Sage Thrasher at Sand Bluff Obs

This morning we trapped and banded an adult Sage Thrasher at SBBO. we are unable to hold birds long after trapping and so the bird was released at the front of the building. The trapping area is closed to the public when banding is in progress, so all day today and up until Sunday. If it is re-seen or re-trapped I will post the news ASAP

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Boswell Road north of Shirland

Yesterday afternoon (9/27) around 5:30 p.m., Steve Gent discovered a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on Boswell Road about 1/10 mile S of Yale Bridge Road. I went up there this morning (9/28) and relocated the bird just before 8:00 a.m. Then, I contacted Ken Frey to initiate the telephone calling tree, and I called some other folks whom I knew would be interested in the report. I took some photos, one of which is included in this post, and stayed around while a number of people who had been alerted.

All morning, the bird either perched on power lines between two telephone poles with transformers on them on the East side of the road, or flew across to the West side and hunted insects in a weedy field that has a lot of switchgrass in it. Quite a few folks showed up to see it while I was there. The bird would fly up to the power lines to eat insects it caught in the weedy field. It also perched on a wire fence along the west side of the road opposite the transformer poles. I left the area at 10:00 a.m. Russ Cline called at 10:55 a.m. to report that the bird was still present.

Here is a photo:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Boswell Road north of Shirland

Nygren Wetlands this morning

The NCIOS field trip this morning at Nygren Wetlands started right off with a Western Kingbird seen from the observation platform. We encountered lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cedar Waxwings and White-throated Sparrows. We saw a sprinkling of warblers, three Sandhill Cranes, a few early Slate-colored Juncos, some lingering Chimney Swifts and a smattering of other sparrows. Shorebirds were completely absent (not even a Killdeer!) and our only waterfowl were a few Canada Geese. An Osprey flew in and caught a fish from one of the few remaining pools of water.
It’s still very dry but it was a clear, still, sunny morning and we had a good walk around the Diane Nora Nature Trail.

2012-2013 Christmas Bird Counts & important announcement

This is a reminder to be sure to mark the local CBC dates on your calendars. AND, an announcement that beginning this year, National Audubon has CANCELLED THE $5 PARTICIPATION FEE for all participants. We hope that more of you will consider joining us this year as a result of that change.

Here are the dates:

Rockford———-Saturday, December 15
Kishwaukee——–Saturday, December 22
Rock Cut———-Wednesday, December 26

Contact details for each count are on the NCIOS calendar events on the club home page. Please call the compiler directly to sign up. If you would like to participate, but have never done so before, or are relatively new to birding, we assign newer birders to a team of more experienced people. The compilers will be happy to answer questions.

Sabine’s & Franklin’s Gulls, Golden Eagle

Thanks to a call from Anne Straight, who told me that the Sabine’s Gull found at Miss. Palisades SP was still there, I drove over to Savanna around noon. Anne and Sandy were still there when I pulled into the parking lot. A juvenile Sabine’s Gull was feeding directly out in the water and was near 2 Franklin’s Gulls, an adult molting into winter plumage and a juvenile.

Later, I spend about 30 minutes at Lookout Point on the bluffs in the park. A storm was moving in from the northeast. Although most of the birds soaring in the air were Turkey Vultures, I was able to find an adult Golden Eagle as it flew right over the observation deck. This date is a little on the early side for this species.