Yesterday, Anne Straight spotted a female Long-tailed Duck on the Rock River north of the Oregon dam. Thanks to her call, I was able to get down and see it. I met Russ Cline and Anne there. I tried to notify a few other folks whose numbers I remembered as I drove there.
The bird was only visible from Kiwanis Park, which is on the west bank, 1 block north of IL 64 on Second Street (Ave.?). We had to look upstream from the dam and along the west bank of the island that is in the middle of the river.
The bird was seen again on Sunday afternoon at 12/20 by Andy Sigler and at 1:30 by Dustin Holschuh, both times from the Kiwanis Park pavilion.
Pretty unusual bird for Ogle County.
I checked Rock Cut SP around 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Despite the very cold temperatures during the previous week, Pierce Lake was mostly open. Only the eastern 25% were covered with ice.
There were over 4,000 Canada Geese on the lake. They dwarfed all other species by numbers and volume. Mixed in were an estimated 350 Cackling Geese, 1 juvenile blue morph Snow Goose, 1 juvenile Pied-billed Grebe (it still had streaks on its head and face), 40 or so Common Goldeneye, about 20 Hooded Mergansers, some (8) Lesser Scaup, 4 Black Ducks, 25 Common Mergansers and a single Bufflehead (female). There was an odd Canada Goose that was probably a hybrid between Canada and Barnacle. It had a Barnacle head and face but the rest of it was Canada. All of the gulls were either Ring-billed or Herring.
The Tundra Swans reported from a few days ago were not present.
Around 2:40 p.m., the Canadas started to leave. In groups of 30-200 they started to fly off of the lake and toward the south. By 3:00 p.m., there were fewer than 200 Canadas on the lake.
A few other highlights were a 1st year Bald Eagle, 20 Coots, 1 Belted Kingfisher, and 1 fly-over Common Grackle.
This morning, Barbara and I drove out to Seward to pick up some suet. Our route took us west on Kelley Road and back on Cunningham. On Kelley, just west of Elida, we found a large flock of birds, mostly Lapland Longspurs (~450), and ~50 Horned Larks. A surprise was an American Pipit mixed in to the flock.
At Kelley and Osborne, an immature Bald Eagle with a pretty white belly and breast (probably 2nd year) was soaring over the intersection. A small flock of Lapland Longspurs (18) was feeding along the road shoulder with 10-12 Horned Larks.
The Rockford Christmas Bird Count is being held on Sunday, December 14. The Kishwaukee CBC is Saturday, December 20.
Larry McPheron and Joey Holmes of Rock Valley College are planning to run the Rock Cut CBC this year, but I don’t have a date for that event yet.
White Pines CBC is going to be Sunday, December 21. More counters are always needed for this count-there is a lot of territory to walk.
For info and/or to volunteer on Rock Cut CBC, or to sign up, contact Larry McPheron at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Rockford and Kishwaukee contact Barbara and me at email@example.com
For White Pines, contact Dustin Holschuh at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Britton of the U S Fish and Wildlife Service has had to cancel coming to Rockford this evening. Sorry, his job requires him to change plans.
I drove through Rock Cut this afternoon before it closes for the annual deer hunt this weekend. Highlights were 3 Common Loons, 18 Ring-necked Ducks, 7 buffleheads, 3 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Pied-billed Grebes and 17 Bonaparte’s Gulls. I did not look in the north bay, by the campground boat launch. I suspect that there might have been more birds there because it is in the lee of the wind. I just didn’t have time to drive in to the campground.
Remember that the park is closed, beginning tomorrow, 11/13, for the annual disabled person deer hunt. I believe that the park will reopen on Sunday, 11/16. Can anyone confirm that?
In other news, Barbara spotted 25 Tundra Swans flying over our house this morning around 8:30 a.m.
I checked a few area spots for waterfowl before the weather changes tomorrow. Then I plan to check them again to see if anything new has arrived or today’s birds left.
At Howard farm on IL 70, there were 2 Ross’ Geese and 5 Snow Geese.
Lake Summerset had 17 Ruddy Ducks, 22 Mallards, 5 Common Goldeneye, and 66 Buffleheads. I have never seen that many Buffies in one place in the county before.
Nieman Pond in Stephenson County had 9 Tundra Swans, 18 N. Shovelers, and 150 Mallards.
A pair of adult Sandhill Cranes with 1 juvenile were in the Ridott area. Based on their location and my observation of a pair in that area this spring, I believe that this pair successfully nested there.