co, IL 17 May (Keith A. McMullen) with at least one persisting to season’s end. IL’s second earliest Dickcissel was found at Cache River State Natural Area, Johnson Co 27 Mar (Tyler Hedlund).

Report processed by Eric DeFonso, 16 Jan 2024.

Photos–Illinois & Indiana: Spring 2022

Whooper Swans were recorded in five Midwestern states in 2022. The two pictured here, of unknown provenance, were first seen in Daviess Co, Indiana on 19 Mar, were subsequently seen in adjacent Greene Co throughout Apr and May, and finally recorded in Pike Co on 5 Jun. Photo @ Tommy Grav.

One of four Snowy Plovers in Illinois this spring, this bird was present at Montrose Point in Chicago’s Lincoln Park during 23–24 Apr 2022 (here 23 Apr). Photo © Geoff Williamson.

One of two in Indiana and three in the region, this female Ruff, or Reeve, was present for only one day—12 Apr 2022—in Main Pool-East of Goose Pond FWA, Greene Co. Photo © Don Gorney.

Quite a surprise was a Brown Booby seen 14 Apr 2022 in Pekin, Tazewell Co, Illinois, representing a first state record. Photo © Tracey Marie Hastings.

Illinois’s sixth Fork-tailed Flycatcher was present at the North Unit of Illinois Beach State Park, Lake Co during 9–12 May 2022 (here 10 May), allowing many individuals to see it. Photo © Ryan Jones.

Illinois’s first state record of Lesser Goldfinch visited feeders at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Cook Co during 5–16 Mar 2022 (here 6 Mar), where it was also netted, measured, and banded by Leslie DeCourcey. Photo © Geoff Williamson.

This Pink-sided Junco visited a Chicago backyard during 4–5 Apr 2022. There are very few well documented records for Illinois of this form of Dark-eyed Junco. Photo © Scott Judd.

A skulker that did not visit often, this Spotted Towhee nevertheless was present for nearly a month (late March–late April, here 31 Mar 2022) at a feeder north of Evansville, Vanderburgh Co, Indiana. Photo © Evan Speck.

A Bullock’s Oriole seen 11–13 May 2022 (here 13 May) in Winthrop Harbor, Lake Co provided the sixth record for Illinois. Photo © Annette McClellan.