Mississippi Kites at Bloom School

A few birders (and quite a few curious others) gathered near Bloom School by a playground to observe two Mississippi Kites flying around the area. We were lucky enough to get a great look at this bird and to snap a couple of photos.

Mississippi Kite {Ictinia mississippiensis}

Dakota also got some good shots of the bird. The Mississipi Kite was a life bird for Dakota, my two nieces Sammie and Allison, and also for me.

Mississippi Kite

Bald Eagle on the Rock River

Yesterday (8-15-08) While fishing on the Rock River just west of the airport where the Kishwaukee River joins with the Rock River
A Bald Eagle flew over me.Just above the trre tops,not enough time to get the camera out and take a picture.
Also saw about 17 Great Blue Heron the reason for about is some of these fly off and I may have seen them again in a different part
of the river,also 3 Belted Kingfishers,2 Semipalmated Plower,Tree and Rough-winged Swallows,no Ducks of any kind.
Fishing was good.

American Golden-plover

An American Golden-plover flew over and landed at the storm water retention basin along Belt Line Road, just east of the airport quarry, around 4:30 p.m. today. It was approximately 50% molted into basic plumage.

The basin is drying up pretty quickly, but there was still a nice assortment of shorebird species there, albeit in small numbers. The list included Least, Semipalmated and Baird’s Sandpipers, a couple of Pectorals, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted, a couple of Solitary Sandpipers, the Golden-plover, and, of course, Killdeer.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Cooling Sod Farm, Cherry Valley

I located one Buff-breasted Sandpiper among 400+ Killdeer at Cooling Sod Farm later this morning. It was fairly close to the road (150 meters) on the west side of Wheeler Road. There were quite a few other birds in the distance, but the heat haze made scoping them difficult. By shape and size, the large majority were more Killdeer.

Early morning is going to have the best light to look at the west side of the road. Be careful because the traffic is very fast and there are only a few gravel pads that are entries to the sod fields on which you can park to be completely off of the road. Do not enter the sod farms. It is private property and posted.

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Wood Thrush

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Another shorebird spot

This afternoon, I was driving east on Belt Line Road south of the Chicago Rockford airport. On the south side of Belt Line Road, just East of the radar facility and locked gravel quarry, is a storm water retention area that still has a lot of water in it. It has a lot of sand and gravel, plus mud, and had quite a few shorebirds, including 5 Stilt Sandpipers, most of which were in various stages of molt, but which were all adults. A total of 9 species were present, including more Semipalmated Sandpipers than I have previously seen this summer (8).

So, if you are in that neighborhood, check that spot. Even though it is close to the road, a scope will be handy for the peeps.

3 immature Bald Eagles were flying over the quarry pond or perched in a dead tree on the east side of the quarry. One of them was a 3rd year bird with a white head and tail, but with black through the eye, much like an Osprey. Its belly was mostly, but not quite, molted into brown feathers.

fall shorebird habitat

Most of the flooded farm fields have now dried up. One spot that still is flooded and attracting shorebirds is the pasture at the intersection of Roscoe and Gleasman Roads west of Roscoe. There has not been a lot of variety yet this fall, but yesterday there were large numbers of Pectoral Sandpipers, plus both species of yellowlegs, a couple of Least and Solitary Sandpipers, plus one Semipalmated Sandpiper and a lot of Killdeer.

This is the pasture that had the Marbled Godwit and up to 6 Wilson’s Phalaropes in May.

The flooded field at the corner of Moody & Blodgett Roads is almost dried up. There were 26 gulls there yesterday, including 2 Herring Gulls (1 immature) and 14 immature Ring-billed Gulls. These are probably post-breeding wanderers from Waukegan (Lake Co.) area. The Common Tern that was at the east end of Moody Road last weekend was likely from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center colony.

Another place that will likely be good for shorebirds in fall migration is Afton Forest Preserve in DeKalb County.