Bluebirds and a Screech Owl

Last Saturday on private property on the Pecatonica River west of Rockton, Il I saw about 7 Bluebirds feeding in a Multi-flora Rose bush. Ned Hollister Bird Club was there on a field trip and all were able to observe them. For most it was their first January sighting of a Bluebird.

My neighbor had called that morning to inform me of a red phase Screech Owl near his home. Later in the day some of us were able to observe it. It had remained in the same brush pile all day

Reddish Barred Owl

Barred Owl

We are doing a Deer Run Bird Survey and we came across a Barred Owl this morning. Eddie got this photo and we thought it was really red for a Barred Owl. Is there a red phase for the Barred Owl such as the Eastern Screech Owl has?

Eddie also shot this cool American Tree Sparrow. The snow is very deep at Deer Run and it was a bit hard to walk, but it wasn’t nearly as frigid today!

American Tree Sparrow

Good Birding All!

1000 Snow Buntings

Around noon today, I had 3 flocks of Snow Buntings with a total of about 1000 birds. 2 flocks each had 400-500 birds, and the other had around 35. They were all located on Montague Road between Baileyville Road and Pecatonica Road. Up to that point, Montague Road is on the county line between Stephenson and Ogle Counties. The 2 larger flocks were both within 5 miles east of Baileyville Rd.

tasty tidbits

On November 28, 2007 a local lawyer found a dead female Merlin in downtown Rockford. He turned it over to Dan and I. The bird appears to have crashed into a window and died from the impact. I have prepared it as a study skin and it will soon join the Burpee Museum’s collection. While skinning it I examined the gizzard contents and found a lot of matted feathers, small bird bones and two pairs of songbird feet that had not yet been digested. I’ve compared the feet to specimens in the Burpee collection and they are a perfect match with the feet of a White-throated Sparrow and a Redpoll (presumably a Common Redpoll). Was anyone aware of Redpolls in this area in Late Nov? Sometimes there is interesting detail on bird biology to be found by examining stomach contents!

Barbara

Saturday in the cold

Looked too nice to stay indoors, so I drove to Rock Cut at 10:00 a.m. to see what might be on the lake. There were about 100 Herring Gulls, plus an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and the same waterfowl that have been reported. The cold is evaporating the water so quickly that steam is billowing and blowing, often obscuring the birds. Too cold to stand around looking through the telescope for very long, and all of the geese were sleeping, so I didn’t do a check for White-fronted.

An adult Bald Eagle was in the large cottonwood north of the 15th Avenue bridge on the south side of Rockford, a light morph Rough-legged Hawk was hunting at Bell Bowl at the airport (this bird has been there since before the Kishwaukee count on the 29th) and there were 2 Hermit Thrushes and 1 Fox Sparrow mixed in the usual gang of White-throated Sparrows at Klehm.

Blog Update

Hello birders!! I just wanted to make a few quick notes about the blog:

Currently there are 16 members signed up to post.

To post, just click the “login” link on the right and enter your username and password (both case sensitive). If you are not a member yet (or forgot your info) please contact me at birdfreak@birdfreak.com. If you are already logged in it will give you the option of “site admin” or “logout”. You can click “site admin” and that puts you in to the “dashboard” where you can post. (Actual administrative duties are not available).

Once you are signed in you can post by picking Write Post or selecting “Write” from the menu bar. Just give your post a title and start writing!! When you are done with a post, pick Publish. You can always log back in and edit your post if you wish!

To create a link in your post select the text you wish to be linked and select “link”. A new window pops up where you can enter the URL (web address). Pick OK and it creates some code that makes it a link.

To make words bold or italics, select the text and click “b” for bold or “i” for italic. The code will add a ‘tag’ that says “strong” for bold or “em” for italics.

You don’t have to have a user name to post comments but to post sightings you do.

If you want to learn how to post images to the blog, send me an email: birdfreak@birdfreak.com and I will try to explain it the best I can.

– Eddie Callaway (NCIOS blog Administrator)

Lesser Black-backed is back at Rock Cut

The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was sitting on the ice on Pierce Lake late this afternoon between 3:45-4:00 p.m. It was about midway down the lake between east and west ends and viewed from the parking lot by the dam. Besides that, I could only find Herring Gulls. Most were in the air or way down the lake in small patches of open water.