I birded northwest Winnebago County yesterday between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm. Highlights were raptors: TVs, Cooper’s, Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks at the bridge where Yale Bridge Rd. crosses the Sugar River, plus the first 2 Northern Parulas there (2 males singing and chasing each other around).
A male Yellow-throated Warbler was seen and heard at the upper picnic shelter at Sugar River FP.
Few shorebirds were seen. Even though it is a little early for them here in northern IL, there aren’t many places for them to rest and feed because of the lack of flooded fields. 5 Wilson’s Snipe, a few Killdeer, and 1 Pectoral Sandpiper were in the low spot on Oliver Road.
A Gray Catbird was making its cat call from some dense brush at our house, then later took a bath at our bird bath.
Last Friday afternoon, Mike Descamps spotted and photographed 2 Black-necked Stilts at Lake Victoria, South Beloit. He graciously allowed me to post his photo. It is at the end of this post. Unfortunately, the birds were not present when I arrived at dawn on Saturday.
In other news, Yellow-throated Warblers have arrived at Rock Cut SP, as well as Louisiana Waterthrush. Both were first reported by John Longhenry. I don’t know where he found his warbler-I had one at the intersection of the maintenance driveway and the loop road on the south side of Pierce Lake. The Louisiana Waterthrush was below the dam along the creek.
Today, per ebird, John found a Cliff Swallow and a Rough-wnged Swallow (s?) at the Pierce Lake dam.
I heard my first singing House Wren today, and John found one at Rock Cut per ebird. Barn Swallows must have arrived in numbers overnight last night, since I found them in a variety of locations.
At Nygren, Ed Cope identified a pair of Tundra Swans in the big marsh this morning. They were close to the overlook platform. Prior to this, a pair of Trumpeter Swans had been hanging out up there. When I arrived around 12:30 p.m., the Tundras were gone but a pair of Mute Swans were in the back of the marsh.
A Red-breasted Nuthatch was at our feeder this morning (very briefly) before disappearing and not returning. It was the first of that species I had seen all year.
There were 25 Am. White Pelicans at Nygren between 9:30-10;00 a.m. today. Also present were 6 Bonaparte’s Gulls. There was a smattering of duck species, including 2 Canvasbacks that are still lingering, plus Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, L. Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, and Ruddy Ducks. 6 DC Cormorants were in the oxbow with a couple of Pied-billed Grebes.
Two Western Meadowlarks were singing in the vicinity of Bell Bowl at the Rockford airport this afternoon.
Vesper and Savannah Sparrows were singing along Edson Road on the Ogle/Winnebago county line this afternoon. Another Western Meadowlark was singing on Edson just W of the bridge over the drainage ditch.
Over at Nieman Pond, east of Freeport, a small variety of ducks was in the pond, and a flock (26) of longspurs, mostly Lapland, was flying around on the back side of the pond. I am pretty sure that there were a few Smith’s in the flock, but cannot confirm same. The problem was that the flight calls of Lapland were what I actually heard, and I couldn’t hear a Smith’s for sure. Barbara and I had Smith’s at Nieman Pond last year, so this location should be checked for them. It has foxtail grasses, which is where they seem to be found in migration.
Barbara and I found a few new arrivals at our house this morning. We had a very dull Yellow-rumped Warbler, 2 singing Chipping Sparrows, and a Pine Warbler. The Pine Warbler didn’t appear until around 1:00 p.m.
The Red-throated Loon is still on Pierce Lake at Rock Cut SP. It was seen throughout the morning today (4/5). 3 Common Loons were also on the lake, plus 9 Bonaparte’s Gulls that passed through, 4 Double-crested Cormorants, and a smattering of ducks, including all 3 merganser species and 1 female Greater Scaup with a flock of Lesser Scaup.
A Field Sparrow was singing near the entrance to the Olson annex of Rock Cut, and a Brown Thrasher was singing near the stop sign intersection at Olson annex. A pair of Osprey were on the nesting platform on the north side of Olson Lake, best viewed from the highest level of the parking lot.
3 Am. White Pelicans were reported from Nygren wetlands this morning, but were not there at 10:30 am. A pair of Trumpeter Swans was there all morning.
11 Wilson’s Snipe were in the low wet spot in the pasture on the north side of Oliver Road just before noon today. The lack of snow this winter and lack of rain so far this spring has dried up all of the usual spring fluddles, so a lot of rain would be welcome.
This is a late post (sorry), but the news was spread by telephone and on IBET. Yesterday afternoon, Steve and Dotty Cooper found a Red-throated Loon on Pierce Lake, at Rock Cut SP. It was still there all day today (4/2). It was seen around 8:30 a.m. by Al Stokie and Andy Sigler from Chicago, then again by many others during the day. Steve Cooper texted me that it was still there at 3:00 p.m.
Mary Kay Rubey has a beautiful photo of it that she took from fairly close to the bird. She said that it approached the spot where she was standing and just hung around for a few minutes. Other birds on the lake include 2 Common Loons, Lesser Scaup (+ 1 female Greater Scaup), other ducks, and an Osprey. The Osprey has been there for several days. A pair of Osprey has nested in the park for the last few years.