Sapsuckers, etc.

Yesterday and today there were gorgeous male Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers here, there and around town.
Dan and I looked for the reported Eared Grebe at Rock Cut State Park. We found three Horned Grebes in various plumages, one in almost-full breeding plumage, nineteen Pied-billed Grebes, 40-45 Wood Ducks, 2 Ruddies, 2 Ring-necks, a few Redheads and Lesser Scaup and a very sassy Belted Kingfisher, but no Eared Grebe.
We also searched the Bloom School and the Marsh School neighborhoods looking for Mississippi Kites, (see the previous report on this blog) but came up empty.
If anyone sees those birds, please post. We’d like to catch up with them!

Barbara Williams

March 24 Field Trip

Sixteen club members participated in this morning’s trip. We began with several stops in Rock Cut State Park, moved to Windsor Lake and Nygren Wetlands and ended with a quick stop at Oliver Road. We came up with 54 species of birds. We did not find any particularly unusual birds.
From the Red Oak Picnic area in RCSP we saw two Horned Grebes and a Pied-billed Grebe. We saw one Common Loon in spite of there being lots of fishermen in boats on Pierce Lake. Also at RCSP, a Brown Thrasher sang his heart out from a treetop and Tree Swallows cruised above the lake.
A Sora was heard from a wet spot along Oliver Road and four Lesser Yellowlegs were in a small flooded place just south of Oliver Road.
The weather was mild and the toads were singing.

more arrivals and a note on hummingbird migration

I checked Lake Sule and the Intermodal Pond area in Rochelle late this morning. Highlights were a Horned Grebe on Lake Sule and my first Sora and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs with 14 Wilson’s Snipe at the Intermodal Pond.

Reports of arriving birds (that normally winter along the Gulf Coast) are being noted with some pretty early dates. However, hummingbirds are also being reported, including 2-3 in northern IL in the last 2 days. This is remarkably early for hummingbirds. We’re going to put a feeder out today. If you are interested in following hummingbird migration, here is a link:

http://www.hummingbirds.net/images/map-rubythroat-us.gif

Like Jack noted, we have a lot of wildflowers blooming in our woods: False Rue Anemone, Bloodroot, Hepatica are all blooming, Bluebells and Prairie Trillium are almost blooming. Our Redbuds are almost out, and the Flowering Quince is flowering. Burned the driveway prairie yesterday. Found several Little Brown Snakes around (which were not injured by the fire). Butterflies so far are Mourning Cloak, Cabbage White, and the punctuations. Barbara is working on Bumblebees already.

Sugar River on Friday

Don Miller, Barbara and I canoed the Sugar River from Yale Bridge to Two Rivers FP on Friday, 3/16 from 0845-1130. It was a beautiful day to float down the river. Lots of birds were in song, and woodpeckers were drumming on every branch that qualified as a good sound post. Highlights were 3 Red-shouldered Hawks (2 seen), 4 Barred Owls (all heard) and 3 Pileated Woodpeckers (1 seen). 5 Tree Swallows were the first ones I have seen this spring, and Sandhill Cranes were heard calling in 3 places.

March 24 Field Trip

We’ve decided to meet at Rock Cut State Park, at the parking area right next to the Pierce Lake dam, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 24. We will take a look at the lake and then walk down the bike path along Willow Creek for a while. Later, we will probably check Windsor Lake and maybe Nygren Wetlands.
All are welcome to join us!

Barbara

Rock Cut duck update; Nygren Wetlands

On Thursday, March 8, the duck flock had increased to approximately 500 birds. Most numerous were scaup (~300 with 80% Lesser), still good numbers of Ring-necked and Redheads, but Canvasback numbers were reduced. A new species from Wednesday was American Wigeon. A pair was in the inlet on the west side of the Red Oak picnic area.

At Nygren, 122 Northern Shovelers and at least an equal number of American Coots were visible from the observation deck. A small number (10) of Green-winged Teal were also there, plus some Gadwall and 3 N. Pintail fly-overs.