Here are the dates for various Christmas Bird Counts in the Rockford area. Please contact the compilers to participate (assuming that you have not previously signed up at the Rockford Bird Club meeting in November). If you feed birds and live inside one of the count circle areas, your participation is very welcome and there is no charge! Here they are:
Rockford CBC. Saturday, December 18. Contact Dan Williams at 815-968-4732 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rock Cut CBC. Sunday, December 19. Contact Eddie Callaway at 815-323-0011 or at email@example.com
Whie Pines CBC. Sunday, December 19. Contact Eric Walters at 847-246-4312 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kishwaukee CBC. Wednesday, December 22. Contact Barbara Williams at 815-968-4732 or at email@example.com
The National Audubon Society charges $5/person/per count for a participation fee to help defray the expense of accumulating and processing the data gathered on the counts. No charge for feeder watchers! If you can particpate, even for 1/2 of a day, please let us know. We can certainly use your help.
Thank you for volunteering.
14 Tundra Swans were at Nieman Pond, on the east side of Freeport and north of the tire factory on Springfield Road, on both Saturday and Sunday of this past weekend. They were found by Anne Straight on Saturday and I saw them on Sunday morning.
We had twelve participants for this morning’s trip. We started with several locations at Rock Cut State Park, then visited Windsor Lake, Nygren Wetlands and the Howard Farm on Rte. 70. We finished at about 12:30 with a total of 47 species.
The highlights were six Ross’s Geese at Howard’s Farm. They were in the company of about six Snow Geese, an adult Blue Goose and an immature Blue Goose. Several flocks of Canada Geese had Cackling Geese mixed in, but also other subspecies of Canada. A flock of about 20 Snow Buntings was seen briefly near the observation deck at Nygren Wetlands. About 100 Sandhill cranes were seen at Nygren and another fifty or so flew over Howard’s Farm.
The lakes at Rock Cut State Park had three Common Loons, a Pied-billed Grebe, a Horned Grebe, 3 Bonaparte’s Gulls, Bufflehead, Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and Bald Eagle. But, overall, the waterfowl species diversity was low.
Here’s the morning’s list:
Great Blue Heron
Am. Tree Sparrow
European House Sparrow
A group of abut 250 Snowbuntings and Lapland longspurs were seen Friday 11-19-10 0.2 mile north of the intersection of Afolkey Rd. and Brick School Rd. in Sephenson County.
Donna and I decided to go to Edwards Orchard West for some critters, via Rock Cut, Nygren, and some open country. Very little around, it seems. At Pierce Lake our only waterfowl were the always-to-be-expected mallards and Canadas in small numbers and 2 rather interesting ducks too far off to ID even at Questar 60X. There were 4 Common Loons, a 3rd-year Bald Eagle, a couple of Ring-billed Gulls, and 14 Bonaparte’s Gulls.
Nygren was exceedingly quiet. A couple of Hooded Mergs, a few Green-winged Teal, and 20+ snipe, plus a few species not worth mentioning. No cranes or raptors.
Between there and Edwards, we saw only crows, doves, starlings, and Red-tails.
A Ross’ Goose was among 1400 Cackling Geese at Nieman’s Pond this afternoon. Also present was a Snow Goose and a Blue Goose. Nieman Pond is at the north end of Springfield Road, north of the Kelly Springfield tire plant, on the east side of Freeport.
8 N. Pintails were in the flooded oxbows north of Ridott with a few GW Teal.
Lake Summerset had Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, Common Mergansers and an Am. Wigeon besides a small flock of Coots.
32 Green-winged Teal were in the ponds at Howard’s Farm on IL 70.
Dan Williams just called (2:20) to say he is looking at a Cattle Egret in a horse pasture on South Bluff Road, about a quarter of a mile north of Rockton Rd. The bird may have been there the past 5 days.
The pasture is on the west side of the road, opposite houses numbered 14015 and 140131. As the pasture slopes away and the bird is at the far end, you will have to get out of your car and stand to get enough elevation to see it.
PS: Dan reports that there are a lot of snipe and a White-fronted Goose at Nygren.
Barbara and I hiked the loop trail around Nygren Wetlands this morning. The new trail signs look great!
A skin of ice covered most of the still water visible from the observation platform but a variety of puddle ducks was present in the open water to the SE, best viewed from the trail that runs along the east side of the marsh. We counted 9 Wilson’s Snipe, plus 4 Killdeer and 2 Ring-billed Gulls, too.
An immature harrier was working the grassland. Quite a few Fox Sparrows were along the east side near the portajohn. They were mixed in with W/C and W/T Sparrows. American Tree Sparrows were present in very good numbers, but only a few juncos. I heard Snow Buntings fly over.
This evening at dusk, 2 Great Horned Owls were heard from the observation deck, but no Short-eared Owls were seen. The Sandhill Crane numbers are starting to build up.
Yesterday, November 3, I stopped at Lake Summerset to check for waterfowl. While I was scoping a pretty ordinary flock of ducks, a flight of passerines flew into my view. They were 24 Snow Buntings, repeatedly flying over the lake (and over the ducks). Thse are the first Snow Buntings I have seen this fall.