Website Update in Progress . . .

A message from Eddie Callaway, the webmaster (7/29/14):

I am currently working on editing the NCIOS website to make it possible for administrators to update the site as needed. This should hopefully make it easier for appointed users to change info in the “calendar of events” and what is displayed on the homepage.

Some things might be broken and I am open to suggestions for improvements. I plan on attending the September meeting and we can discuss who needs access to make site changes and get that squared away.

Eddie Callaway

Upland Sandpipers at Rockford airport

I found 2 Upland Sandpipers at the Rockford airport around 11:40 am today. They were in the mowed alfalfa field that is above (north) Bell Bowl prairie and immediately south of Cessna Drive. There are a couple of small gravel lanes through the field. The birds were between the lane that parallels Cessna Drive and the north edge of Bell Bowl prairie.

Bloom School kites, Nygren

This morning around 9:00 am, Barbara and I met Marj Lundy and Jamie Godshalk at Bloom School to check out the Mississippi Kites. Barbara and I arrived first, and spotted a male and female MIKI in the dead branches of the Siberian Elm that is behind the dumpster. After a few minutes, the male flew to the southwest and the female across Grenham to the west. In about 15 minutes, after Marj and Jamie arrived, the male flew in from the SW carrying a Chimney Swift in his talons. He perched in the Siberian Elm and began to pluck the swift. Shortly thereafter, the female flew in, landed next to the male, and he passed the swift to her, then flew away again. She proceeded to pluck and eat it over the next 30 minutes.

At about 9:45, the male reappeared and flew over, circling over the female for a while. While that was happening, Barbara spotted a 3rd kite to the west. It, too, was soaring high in the sky.

No other raptors were seen while we were at Bloom.

From Bloom, we drove up to Nygren. The large flock of Am. White Pelicans was absent from the marsh, but 5 were soaring overhead. Also in the marsh were 2 Great Egrets, 6 Green Herons, 5 Great Blue Herons, and other usual suspects, like Flickers, Red-headed Woodpecker, Belted Kingfishers (2), Swamp and Song Sparrows, Willow Flycatcher (in the willows on the east side of the marsh), and 2 Marsh Wrens. In the prairie that is north and east of the marsh, we had Sedge Wrens (probably 5 heard), lots of Common Yellowthroats, and a really tame Henslow’s Sparrow that was sitting on top of a dead plant within 20 feet of us and which singing during the entire time (5+ minutes) that we watched him.

Sedge Wrens

A number of people have commented to me that they are having difficulty finding Sedge Wrens, particularly in late May and June. I finally found some. Today, there were at least 4 calling Sedge Wrens at Nygren Wetland Preserve. They were in the prairie south of the barns and east of the gravel service road.

The main gate at Nygren will be open to the public on Saturday from 9:00-3:00 for Wildflower Weekend. You will be able to park by the barns and walk down the road (much closer than walking all of the way from the overlook parking lot). Plus, the wildflowers are really putting on a good show right now, so come out to Nygren and enjoy the wildflowers and birds on Saturday. Nygren will be open on Sunday during the same hours, but there will not be displays or programs.

There were also 6 White Pelicans in the marsh around 11:30 this morning. I heard that there have been up to 25 individuals there.

Lowden Miller SF on July 4

On Friday morning, I birded a long loop at Lowden Miller that started at Parking lot #2, headed generally toward the river with various twists and turns, then took the long stretch along the Rock River from #31 to #29, then back uphill in the general direction of #3, and finally the last segment from #3 to #2. I managed to find 61 species. Highlights were 2 Kentucky, 3 Pine, and 2 Yellow-throated Warblers, 14 Ovenbirds (they are still singing from everywhere in the forest), 4 Acadian Flycatchers 1 White-eyed Vireo and 4 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, which were also being very vocal. Although I generally don’t regard Yellow-throated Vireos as particularly noteworthy, they have not been singing from our woods this summer, so I was pleased to hear 2 of them during my hike. I did not hear or see the Black-throated Green Warblers reported several days earlier, but those could have been on one of the many other trails. Likewise, I didn’t hear or see any of the other unusual warblers (Parula, Black & White, Mourning, Cerulean, Hooded) that have been in the forest in past years.