This morning I decided to bike down to Deer Run FP. Had a pretty good ride, picked up a Eurasian Colored-Dove at someone’s feeders on the way, and at Deer Run had Henslow’s Sparrow, Sedge Wren, Dickcissel, and a couple of Sandhill Cranes. On the way back, I saw a few Bank Swallows and Cliff Swallows.
Today my mom and I decided to visit Rock Cut State Park. We were there from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM. We saw many species, including 2 breeding male Blackburnian Warblers! This was very exciting for me as I have never seen one in the wild before. We saw…
Blackburnian Warbler (2)
Blackpoll Warbler (2)
Yellow Warbler (3)
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (2)
Yellow-Rumped Warbler (1)
Magnolia Warbler (1)
Scarlet Tanager (2)
Turkey Vulture (3)
Wild Turkey (2)
Blue Jay (1)
Canada Goose (10)
Bay-breasted Warbler (1)
Brown-headed Cowbird (5)
Song Sparrow (1)
Today my mom and I went to Rock Cut State Park. We were there from 3:15 PM -4:30 PM. Our birding friends call it “Warbler Nirvana” during migration! They were totally right! It was so alive with activity. We saw..
Spotted Sandpiper (1) Western Palm Warbler
Canada Goose Black-and-White Warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Tree Swallow Northern Waterthrush
Yellow Warbler Black-Throated Green Warbler
Northern Parula Wilson’s Warbler
American Redstart Brown Thrasher
Swainson’s Thrush Blue Jay
Gray Catbird Northern Cardinal
As some of you may be aware, I was attempting a big year in Boone Cty this last year. I ended up with 215 species, which was a little lower than the 230 I was hoping for, but this was not a very good year for shorebirds, and that was one area that I ended up being distinctly low on. The first bird I had at the beginning of the year was Red-bellied Woodpecker, and the last bird was Peregrine Falcon.
215 is definitely better than the 198 I had last year, but I do have some big gaps in the list, as I said I ended being low on shorebirds, but I also missed pelican, a few warblers, all of the Terns, and surprisingly enough, any swans.
Some that I did managed to find were: American & Least Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Hooded Warbler, Black-billed & Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Summer Tanager, Red-shouldered Hawk, Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Surf Scoter, Carolina Wren, Northern Pintail, and of course, the Townsend’s Solitaire from the Christmas Bird Count.
Overall, I am pleased with this number, although I hope to turn out a better year in the future.
Yesterday I was hitting some of the sites that I have been watching this summer along the Kishwaukee river from Belvidere to the county line. I managed to find most of birds that I have been checking, including one of the Bobolinks, the Grasshopper Sparrows, Bell’s Vireos, Sedge Wren, Henslow’s Sparrow, and one of the Brewer’s Blackbirds.
This morning I met up with Scott along the Kishwaukee River in Boone Cty where we checked several sites west of Belvidere. We managed to find, Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Bell’s Vireo, and Green Heron.
Yesterday I was birding over several areas in Boone Cty. I started with Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area in the morning where I had 45 species including a woodpecker slam, and a Red-shouldered Hawk. Then at 1:00 I joined Gary Jahnke at Ipsen Rd CA where we had a nice variety including Great Egret, Greater Yellow Legs, Sandhill Crane, and Barn Swallow. We then went down Wheeler Rd where we found a group of 20 Wilson’s Snipe in one of the fields. We later met up again at Garden Prairie Slough for night birding where we had a Virginia Rail and a Black-crowned Night-Heron.
I was LIB yesterday morning, I managed to find a pretty good variety of birds, including Golden-crowned & Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow, Great-horned Owl, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Rusty Blackbird, Winter Wren, and a first for the year House Wren.
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.
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.