Warblers at Blackhawk Springs

Joyce and I walked along the path at Blackhawk Springs on Sunday morning. We found about 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers near the area where the path goes down the hill by the small island in the big bend of the river. Also, seen were 2 bluebirds, 4 Cedar Waxwings, 2 Robins, chickadees, White-breasted nuthatches, cardinals, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Juncos, Red-tailed Hawks, and Canada Geese.

Jack Armstrong

puzzling gull at Rock Cut SP

I found an odd dark mantled gull at Rock Cut SP the other day.

I took some photos which I attach here. I sent them to Amar Ayyash, who has a lot of expertise in gulls. He replied that he believes that this bird is a hybrid Great Black-backed Gull X Herring Gull. Notice the pink legs, the larger bill, paler mantle, and the white window in only the P10 primary, with small apical spots on the tips of other flight feathers. The subject compares reasonably well with photos of this type of hybrid that appear on page 293 of the Howell and Dunn Gull book, with the exception that their photo shows white windows on both P10 and P9.

Larry Balch also has commented (see his comment below) and believes that this bird is a 3rd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull. Larry meant that the mirror was in P10, not P9 as is in his comment. The subject has a mirror only in P10 (as I noted). Lesser Black-backs can have pink legs in immature individuals. I beleive that it is more likely to find a LBB Gull here than a hybrid which is unusual in the Canadian Maritime provinces and New England only in the winter (as stated by Howell and Dunn).

Dan Kassebaum believes that this bird is a subadult Lesser Black-backed too. He reports that he has observed a similar bird at Lake Carlyle. It had pinkish legs but with an undertone of yellow, indicating a subadult. Dan would like a better view of the flight feathers.

White-winged Crossbills at Klehm Arboretum, Rockford

Barbara and I walked the paved loop trail at Klehm Arboretum from 10:30-11:30 a.m. today. Highlight was a small flock of 6 White-winged Crossbills at the far southwestern arc of the loop at trail marker 11. Also there was a flock of 17 Pine Siskins. We had 2 Red-breated Nuthatches on the walk, plus heard a few calling Red-winged Blackbirds. I found some owl pellets that appeared to be those of a Long-eared Owl, but there was no owl in view in the conifer. We heard later that a trimming crew apparently flushed an owl that was being pursued by crows earlier that morning. I’ll check the spot again when the crews aren’t working. There were 4-5 pellets, so it appears as if an owl has been roosting there for more than one day.

Lesser Black-backed Gull at Rock Cut SP

As reported yesterday on IBET, the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull continued to be seen today at Rock Cut SP. It was with 30 or so Herring Gulls at the far east end of Pierce Lake, best viewed from the fishing pier at the Lion’s Club picnic area. There is some open water at the east end and it was on the edge of the ice and in the water around 1:30 p.m. Larry Balch saw it around 10:30 a.m.

At the west end at the dam is another area of open water. At 1:20 p.m. there were 3 Ruddy Ducks, 6 Common Goldeneye, and a male Lesser Scaup in the open water.

Eurasian Collared-doves

Yesterday, Steve Bailey posted on IBET that he heard a Eurasian Collared-dove calling along Edwardsville Road while he was doing a bird survey. This morning, Larry Balch and I drove Edwardsville Road and found a pair of ECDOs perched at the top of a tree in the front yard of a farm house on Edwardsville Road about 1/4 mile E of its intersection with Conger Road. A dead starling is hanging from the wires on the opposite side of the road from the farmhouse.

Larry and I also drove to German Valley in SE Stephenson County. Steve told me that he has seen ECDOs there in the past. We quickly found 1 ECDO along Rock City Road 1 block S of its intersection with German Valley Road.

Bird Photography Program Tonight

Steven Servantez will present a program on the basics of bird photography at 7:00 PM tonight- 2-15-2012 at Just Goods 201 7th St. He is the staff photographer for The Iowa State Veterinarian magazine. His pictures have been published in Wisconsin Trails magazine and Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Program is free. Sinnissippi Audubon Soc. Jack Armstrong

Rock Cut Christmas Bird Count (112) Final Results

Here are the results from the Rock Cut Christmas Bird Count [12/28/11] (CBC #112). I was delayed tallying them do to the CBC website being upgraded.

The big highlights were a GOLDEN EAGLE and a ROSS’S GOOSE. We also tallied 7 more species than our high year (the first year of the count). Notable misses were the “roadside snow birds”: Lapland Longspurs, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks because we had no snow!

Thanks to all that participated!

No. Species
1 American Black Duck 2
2 American Coot 2
3 American Crow 111
4 American Goldfinch 58
5 American Kestrel 4
6 American Robin 69
7 American Tree Sparrow 135
8 Bald Eagle 5
9 Barred Owl 2
10 Belted Kingfisher 3
11 Black-capped Chickadee 247
12 Blue Jay 38
13 Brown Creeper 20
14 Bufflehead 2
15 Cackling Goose 101
16 Canada Goose 5712
17 Canvasback 1
18 Cedar Waxwing 346
19 Common Goldeneye 8
20 Cooper’s Hawk 1
21 Dark-eyed Junco 237
22 Downy Woodpecker 76
23 Eastern Bluebird 13
24 European Starling 403
25 Golden Eagle 1
26 Great Blue Heron 1
27 Great Horned Owl 4
28 Hairy Woodpecker 9
29 Hermit Thrush 3
30 Herring Gull 68
31 House Finch 64
32 House Sparrow 151
33 Mallard 260
34 Mourning Dove 46
35 Northern Cardinal 129
36 Northern Flicker 16
37 Northern Shrike 2
38 Pileated Woodpecker 1
39 Pine Siskin 3
40 Purple Finch 1
41 Red-bellied Woodpecker 35
42 Red-breasted Nuthatch 9
43 Red-tailed Hawk 17
44 Ring-billed Gull 17
45 Ring-necked Pheasant 1
46 Rock Pigeon 109
47 Ross’s Goose 1
48 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
49 Song Sparrow 1
50 Tufted Titmouse 9
51 White-breasted Nuthatch 56
52 Wild Turkey 26
53 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
54 Yellow-rumped Warbler 19
CW Lesser Black-backed Gull
GRAND TOTAL 8659

Compiled by Eddie Callaway

Merlin found at Greenwood Cemetary- 2-6-2-12

Joyce and I checked the area around Page Park School for Crossbills and Redpolls. None were found, but on the way home, we cruised through Greenwood Cemetery. A Merlin was perched in the large deciduous tree next to Easley’s tall monument gravestone just north of the hemlock trees near gravestone for Emersons. The bird was seen about 11:30 on Monday 2-6-2012.
Jack Armstrong