Larry Balch and I stopped at the Rockford airport from 8:15-8:45a.m. today (8/15). We went out to Bell Bowl. Before we got out of the car, we could hear a singing Blue Grosbeak. A beautiful adult male was perched on the chain link fence about 100 feet west of the yellow posts at the west (runway) end of the prairie. Then, we heard first one, then another, Blue Grosbeak singing from the SE and E, respectively. We followed the sound a short way down the slope into the prairie and saw both birds, again adult males.
From the car, I heard a Yellow-breasted Chat song and a Bell’s Vireo song. As we moved down the prairie slope to look for the grosbeaks, we saw 2 Yellow-breasted Chats in the same shrubby tree with 3 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Gray Catbird, and shortly, a Brown Thrasher. From behind us, we heard the Bell’s Vireo slightly upslope, and, after some patience working our way through several House Wrens in the same bush, the Bell’s finally moved out into view. As we watched it, a second Bell’s sounded off from downslope, but we didn’t try to find it visually.
We did not hear a Western Meadowlark, but we did hear and see an Eastern Meadowlark.