May 2008

Phil Schwab, Andy Sigler and Bruce Heimer all reported seeing the Hudsonian Godwit at 4:00 p.m. at the same place as Matt Vincent found it, and I reported, yesterday. Andy and Bruce also saw a pair of Wilson’s Phalaropes just a little further north in another flooded field on the west side of Meridian Road. Bruce and Andy also had some Willets at Afton FP in DeKalb County an hour afterward.

An Hudsonian Godwit in alternate plumage was discovered by Matt Vincent along the North end of Meridian Road near the intersection with Route 75. The oxbows of the Pecatonica River and flooded spots in the farm fields also have Dunlin, Black-bellied Plover, Pectorals, Yellowlegs various peeps (a full report later) and Dowitchers. The Godwit is still being seen today at 5:20 p.m.
Barbara Williams

Jennie and I did another Deer Run Bird Survey this morning, starting at 5 am and finishing at 11 am. Covering most of Deer Run we tallied 85 species including 18 species of warblers.

Top bidding goes to one Yellow-breasted Chat, one Prothonotary Warbler, one Bobolink, one singing Gray-cheeked Thrush, one Black-billed Cuckoo, and four Henslow’s Sparrows. Perhaps the oddest bird was a Red-breasted Nuthatch!

Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted Chat

Wilson’s Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart

We also spotted a Barred Owl, a singing Wood Thrush (one of four), tons of Baltimore Orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

The Chat was along the railroad tracks on the north side of the preserve before you get to the rail bridge. The Bobolink was at the furthest loop of Deer Run, beyond the tracks (you must cross under the railroad trestle). The Black-billed Cuckoo was also in this farthest field (a very long walk from the parking lot). Henslow’s was singing again at the same field by the farm field NW from the parking lot.

We stopped at Espenschied briefly (parking at the Blackhawk Springs pull-in and crossed the road) and heard the White-eyed Vireo that I’ve had several times now. Hopefully they are nesting there.

Barbara took a walk through our woods and around Anna Page Park this morning. Totalled 22 species of warblers, which was a nice change from the relative scarcity so far this migration season. Highlights were: Connecticut, Hooded, several Bay-breasted, Canada, Wilson’s, Blackburnian, Blue- and Golden-winged, Parula, Nashville, Black & White, a lot of Redstarts, Magnolias and Tennessees. There were still several Palms and Yellow-rumped around. Barbara spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the park-pretty late for those.

A Henslow’s Sparrow called from the cool season grasses on the southwest side of the dry dam in Page Park. This is the same spot we found them last July. Bobolinks are flying and calling from the grassy area west of the dam.

There were 3 Acadian Flycatchers in our woods with a Yellow-bellied and Least, (all calling), and Pewees and Great-crested Flycatchers are vocalizing a lot.

This went out on the NCIOS calling tree this afternoon at the time of the sighting, but folks might be interested to know that there was (note–WAS) a Marbled Godwit in the flooded pasture on the southwest corner of Gleasman and Roscoe Roads at 1:00 p.m. today. The bird flew away while I was watching. However, other birds of interest were present, including 2 Wilson’s Phalaropes and 10 Short-billed Dowitchers. 2 more SB Dowitchers were in the flooded field on the NE corner of IL 75 and Meridian Road, together with 5 Dunlin.

Barbara and I had a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in the woods behind the house around 2:15 p.m. today. This is the first of this species that we have seen this year.

Last year Jennifer Outcalt and I (along with a few others and help from the banding station) spent three consecutive days trying to find as many species as possible in Winnebago County. While we could no way bird for 72 straight hours, the goal was and is again to bird as many hours as possible during those 72 hours.

While Jennie and I will be hitting many of the area’s top birding spots, we could certainly use some help especially to nab some of the “trickier” birds or rare birds. With dozens of miles of trails to cover and many miles of roads to get there, we will not have enough time for many of the forest preserves and other birdy areas.

So, if you’d wish to help out, email me for details — birdfreak [at] — or just record any birds you see during the three days and email them to me.

DATES: Friday, May 23rd through Sunday, May 25th
LOCATION: Anywhere within Winnebago County
GOAL: Species, not number of birds - 150

We are only counting species so this is a little less intense than the Spring Bird Count and doesn’t require the paperwork. I’ll post the final list on NCIOS as well as

This morning before work I birded Deer Run Forest Preserve from around 6 to 7:30 and found two singing Henslow’s Sparrows and one LE CONTE’S SPARROW.

Directions to both species: Park in the “main lot” by the horse parking field and walk the trail through the field and turn right. Follow this trail beyond the line of trees and the birds were in the field next to the farm field. I got photos of the Henslow’s which I will upload later and add a link to.

Other notable birds: Wood Thrush, Veery, Golden-winged Warbler, Least & Alder Flycatchers, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and an abundance of White-crowned Sparrows (25+).

Update: Photo of Henslow’s Sparrow

At lunch time today (Tues) at Rotary Forest Preserve it was extremely windy but I was able to follow the loud singing of a Hooded Warbler and was rewarded with an excellent view.

Hooded Warbler

Otherwise there were not too many birds to be found.

After the rain stopped around 1:00 p.m., Barbara and I decided to visit Severson Dells FP to look for the Harris’ Sparrow and Summer Tanagers that have been reported from there. We weren’t lucky with the sparrow, but we found the young male Summer Tanager on the west side of the building. It was sitting on a pile of wood chips waiting for the bees to fly out of the demonstration hive, and then it would catch and eat them!! We saw it catch quite a few. A Lincoln’s Sparrow was on the ground at the westernmost feeder.

Walked the paved trail loop and found some nice flocks of warblers with a total of 13 species. Highlights was a male Black-throated Blue Warbler that was calling with some regularity, a number of Palm, Cape May, Tennessee, and Blackpoll, an Orange-crowned (it called, too), Black-throated Green, and a Magnolia. Back at our house, I added Golden-winged, Blackburnian, and Black + White, plus Blue-headed Vireo.

As many folks are commenting, warblers were few and far between yesterday on the Spring count. Barbara and I only had 12 species, the best being a Mourning, and 4 Prothonotary. Likewise, shorebirds were hardly around, at least where we were, despite all of the flooded fields.

There were a few highlights, though. Perhaps the best was a flock of 12 Cattle Egrets flying east over Telegraph Road near Nieman marsh around 7:10 a.m. We were pleased to hear that Eddie Callaway’s group saw what was likely the same group within 30 minutes or so afterward.

Another sighting that grabbed our attention occured within 5 minutes, when we spotted an Eurasian Collared-dove sitting on the wire along Telegraph Road shortly before Wiegert Road. It flew to the south as we were watching it. We had never seen this species before in Winnebago County.

A King Rail called several times at Nieman Marsh in response to a tape. 4 Virginia Rails were there, as were a bunch of Sora. We had many Green Herons (15), almost all along the Pecatonica River valley. This may be the highest number of that species I have ever seen in one day in Winnebago County.

4 Black Terns were a nice surprise at Lake Summerset. We spotted them while trying to get a decent grasp of the number of swallows flying over the lake (at least 500) and try to figure out what percentage of each species were represented. 2 Lesser Scaup and 3 Ruddy Ducks were on the lake, too.

A Mockingbird livened up the evening on Hauley Road as Eddie, Jennie and Iwere on our way to Sugar River Alder tract to do some owling, and Barbara had a Common Nighthawk at the house at dusk when she returned from birding.

A Clay-colored Sparrow was at the Blackhawk Tree Farm in Rockton.

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