September 28, 2019
After meeting at the Jackson Park administration building we took a quick walk through the picnic area then down along the nature trail. The open space here offered better light in early morning overcast conditions than some of the more wooded trails may have. We walked toward the greenway between two ponds. In the ironweed thickets a common yellowthroat called but would not reveal itself for long. In the oaks over one of the ponds a Tennessee warbler and magnolia warbler were active but distant. We continued towards the greenway.
Coming to the greenway bridge we started to encounter quite a few birders. Rare birds had been found here yesterday, a Connecticut Warbler and a Black-billed Cuckoo. The word was out and the local birders were on the hunt.
We walked down the road towards the dog park. A Northern Waterthrush popped up to our left, gave us a frantic view and was gone. A few paces down the road a Hooded Warbler hopped out and foraged low in good light, working its way up a vine strewn tree trunk. After it dove into a streamside tangle we moved on.
Down the road we found ourselves in an active upper canopy flock. American Redstarts, Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers were actively foraging and working through the treetops. They moved east and out of our range and we walked down the road and back onto the nature trail where we tried to intercept them.
This time it was on! Warblers were foraging at all levels of the forest. The action was fast. Birds were foraging low enough to give our aching necks a break. For the next hour or more we walked through the forest sorting through different species-males, females, adults and immatures. American Redstarts outnumbered all other birds, even chickadees and titmice, by a long shot. We were constantly serenaded by White and Red-eyed Vireos and Eastern Wood-Pewees whistled plaintively.
The warbler trail proved to live up to its name. We tallied eleven species of warbler on a short walk down. Many birds were foraging just feet away.
As mid-day approached the day warmed and bird action died down a bit. We took the opportunity to enjoy a picnic in the shade and talk birds for a while. It was a very pleasant way to wind down after a fun morning of birding with a great group in a wonderfully birdy park.