Around 3:00 p.m. today, Lee and Lynda Johnson discovered 2 American Avocets in the flooded oxbow on Oliver Road about 3/4 mile west of Harrison Road. The oxbow is just before the farm buildings at the right hand curve in the road. By the time we got there at 5:30 p.m., the Avocets were not in view. Perhaps they were flushed by the adult Bald Eagle that was sitting in the dead tree behind the oxbow.
Larry Balch and I visited 3 sod farms this morning with mixed results. Best location was the Dunham Road sod farm, which is south of Chemung, a few miles east of the McHenry/Boone County line on Dunham Road. That farm had 54 Am. Golden-Plovers, 3 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, 4 Baird’s Sandpipers, 1 Least Sandpiper, 2 Greater Yellowlegs and a solitary Solitary Sandpiper.
To get there from Rockford, take the Woodstock blacktop east from IL 76 and keep following it to County Line Road, which is on the McHenry/Boone Co. line. Go N on County Line until you intersect with Dunham, and turn right (E) until you reach the sod farm, which is about 3-4 miles E of the County line. A telescope is necessary. Do not drive into the sod farm property on their private lanes.
Cooling Sod Farm at Cherry Valley had 7 Am. golden-Plovers, 500+ Killdeer, and a lot of Horned Larks. A few yellowlegs were visible in the distance. Again, you will need a telescope.
The Birch Road sod farm, NE of Genoa in DeKalb County, didn’t have much of interest except what appeared to be a family group of Brewer’s Blackbirds-an adult male, an adult female, and an immature male. Birch Road runs parallel to Melms Road and is about 1/2 mile S of the Melms/IL 23 intersection. From IL 23, turn right on to Birch Road, which is gravel.
Thursday afternoon, the 27th, I happened to see 40 Common Nighthawks in a tight flock flying south, fast, straight and level, at treetop height. I’ve never seen them fly that way before and I suspect that they were tired of being cold, wet and hungry and were moving South as fast a they could. Last night, the 28th, I went outside as the rain let up and the sun broke through and saw the sky explode with birds. Dozens of Common Nighthawks, Chimney swifts and Barn Swallows filled the air over our trees and the neighbors’ pastures in a frenzy of feeding. Tough time to be an insect!
There were 2 Ospreys hunting over Pierce Lake at Rock Cut SP this evening around 5:00 p.m. They didn’t seem hindered by the rain.
Some interesting birds are being seen in the Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park at Utica. Today, 2 Snowy Egrets, a Willet, a juvenile Laughing Gull, and a small gull (“smaller than nearby Bonaparte’s”) were seen from both the Starved Rock Marina (on the north side of the river along Dee Bennett Road) and Lone Point, part of the state park on the south side, directly across from the marina.
There are many Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons, plus Caspian and Forster’s terns. With school back in session, and the cool weather fronts moving through, this is probably a good time to bird the park and river. You never know what you might find, and increasing migrating birds should be around.
Barbara saw 40 or so Common Nighthawks fly over our house this afternoon.
On Saturday, saw the two adult YCNHs but no juvenile and since we were putting up the nets again on Sunday at SBBO, thought I’d check out Sugar River again. So on Sunday, August 16th, I returned to Sugar River and this time saw a juvenile YCNH along with one adult YCNH. Both these birds were working the pond/marsh area on the major loop in the park. The light was terrible but did manage to get some decent photos of this bird. Mosquitoes have not left the area yet and have been joined by some rather large flys (maybe a horsefly) and the pond/marsh water level has dropped significantly over the last month.
A quick update! The calendar of events for the new birding season is live. You can view all the upcoming meetings, field trips and bird counts here.
Sorry for the delay of this report. On Sunday afternoon, 8/2, around 5:00 p.m., I found a Loggerhead Shrike sitting on the wires on the east side of Klinger Road, about 1.5 miles S of US 20, and about 100 feet S of the intersection of Klinger and Lamm Roads. Klinger Road is the dividing line between Stephenson Co (on the west side of the road) and Winnebago Co. At the very SW corner of Winnebago Co, where it meets Ogle Co and Stephenson Co, Klinger intersects with Montague Road. Just E of that intersection is Spielman Road, which jogs slightly on Montague as Spielman goes N to S. At the intersection of southern Spielman and Montague Rds, in the SE corner of the intersection, 2 Western Meadowlarks were singing in the alfalfa field and fence posts along the road. On northern Spielman, about 0.5-0.75 miles N of Montague, I found 2 more Western Meadowlarks in another alfalfa field on the east side of the road.