Cook County - Cook County Forest Preserves

John Duffy Forest Preserve

There are pull-over parking spaces along 123rd St./McCarthy Rd. on the north and 131st St. on the south.  North side: take the trail from the parking space south; you will come into the open where this trail intersects the main loop trail.  A trail ahead leads down to McGinty Slough, which can be good for dabbling ducks in season, especially American Wigeon, and some diving ducks.  Ospreys nest on the opposite shore.  Go left/east up the hill to view the east side of the slough, which is a flooded forest.  Look for the Ospreys in the trees if you do not see them at the nest box.  One or more Willow Flycatchers nest on this hill.  A Blue-winged Warbler is usually found along the tree line to the east.  In 2012 there were 2 or 3 Blue-wingeds on territory on the north side of the preserve.  Occasionally a Yellow-breasted Chat or two is found along the main trail heading west on the north side.

West side:  This is the most interesting part of the trail in the breeding season. Listen for Yellow-breasted Chats and White-eyed Vireos along the west side.  Their territories shift somewhat from year to year but tend to be found most often along the south end of the trail where it takes a sharp turn to the east.  Just before this (to the north) at coordinates 41.6596935, -87.9275939 there has been a singing Bell’s Vireo recorded in 2008-09 and 2011 (probably present in other years but just missed).  South end:  Along the power lines where the west branch of the trail emerges is the most reliable place to find Yellow-breasted Chats.  It is usually a good location for Orchard Oriole, as well.  A pair of Red-tailed Hawks nest somewhere along the power lines, as they are almost always spotted here.  Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are found in the trees east of the small pond to the south of the power lines.  East side: The best breeding bird on this side are Wood Thrushes found in the more wooded north end.  In spring this side can be quite good for warblers.  I’ve had good luck finding Golden-winged Warblers along this side in the spring.  Eastern Towhees and Field Sparrows are found throughout the preserve in the breeding season.  Brown Thrashers are also common.  Warning: the most common flying creature here in spring and summer is the mosquito!


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