Peregrine Falcon reported from downtown Rockford

Jeff Donaldson called me this afternoon to report that he has seen a Peregrine Falcon in the area of downtown Rockford for the past few days. This morning, June 21, it was on a communications tower near Swedish American Hospital. Late on Tuesday evening, just at dusk, Barbara and I saw a bird shape that might have been a falcon perched on top of a large smoke stack NW of the intersection of N. 2nd and E. State Street. It was in the vicinity of 1st and Madison, or somewhere near there.

So, keep an eye out for a Peregrine in the downtown area. About 3 years ago, there was a pair hanging around the old Faust Hotel and perching on the window ledges. On occasion, one of them would perch on a communications tower behind Shumway Market at E. State and N. 3rd Sts.

Blue Grosbeak continues at Rockford airport

Yesterday, 6/18, a male Blue Grosbeak was singing (and seen) at the patch of scrubby trees by the locked gate at the east end of Cessna Drive where it makes a 90 degree turn to the left to go toward the shipping warehouses. Also there was a singing male Orchard Oriole and a Black-billed Cuckoo, carrying food, flew in and landed on the fence before disappearing into the thicket. There are a lot of Dickcissels in the hay fields on both sides of the Bell Bowl prairie. I expect that the fields will be cut for the hay pretty soon.

Rock Cut SP on June 13

Early to mid-June is always a good time to go to Rock Cut SP to look for birds, and today was not an exception.

On entering the park from IL 173, I heard 2 Willow Flycatchers and a single Henslow’s Sparrow at the north end of the prairie planting. Later, coming back from Hart Road, I had two Henslow’s calling, the second a little further south than the first. I suspect that there are more out there. If you go out to wander in the grass, be prepared for ticks in large numbers. A Broad-winged Hawk was circling over the scrubby woods on the north side of the prairie.

There were 10 Turkey Vultures flying over the Red Oak picnic area. Perhaps the most interesting sight was a fly-over adult Black-crowned Night-heron (where was that coming from/going to?) at the parking lot by the Pierce Lake dam at 7:25 a.m.

Calling Cerulean Warblers (2) and Hooded Warblers (3), plus American Redstarts and a Northern Parula were in their usual places.

Starting at the hard surface trail and going west, I made a loop around the second growth field north of the creek. Hightlights were 2 Pileated Woodpeckers, Rose-brested Grosbeaks, several Scarlet Tanagers, American Redstarts and a female Snapping Turtle digging a hole to lay eggs right along the hard surface trail. Usually I hear Blue-winged Warblers near the intersection where the dirt hiking trail intersects with the hard surface trail, but not today.

3 Henslow’s Sparrows were singing from the east side of the old hay field along the equestrian trail on the south side of Hart Road. No White-eyed Vireos called or were seen from the thicket by the trail entrance at Hart Road; I found 2 of them there 2 weeks ago.

Tricolored Heron at Nygren Wetland

This afternoon (6/5/2013) I found a Tricolored Heron at Nygren Wetlands. I saw the bird from the observation deck, which is located south of the parking lot which is at the corner of Rockton and Hansberry Roads, west of Rockton, IL.

The bird was feeding to the ESE of the overlook in the marsh. It is often difficult to see when it slinks and hunts around the brown stalks of dead vegetation, or when it gets behind the Reed-canary grasses that are pretty green and tall.

John Longhenry has posted a good picture on Illinois Birder’s Forum. Look for it in the category of “Rare Birds” and the folder for Tricolored Heron in Winnebago County.

The bird appears to still be in molt. It is not in complete breeding plumage, although it is getting there. The bill still has a dull yellow base and there is still some yellow around the face at the base of the bill. Plus, the neck feathering isn’t as rich as it should be. This is likely a non-breeding bird.

Field Trip to Glacial Park

Yesterday’s field trip to Glacial Park was highly successful. We had seventeen participants, great weather, only a few mosquitoes, and a total of 68 species of birds found at the park with a couple more species seen from the cars on the trips to and from the park.

Highlights included Bobolinks, Dickcissels, a Killdeer pair with chicks, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Orchard Orioles, Sandhill Cranes and a highly territorial Blue-winged Warbler.

We only encountered five or six other people so we had the park mostly to ourselves. It’s a big park with very nice facilities. McHenry County is doing a top notch job there.

Glacial Park field trip-reminder

Barbara and I are leading an NCIOS field trip to Glacial Park, in McHenry County, tomorrow morning, June 4. We will meet in the southeast corner of the Menard’s parking lot on IL 173, Machesney Park, at 7:00 a.m. and form a carpool for the drive to Glacial Park. The park is a property owned by the McHenry County Conservation District and consists of planted prairie, oak savannah, cattail marshes and a sedge bog, among other habitat types. The park is south of the town of Richmond, off of IL 31.

Mockingbird report from Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve

Jeff Donaldson called to tell me that he had received a telephone call from a Forest Preserve employee who reported that he had seen a Mockingbird near the entrance to Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve on Friday, May 31. If you are birding in that vicinity, please post (or report) if you see a Mockingbird out that way. Thanks.