Christmas Bird Counts

It is never too early to start saving dates on your calendar for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count season. The Rockford count will be held on Saturday, December 15 and the Kishwaukee count is Saturday, December 29. Barbara and I would really appreciate all of your help and participation in thsse counts.

There are a number of other counts in the state that need counters. For instance, I help the Lost Mound/green Island count over on the Mississippi River in Jo Daviess/Carroll counties. That will be held on December14 this year.

Merlin

An adult Merlin, of the columbarius subspecies, was perched on an antenna on the roof of the Faust Landmark residence on Thursday evening. It was best viewed from the corner of State and 3rd, near the Irish Rose parking lot. Keep an eye on that area of town for falcons. There was a pair of Peregrines hanging around that building for several months last year.

Migration Still Going Strong!

I went birding at lunch with my dad (Ron) at Blackhawk Springs and the birds were abundant and moving about fast.

Some of the highlights were: Black-throated Green, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, Nashville, Tennessee Warblers, American Redstart, and many Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The White-throated Sparrows are back too!

Blue-headed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo

Perhaps the best bird was a Wood Thrush that we first heard calling (not singing) loudly.

Tuesday I birded at Blackhawk Springs and saw three Ovenbirds in one view as well as many of the same above. The birds are really on the move and it is a good time to try and get out, even for just an hour at a time!

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Right before supper tonight I headed outside to see if any birds were in the yard and lo and behold, I found a Black-throated Blue Warbler!!

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler

He spent quite a bit of time eating insects in our compost pile! I was especially thrilled because this is a life bird for me!! The whole family got to see him posing for long periods of time which was extra awesome!

– Eddie Callaway

Green-breasted Mango Photos

This is not an update, but I found some great photos from a bird blogger in Southwest Wisconsin of the Green-breasted Mango which prompted me to put out a few cool links on the subject.
This gorgeous bird has gained a lot of attention and there are plenty of news articles online and the Rockford Register Star quoted some of our own birders!
I love the fact that birding is attracting some media attention.

Anyway, here are a few links to photos of the Beloit Green-breasted Mango!

I pray he makes it home safe!

Green-breasted Mango
This is Eddie’s photo!

Birds at Anna Page Park

IL Audubon Society held their annual meeting in Rockford (at Cliffbreakers) last weekend. They arranged field trips to a wide variety of local birding spots. Saturday (Sep 22) I led a group of ten birders from the IAS on a bird walk at Anna Page Park. We had a gorgeous morning. In addition to the expected and common birds we also saw a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, Vesper Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, a handful of different warblers and a minimum of six Philadelphia Vireos. I think there were a few more that got away from us. It must have been a peak migration day for Philadelphia Vireos.

Mango still present in Beloit

Internet posts on IBET and Wisbirdn say that the Mango is still present and being seen with regularity at the previously posted address just NW of Beloit. Reporters yesterday also found it at the house next door to the original reported location, which certainly accounts for its prolonged absences at the 3709 feeder. The next door neighbor apparently has 4 feeders, which are visible from a path behind the houses. Don’t know how to get there, but the homeowners are reported to be willing to let birders on to their property. The latest news is that the bird has been present at these houses most of the summer. The report is being circulated nationally, with an AP column that has picked up other newspaper reports. If you haven’t already, it is certainly worth the drive to go see this bird.

Green-Breasted Mango

Sounds like some sort of exotic drink but in reality, a Green-breasted Mango has been sighted just outside of Beloit, Wisconsin.

Directions: (from the Wisconsin Birding Network and verbal communication with Ken Frey)

3709 W Sandale Dr
Beloit, WI 53511

Take highway 213 out of Beloit to the northwest. The road is a dead-end road on the left and it is the first house on the right. Park on the road and walk up the driveway. There is a hummingbird feeder between the garage and garden shed. Please do not show up before 8 o’clock and be respectful of the gracious people that are allowing birders to come on their property.

Look for other birders if you are having trouble!!

Identification of the hummingbird should be somewhat easy. The Green-breasted Mango is a full 1 inch larger than a Ruby-throated and has distinctive blackish markings on its breast plus a reddish color on the throat. Check the Kaufman field guide for a great picture.

I have not seen it yet but will be going up Thursday evening and attempt a photograph.

There are excellent photos of this bird already online, and you can view some of them at Birder’s World’s Field of View Blog.

Highway 38….shorebirds and traffic!

Shorebirds

On my commute from Rockford to Dekalb, I noticed the standing water from the recent flooding is starting to go down. On Highway 38, right across the street from Kishwaukee College there is now a temporary mudflat. I noticed a LOT of birds hanging around, from American Crows to Killdeer to Greater Yellowlegs to some very small shorebirds that I could not identify.

Greater Yellowlegs

Unfortunately, the highway is very busy…ALL times of the day. There is room to pull off, but I was not about to get out with a scope. I am wondering if I parked at the college’s lot, maybe I could walk across and look more closely? It seems a bit dangerous.

Shorebirds and One American Crow
They are a bit hard to see, but there are TONS of birds in this photo! This was yesterday — Thursday the 6th. Today (Eddie’s birthday !!!) there were even more birds!

So, if anyone wants to brave the traffic…it might be a LOT better over the weekend and there could be some good stuff there! I am not good at the I.D.s of shorebirds, so who knows what else is there?

Hope to see you all at Sugar River tomorrow!