Bird Sightings

Yesterday (8-15-08) While fishing on the Rock River just west of the airport where the Kishwaukee River joins with the Rock River
A Bald Eagle flew over me.Just above the trre tops,not enough time to get the camera out and take a picture.
Also saw about 17 Great Blue Heron the reason for about is some of these fly off and I may have seen them again in a different part
of the river,also 3 Belted Kingfishers,2 Semipalmated Plower,Tree and Rough-winged Swallows,no Ducks of any kind.
Fishing was good.

An American Golden-plover flew over and landed at the storm water retention basin along Belt Line Road, just east of the airport quarry, around 4:30 p.m. today. It was approximately 50% molted into basic plumage.

The basin is drying up pretty quickly, but there was still a nice assortment of shorebird species there, albeit in small numbers. The list included Least, Semipalmated and Baird’s Sandpipers, a couple of Pectorals, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted, a couple of Solitary Sandpipers, the Golden-plover, and, of course, Killdeer.

I located one Buff-breasted Sandpiper among 400+ Killdeer at Cooling Sod Farm later this morning. It was fairly close to the road (150 meters) on the west side of Wheeler Road. There were quite a few other birds in the distance, but the heat haze made scoping them difficult. By shape and size, the large majority were more Killdeer.

Early morning is going to have the best light to look at the west side of the road. Be careful because the traffic is very fast and there are only a few gravel pads that are entries to the sod fields on which you can park to be completely off of the road. Do not enter the sod farms. It is private property and posted.

This morning, Larry Balch, Eric Walters, Barbara and I found 3 adult Yellow-crowned Night-herons in the swamp inside the loop road at Sugar River FP. Prior to today, only one had been reported off and on since mid-May. A Yellow-throated Warbler was still singing, and the mosquitoes were forming in battalion strength.

A stop at the east end of Moody Road revealed a lot of shorebirds, but they were all back lit in the morning sun. 7:00 p.m. might be the best time to check there because the sun will be behind you and the heat haze should have dissipated. There was also a Common Tern there, plus 13 Great Egrets, some Hooded Mergansers, and Ring-billed Gulls.

A stop on Porter Road to check the Anna Page Park dry dam resulted in 3 Henslow’s Sparrows, several Sedge Wrens, but no Bell’s Vireo was heard at its usual spot.

I saw the Yellow-crowned Night-heron today at Sugar River FP around 3:25 p.m. It was in the same area as before, about 3/4 of the way around the loop with the swamp in the middle, on the left hand side of the road, near the road.

3 Caspian Terns were on the flooded field at the east end of Moody Road. Don’t drive past the mailbox. Stop in the cul-de-sac. A scope is absolutely necessary. There were several hundred shorebirds there, but the heat haze around 4:00 p.m. was terrible. Looked like both species of yellowlegs, probably some Stilt Sandpipers, a bunch of Pectorals and peeps, plus what appeared to be some kind of phalarope, but that was only based on behavior. Who knows what else. We’re going back tomorrow (Saturday morning, early) to see what might be in better focus before the heat haze takes over.

3 Stilt Sandpipers were in the first puddle on the east side of Meridian Road just N of its intersection with IL 75. Also present were about 8 peeps, but they were on the far east edge of the pond, and I could identify only Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. They were there around noon today.

Two Solitary Sandpipers were in the flooded fields at the intersection of Roscoe Road and Gleasman Road.

A Yellow-throated Warbler was calling at Sugar River Forest Preserve this afternoon. It was in the pines on the edge of the slope by the Sand Bluff shelter.

There was a report on IBET that an adult Yellow-crowned Night-heron was seen at Sugar River FP today in the same general area in which it has been seen off and on since mid-May.

A couple of days ago while driving through Rockford I witnessed a group of 5 Chimney Swifts flying into the topmost twiggy branches of a dead tree and snapping off twigs while briefly hovering. Nest-building must be underway. I’ve only seen them actually collecting twigs once before.
There are huge numbers of mosquitoes out - beware!

While doing the Lake Summerset BBS this morning, I discovered a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the intersection of Best and Avy School Roads north of Pecatonica. It was drumming on an old telephone pole about 2 poles south of the intersection. There is a swampy thicket of scrubby trees very close by the telephone pole. The bird was being very territorial, so I suspect that it is nesting, or attempting to nest. If you get out there early in the morning (I saw it close to 0630) please look for it/a female/young. YB Sapsuckers do nest in IL, but rarely. Most recent sightings are along the Mississippi River. While Barbara and I were leading an IOS field trip to Spring Lake, in Carroll County, last spring, we found a pair of sapsuckers attending a nest cavity in a tree near the water.

Meanwhile, on the BBS, found only 1 Bobolink (on Maize Road, west of Farwell Bridge Road) in a pasture that was a much larger pasture last summer but has been mostly converted to corn field. Lots of Great Egrets around Pecatonica, including several egret nests that are visible in the Great Blue rookery that you can see from the intersection of Pecatonica and Blair Roads-look to the southwest). Double-crested Cormorants are flying around over the flooded areas north and west of Pecatonica. I suspect that they are nesting out there somewhere.

Two Swamp Sparrows were calling from the south side of Blair Road at Pec Wetlands across from the brown machine shed that is on the north side of the road, and 2 Sedge Wrens were calling from west of the shed on the north side of the road.

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