End of April sightings in Winnebago and Boone Counties

There has been a lot of birding activity in Boone and Winnebago County in the last 2 weeks, but no one has posted.

On August 26, Steve Gent spotted a Peregrine Falcon perched on top of the Rockford News Tower.  It was soaked from the rain and stuck around for several hours until it dried off.

Bank and Cliff Swallows, and Purple Martins are back.  I found 5 species of swallows flying over Pierce Lake during a cold, damp day on April 27, and there were many Cliff Swallows and Chimney Swifts seen over the Rock River today, April 30, from the Nelson St. overlook north of the 15th Avenue bridge in Rockford.

A Black Tern was spotted from Nelson Street overlook yesterday, 4/29, by Larry Balch.  It was still there today, 4/30, seen by several, including Joel Neylon, Brad Grover and me, with the above mass of swallows and swifts.

Steve Gent and John Longhenry had some nice finds yesterday, 4/29, with 2 Long-billed Dowitchers in fluddles by Stumpy’s Cornber (the intersection of Winslow and Hauley Roads west of Shirland) and a Wilson’s Phalarope in the oxbow of the pasture on Oliver Road.  Both speciess were relocated by Steve G today.  Only 1 dowitcher was in the flooded pasture on the south side of Winslow on the Moate farm.

Brad Grover found a Wilson’s Phalarope in a fluddle on the west side of Baxter Road just N of the entrance to Kilbuck Forest Preserve.  It was not there later when I checked, but there are American Pipits at the water’s edge and today I saw a Lark Sparrow singing from the tree line along the road by the fluddle.

Last, but certainly not least, Steve Gent (he’s had a really good week) found a Red-necked Grebe on Pierce Lake at Rock Cut SP.  It was in the middle of the lake straight N from the concession stand at the south boat launch facility.  It was with/near a small flock of Ruddy Ducks when I saw it.  (I also took shelter under the eave of the concession stand deck to stay dry because it was raining pretty steadily when I got there).

There are a lot of fluddles in ag areas right now because of all of the rain.  When the winds shift to the south, shorebirds will start to move in large numbers and these puddles might hold them for a little while for rest and food.   We ought to still have water for next weeks spring bird count.


White-faced Ibis at Rockford airport

A White-faced Ibis was discovered by Tom Little this morning at the Rockford airport.  Phil Doncheck reported that it was still present at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon.

The bird was in a flooded area along Belt Line Road just W of the bridge over the Kishwaukee River.  It is at the south end of the runway.  There is adequate room to park on the shoulder of the eastbound side of Belt Line Road.

Here is a photo: 

spring migrants in Winnebago County

OK, so the big news was Martin Kehoe’s discovery of an immature male Pine Grosbeak at his house, first in the driveway getting grit, then at his shelf feeder, or Thursday, April 13.  The bird stayed all day and was seen by many.  It was not seen on Friday, April 14 and not today.  One of my photos is attached.

On Friday, I found 7 Great Egrets and a lot of White Pelicans in a private pond on the south side of IL 70 just E of Howard’s farm.

Today, a House Wren was singing right outside our front door when I let the dogs out around 7:00 am.  A Palm Warbler was on Christian Road, and Brad Grover found an American Bittern on Oliver Road in the small pond in the prairie area on the south side of the road.  Many people have reported seeing it.

When I got home from the bittern, I spotted a Pine Warbler at our water pan.

Finally, while Barbara and I were sitting on our front deck around 5:00 pm, a Red-breasted Nuthatch flew in to one of our suet feeders!  We hadn’t seen this species at our house all winter.