Waterfowl are coming through in good numbers. Again checked the floods on North Pecatonica and Blair RD. Still a lot of whitefronts there, but far fewer snow geese. Just saw one white morph snow goose, with several dark morphs. Far more pintails, and see additional species from yesterday : American wigeon ( a pair), ring-necked ducks and northern shoveler ( reported by Phil Donchek this afternoon). Of note there were at least 6 ROSS”S GEESE along Blair RD. Met Dan Williams on Blair where we got a tip off of thousands of Geese on N Fairwell Bridge Rd. There were an estimated 10,000 geese in floods by Maize Rd. Approximately 5,000 white-fronts, 5,000 snow geese and 100 ( estimated) Ross’s Geese. American pipit was heard in flight and a red-shouldered hawk passed over. I returned via Rockford Airport, looking for pipits, meadowlarks and more waterbirds. Did not find the wood duck seen by Dan Williams last weekend, but did find 4 trumpeter swans, 4 Ross’s geese, 150 or so whitefronts, 20 pintail and a number of Canada geese. Unfortunately they were flushed by a dog. There are many red-winged blackbirds on territory, and grackles are back. Keep an eye out for rusty blackbirds and pipits.
There are numbers of waterfowl moving through the county. Dan Williams was alerted by Mary-Kay Ruby that a good variety, and number of waterfowl were on the east side of North Meridian Rd. Both swans ( 2 /3 tundra +1, 2, trumpeter) white-fronted and snow geese, lesser and greater scaup, pintail, goldeneye, redhead, canvasback, gadwall and mallard were present. The numbers tried throughout the day. Most of the snow geese had moved on by the time I had arrived, but at least 1000 white-fronts were present. Several killdeer were seen and heard. The throng is tending to stay quite distant, so a scope was essential. Not sure how long they will stick. Afterwards I drove the back roads through Pecatonica onto Telegraph and Knapp roads. Oliver RD is blocked from both ends now, Checked Hooples, but absolutely nothing. I was told of a large number of gulls along the 70 this morning, and of some other snow geese “near Pecatonica”. I found two common grackles new Oliver rd. Spring is here it seems.
Sandhill Cranes are back in Pec.- along Telegraph Rd. & Blair Rd. Bluebirds are being seen at Severson Dells F.P.& along Severson Rd. Robins, & Cedar Waxwings seen at Rock Cut S.P.. White-Fronted geese among 100,s of Canada Geese on Oliver Rd.
For those of you planning to do some birding this weekend, here is some information about flooded roads. The Pecatonica River is very high and has closed some roads. Steve Gent reported to me that Oliver Road is closed, as is Harrison Road on the east side of Ferguson Forest Preserve.
There is extensive flooding west of Rockton and all of the low areas of Nygren are under water. High water has flooded the ag fields along Meridian Road between IL 75 and the Pecatonica River bridge. There is a lot of water on both sides of Moody Road, and the dead end section of Moody leading to the driveways of the homes down there has water running over the road.
A lot of ice still covers the flooded spots, but it is opening up with warmer temperatures. I only found a few duck species this afternoon. Steve G had more in the morning. He had Canvasback, for instance. We both had L. Scaup and C. Goldeneye. I found a single White-fronted Goose at Winnebago Pond and 14 Cackling Geese on Moody Road. Red-winged Blackbirds are showing up.
If south winds develop, I suspect that a lot of waterfowl will come in with it.
After the strong southerly wind yesterday, I drove around some parts of Winnebago County to see if any new birds came in on the wind. Hoople’s pond on Stephens Road still had 5 Green-winged Teal and I also found Steve Gent.
On Fish Hatchery Road, west of Winnebago Road, I found 5 White-fronted Geese in a flock of ~450 Canada Geese in corn stubble on the south side of the road about 1/2 mile E of Thedorff Road.
A Peregrine Falcon has been reported in downtown Rockford from time to time on eBird. This morning, Steve called me to tell me that he had spotted the falcon on the Rockford News Tower. It was still there when I arrived just before noon.
On Monday morning Joyce and I found 3 Green-winged Teal at Hopple’s spring along with many Mallards and Geese. We also found a male Harrier along Harrison south of there. Redpolls, Pine Siskins and many Goldfinch are coming to our feeders. (usually around noon).
Sunday evening Feb. 4 I counted 7 Short-eared Owls in the air at one time. Most of the activity was in the far SW and brush in the area was probably hiding some from view.
On Feb. 11 I saw 4 Short-eared Owls at Ferguson F.P.
On Thursday, 2/1, I found 8 Green-winged Teal in Hoople’s pond on Stephens Road, Winnebago County. They were still there today. They are pretty skittish, so don’t get out of your car if you go to see them. While I was there, someone in a pick-up truck stopped in the driveway and got out to get mail or something and spooked a bunch of ducks, including the teal, but they returned.
On Thursday, I also had 2 Am. Black Ducks, but they weren’t there today. About a week ago, a Wilson’s Snipe was in the creek below the pond, but I have seen it in the last 2 visits.
Someone I do not know photographed a Snowy Owl on January 27 and posted it on Facebook. No location given, and the photo is so zoomed in that there are no identifying details for location. I have also received a report of up to 8 Short-eared Owls at Ferguson FP at Shirland. If you go, I recommend parking in the north lot and taking the E-W trail to the west about 300 meters or so, then scanning from there. Best if after 4:00 pm until you can’t see anymore.