I visited Nygren around 11:00 a.m. today. There have been Tundra Swans there in varying numbers since Sunday, so I wanted to check on their status. I counted 40. Most Sandhill Cranes were foraging out in the ag fields west of Nygren, so just a few remained in the marsh.
Many species of ducks and 110 American Coots, plus 3 Pied-billed Grebes, were in the marsh.
Land birds included a pair of Eastern Phoebes and a Red-headed Woodpecker. Eastern Meadowlarks were singing, as were many Song Sparrows.
Around 1:00 pm today, Lynda Johnson called with news of a Black-necked Stilt at Nygren Wetlands, west of Rockton. It was still there when I stopped at 3:15 pm and had been seen by a number of others in the interim.
Mike Descamps emailed with news that it was still there around 6:00 pm.
On Wednesday, July 20, I checked Nygren water levels to see if there were any shorebirds. The level of the big marsh is dropping and some mud flats are being exposed, particularly on the north side and the small “island” of mud where the waterfowl and pelicans rest on the east side. So far, there were Lesser Yellowlegs and Least, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, plus lots of Killdeer.
The mud flat in the south oxbow only had Killdeer and Solitary Sandpipers.
Nygren bears watching. It is likely the best shorebird spot in Winnebago County.
Aaron Boone reported 2 White-rumped Sandpipers still at Nygronanistic 10/20 with some Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, around a dozen Wilson’s Snipe and 1 Dunlin.
On 10/21, the White-rumps, pecs and yellowlegs were still there, joined by a Greater Yellowlegs; the Dunlin count was up to 13. Large numbers of Dunlin were being seen along Lake Michigan on Tuesday as well.
Sandhill Cranes have moved in to Nygren. I estimated 50 there this afternoon around 3:30 pm. The flock included a number of juveniles. Also present were some N. Pintails (11), a few Gadwall and teal, plus a small variety of shorebirds. Other than Killdeer, there were 9 Wilson’s Snipe, 2 White-rumped Sandpipers, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, 3 L. Yellowlegs.
On Sunday, 8/23, there were 21 Black Terns at Nygren Wetlands. They were already present when I arrived around 9:45 am and only continued another 10-12 minutes before departing to the south.
The birds were feeding over the water of the marsh with a lot of swallows.
Water level at Nygren is up as the result of last week’s rain, so there isn’t any shorebird habitat at the moment except for a small patch of the gravel island.
Barbara wanted to check Bumble Bees at Nygren this morning. As long as she was going, I decided to check the water levels in the Nygren marsh and look for shorebirds. So, we headed up there around 9:00 a.m. before the temperature got too hot.
Not much was visible from the overlook except the usual shorebird suspects and a pair of nice-looking Green Herons, but, as I was standing there, a flock of approximately 12-15 peeps flew by and were headed for the east side of the marsh. The early morning light is blinding if you look east from the overlook, so I headed to the east side near the photo blind.
From there the light was excellent, even though heat haze was beginning to affect viewing. I found a total of 12 species of shorebirds. In addition to Killdeer, Least, Pectoral, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, I had the following:
Semipalmated Plover 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 18
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 5
Western Sandpiper 1 (juvenile molting toward basic)
Baird’s Sandpiper 1
Wilson’s Phalarope 1 (juvenile)
All of these were on mud flats that were not visible from the overlook. The mud flats are getting extensive and should continue to be good habitat for shorebirds. Early morning is best for viewing with light at your back. A telescope is necessary. These conditions ought to continue to be good for shorebirds, so we should keep an eye on those mud flats regularly. Please post if you go there and find shorebirds.
In addition to the Mallards and Wood Ducks, there were small numbers of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal.
I stopped by Nygren around 10:30 a.m. today and hung out on the observation deck for a while. Around 10:50 a.m. or so, the Common Gallinule swam out from behind some vegetation and across the open water immediately south of the deck and then into the largest patch of cattails with the while measuring pole in it. (Sorry, Mary) Once there, it began to sing several times.
Also seen was a family of Hooded Mergansers, two families of Wood Ducks, and a Mallard hen with 5 downy chicks. 2 Green Herons flew across and back, and 4 Great Blue Herons were present, or at least that is what I could see. 2 of them flew up from a place that I could not see from the deck. A Sora sang while I was there.
Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches were feeding young in the trees right behind the deck. Several Baltimore Orioles were around the parking lot and trees, and a Yellow-throated Vireo and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak were singing from the tree line west of the deck.
Thanks to an email with photos from Mike Descamps around 8:00 p.m., I was able to get up to the observation deck at Nygren and, after 20 minutes of searching, spot a (the?) Common Gallinule that Mike saw a little earlier in the evening. One White Pelican was on the oxbow marsh.
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.