This morning, I found the 3 male Redheads that Sam Oliveri first discovered last week. Also present is an immature Mute Swan, probably the same bird that has been hanging around that part of the Rock River since at least January 1. In addition, there were 40 Common Mergansers and 50 Common Goldeneyes.
The swan and Redheads were all upstream from the bridge, best viewed from the sidewalk on the upstream side of the bridge. The Goldeneyes and Mergansers were mostly downstream from the bridge, best viewed from the downstream sidewalk on the bridge.
I suggest parking on Buchanan Street, which intersects with Morgan Street just west of the bridge on Morgan. You can park on the shoulder near the snow piles on Buchanan, and it is a short walk to the bridge. The downstream sidewalk has been plowed (except for yesterday’s snow) but the upstream sidewalk has not, but has some worn pathways in the snow.
Anne Straight told me that she located a Merlin in Stephenson County. It was near the intersection of German Valley and Springfield Road. Anne said that it looked like a pale Richardson’s (prairie) type. When I drove to that area, I found a Richardson’s Merlin perched on a telephone pole about 1.5 miles north of that intersection along Springfield Road.
At 1:45 p.m. this afternoon, I spotted a Northern Shrike perched at the top of a scrubby tree in the Dog Training Area on Harrison Road, just south of where the road crosses the north branch of Kent Creek. This area is on the west side of the road> It is about 1/4 mile north of Auburn Road. A Northern Shrike was also in this area on the Rockford Christmas Bird Count on December 14, and it is likely that this is the same bird, despite the fact that one has not been reported from here in the interim.
Around 12:15 p.m. today, I spotted a Merlin which was perched in the trees on the west bank of the Rock River across from Blackhawk Park. It was carrying prey. When I got a telescope on it, the prey item was a House Sparrow.
There were a lot of buteos visible from 10-12 this morning. Along Harrison Road, near Cemetery, I had a very nice dark morph Rough-leg. 2 other Rough-legs, both light morphs, were further south on Harrison Road near the park district model airplane flying field between Dickinson and Auburn Roads. Another light morph was at the Rockford airport. I counted up to 16 Red-tailed Hawks driving around the above area, plus along Bypass 20 between Meridian and IL 2, then around the airport, and one on a cell tower by the old RR yard along south Main Street by Tinker Cottage.
Finally, a Eurasian Collared-dove was perched on wires along Halley Road just west of its intersection with Tate Road.