Larry Balch and I decided to drive down to Lee County today to see what might be around the Green River SWA. On the way, we decided to stop off in Lowell Park, which is on the west bank of the Rock River in Dixon. We were greeted by a Yellow-throated Warbler which was calling from the trees above the nature center at the park.
In the forest, on the way down the hill toward the river, we found a nice flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers (I estimate 15) with 1 calling Black and White Warbler and some gnatcatchers. There were a lot of White-throated Sparrows at the bottom of the hill, along with as many as 3 Northern Parula. This was the first morning when it seemed as if passerines were moving in numbers.
At Green River, we stopped at parking lot #9 on Maytown Road and were immediately deafened by Soras and a few Virginia Rails. A Marsh Wren sounded off from the dead cattails next to us at the bench by the water. Ring-necked Ducks were there, plus a shy Lesser Scaup. A Red-headed Woodpecker was in a dead snag just east of there. Our first Chimney Swift flew overhead.
A pair of adult Bald Eagles were courting in flight over the main marsh along the HQ road. White-crowned Sparrows were singing around the office with many White-throated and Field Sparrows. The main marsh had a lot of GW and BW Teal, a pair of Gadwall and a pair of Shovelers.
On Atkinson Road, we heard 2 Common Moorhens (and saw 1), plus heard a King Rail and numerous Soras and Virginia Rails. We estimated 20 Soras total at the SWA, plus 8 Virginias heard.
We checked some fluddles along Road 400N, between Roads 100E and 200E. These are west of Green River. We counted 27 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, and 1 Pectoral Sandpiper. While we were there, some longspurs flew over, and a particularly large flock settled (unfortunately) on the other side of a hill to the south. The big excited occurred when 2 calling Smith’s Longspurs flew over us after a few Laplands had passed by.
On the way back to Rockford along IL 2, we found a Common Loon in the Rock River north of Byron. There was also a Pied-billed Grebe in the river. Finally, we found the Cattle Egret, which is the subject of a separate entry.