Latest Kane County Sightings

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This page lists sightings for the current month (or so).
For sightings from April 2006 until now, please click here.

Marion Miller on 6/22 reported via e-mail: Rich and I were fortunate enough to be observing the Lark Sparrows 6-14 on Breton St. in North Aurora when they delivered some yummy grasshopper food to their 4 nestlings. The nest was on the ground only five feet away from where we were sitting in our car! We did note on our next visits only 3 nestlings were present. During each visit the 3 appeared healthy, were eating, preening and actively flapping their wings. On 6-17 we observed one flying a short distance from the nest and scurrying back. Hopefully they successfully fledged by Monday 6-19 when the nest was empty.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow with grasshopper lunch. Photo courtesy Marion Miller.

Lark Sparrows

Feeding time photo courtesy Marion Miller

Lark Sparrow empty nest

Lark Sparrow empty nest photo courtesy Rich Miller

Julie Long on 6/19 reported via e-mail: This morning (Monday) there were a singing Northern Parula and a singing Yellow Throated Vireo in their favorite trees, sycamores, on my bird count at Ferson Creek Fen in St. Charles. They hang out in the trees that line Ferson Creek at Ferson Creek Park.

Colin Campbell on 6/18 reported via e-mail: We seem to have a "normal" breeding pair of sparrows who have produced leucistic offspring every year for the last three years. This is our current edition.

Leucistic Sparrow

Leucistic Sparrow photo courtesy Colin Campbell

Mary Ochsenschlager on 6/15 reported via e-mail: I believe I am hearing Redstarts along the Gilman Trail. I have heard them on the trail as it parallels Blackberry creek west of the Route 56 bridge and on either side of Kedeka along the creek.

Diane Hansen on 6/13 reported via e-mail: Last week was busy with family so I was glad to get back to some birding this morning. Did a short walk south from SEBA park in South Elgin to the Cooper's Hawk nest. First of my trio of baby birds was a female Hooded Merganser with 6 young which were diving and as you see on the far right, catching things. I don't know if this is the same family I posted a picture of a few weeks ago. Next the Cooper's Hawk nest. I observed 2 young for sure and possibly a third. On the way back to the car I noticed a lot of activity in a branch of a large tree near the river and the picnic gazebo just north of the footbridge. A male and female Baltimore Oriole were visiting a well hidden nest. I was not able to tell how many young were there as I kept my distance. I think I saw 2. It was good to be back out there even in the heat!

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Cooper's Hawks

Cooper's Hawks photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Jay Sturner on 6/10 reported via e-mail: This morning I was surprised to find an actively singing Brown Creeper near LeRoy Oakes in St. Charles. If this isn't a late migrant, and if there's a pair breeding in the area, then that would be the first I've heard of in Kane County!

Ann Haverstock on 6/8 reported via e-mail: A 1st year male Summer Tanager is singing loudly at Campton F.P. 6.8.17 at the woods on the Northern edge of preserve and up hill. Also, there is an Acadian Flycatcher singing today, downslope from the shelter. Big day for flycatchers at Campton Forest Preserve; I had Willow, Alder and Acadian during the breeding survey.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

Karen Lund on 6/7 reported via IBET: At 3:00 an American white pelican was flying around a field on the north side of 72 just east of 47 across from the Cambridge Lakes subdivision [in Pingree Grove].

Christopher Cudworth on 6/7 reported via IBET: This morning during my run through Dick Young Forest Preserve/Batavia/Kane County, I cut through the combination prairie grassland. From the Audubon Bridge, the two-track limestone path arcs toward an intersection with a mowed trail system. There is a post sign there that says 17, and from that spot there were two Henslow's Sparrows to be heard singing.

On that trail north there were also:
Eastern Meadowlark (5)
Bobolink (4) --male
Yellowthroat (9)
Song Sparrow (1)
Dickcissel (5)

interestingly, did not yet hear any grasshopper sparrows singing, nor sedge wrens. These are usually found on territory in this section of the preserve.

Yesterday afternoon while doing photos for work I witnessed a Cooper's hawk fly into a dense area of swallows and martins next to the Fox River in Batavia. It came away with a bird that I could not identify.

There is also an osprey rather regularly working the Depot Pond. It flies from the direction of Fermi, so it is likely the pair there.

The Bald Eagles at Mooseheart have two large young still at the nest. Last night a county sheriff had some people pulled over with his lights on, so perhaps be judicious about where and how you park. It could have been a traffic stop or accident, but be smart people.

Bob Andrini on 6/5 reported via e-mail: While looking for the Lark Sparrow in North Aurora, we also found a Grasshopper Sparrow and Dickcissel.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Susan Gabler on 6/5 reported via e-mail: We're located at Plank Road Estates in Plato Township. Have noticed a Yellow Headed Blackbird for the past couple of weeks. It loves my birdfeeder.

Jenny Vogt on 6/5 reported via eBird: The Eastern Whip-poor-will continues at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve. "Previously reported. Heard from the gate to the forest preserve. Too distant to record. "

Paul Mayer on 6/2 reported via e-mail: The Bell's Vireo is still at Campton Forest Preserve. Today the bird was singing in the upper parking lot in the west entrance to the park just behind the horse corral. Good views. Also in the same spot was an Orchard Oriole.

Jon Duerr on 6/2 reported via e-mail: While riding his bike in the Davis School neighborhood in St. Charles, he heard, then saw the previously reported Monk Parakeet.

Bob Andrini on 6/2 reported via eBird: On the west side of Dick Young Forest Preserve (Nelson Lake), an American Bittern.

Christopher Cudworth on 5/31 reported via IBET: There is a prairie warbler singing in the tall willows off New Mooseheart Road in North Aurora. The wetland has a bike path around it and the bird is on the east side of the u shaped loop. Kane County. 

Rich Miller on 5/29 reported via e-mail: I went out to Burnidge F.P. catch a glimpse of the Kentucky Warbler - but no luck. As a consolation prize, I did see this CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. In the field just north of the west parking lot.

Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow photo courtesy Rich Miller

Sue Wagoner on 5/28 reported via e-mail: Searching for a Pileated Woodpecker or two in a friend's private yard [near LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve] today, there were no signs of it (or them) for about 45-60 minutes but when a nearby Red-Bellied Woodpecker loudly drummed on a dead tree, it did not take long for this male to fly in and check out the situation. He gave us some good looks before flying off.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Christopher Cudworth on 5/28 reported via IBET: While running through the West Aurora Forest Preserve in Kane County this morning at the juncture of the east-west Limestone path and the north south path that goes by the model airplane field I heard an alder flycatcher singing from the edge of the woods while a willow sang from the lower shrubs. Rare to hear them both so close together. Fee-bee-o and fitz-bew!

Peggy Blair and Debbie Wisser on 5/28 reported via eBird: The Kentucky Warbler continues at Burnidge Forest Preserve.

Karen Lund on 5/28 reported via IBET: [At the intersection of Melms and O'Brien roads]...One of the baird's sandpipers continues at this site. The dunlin have gone, but many more spotted sandpipers today - at least 6. The semipalmated sandpipers also remain. Other species of note: song and savannah sparrows, dickcissels, northern rough-winged swallows.

Ken Schneider on 5/28 reported via eBird: The Lark Sparrow continues on Breton Avenue in North Aurora. "Drove past slowly on our way home. As we approached the red fire hydrant i saw a sparrow in the grass just past the curve. Drove up to it slowly. Had to stop and get camera from trunk but if did not flush. Instead it perched on the curb and gave me nice photo op. It then flew to the green stake just on opposite side of red hydrant. Was still perching there when we drive away. Did not try to find any others. Did not hear any singing. "

Debbie Wisser on 5/27 reported via e-mail: I was lucky enough to run into Jay Sturner at Burnidge this morning. He helped me to relocate the Kentucky Warbler he had seen earlier in the morning. I was able to get a wonderful lifer first look at the bird thanks to him.

Kentucky Warbler

Kentucky Warbler photo courtesy Debbie Wisser

Jay Sturner on 5/27 reported via eBird: A Kentucky Warbler at Burnidge Forest Preserve. "Adult male actively singing along Central Trail Loop. Seen well. Audio upload forthcoming." Also seen - a Northern Mockingbird north of the parking lot.

Sue Wagoner on 5/26 reported via e-mail: Seen today, 5-26, at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve near the parking lot by the river were three Red Headed Woodpeckers - two males competing for the territory and for the presumptive female who eventually joined the fray. Also seen there were Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Orchard Orioles -male and female, and Canada Warbler.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Ann Haverstock on 5/26 reported via e-mail: At Campton Forest Preserve today.

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

Karen Lund on 5/26 reported via IBET: The 2 Baird's sandpipers continue [at the O'Brien/ Melms roads fluddle], along with 3 dunlin, 9 semipalmated sandpipers, 1 spotted, 3 lesser yellowlegs. No sign of the sanderling or semipalmated plover. Most of the birds are in the second pond a little farther north on O'Brien.

Julie Long on 5/26 reported via e-mail: Just wanted to let people know that a pileated woodpecker was spotted earlier this week in a wooded neighborhood near Leroy Oakes. So if you are at Leroy Oakes be sure to look and listen for one in the woodlands there.

Ann Haverstock on 5/25 reported via e-mail: Connecticut Warbler at Campton Forest Preserve singing at 8 A.M. in woodlot that is east of first big field. (Not woodlot on North hillside) Loud Explosive song. He sang for almost an hour. I was doing a preliminary survey and checking out my BCN plots. He even followed me into the woodland. Bell’s Vireo is singing near lower parking area. Please do not use audio trolling for Bell’s Vireo. He is on breeding territory. So far he is my only Bell’s at Campton this season. Hope more show up soon.

Connecticut Warbler

Connecticut Warbler photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

Marion Miller on 5/25 reported via eBird: Added a Sanderling to Karen Lund's bird list [see below].

Karen Lund on 5/25 reported via IBET: [Near Hampshire at the O'Brien/Melms roads intersection fluddle] The fluddle now has:

5 semipalmated plover
2 Baird's sandpiper
1 dunlin
6 semipalmated sandpiper
1 lesser yellowlegs
3 spotted sandpiper
1 stilt sandpiper

Also singing adjacent fields: bobolinks, savannah sparrow, horned larks, common yellow-throat.

Ken Schneider on 5/25 reported via e-mail: One Lark Sparrow seen on stake near corner not singing, at 8:00 AM. No others seen nor heard.

Ken Schneider on 5/24 reported via e-mail: After a brief stop at Jones Meadow Park in North Aurora to look for Sora and Virginia Rails (we did not find any this time), Mary Lou and I headed out to the east side of Nelson Lake. On the way, as is our custom, we drove west along Patterson Avenue and slowly turned to north on Breton Avenue. Almost immediately (at about 9:25 AM) Mary Lou spotted two sparrows next to each other on the roadway. It took me a while to see them (thank her doctor for removing her cataracts!). I moved slowly up until the car was just on the opposite side of the birds. They were Lark Sparrows, walking slowly along the road next to the curb. We observed them for about 5 minutes as they foraged in the grass along the road, Then both flew across the road in front of us and joined 3-4 other birds. The flock took short flights together a couple of times to different spots in the field. From their overall similar size and large-tailed appearance I assume they were all the same species. We returned at about 10:45 and they were still in the same field. Two Lark Sparrows in near me and one of them perched on a stake and briefly sang. I could hear at least two others singing in the field. (At Nelson Lake there was a Common Gallinule along the shore).

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Sue Wagoner on 5/24 reported via e-mail: The Monk Parakeet made an appearance today [at a private residence in St. Charles] in a nearby tree and later on a telephone wire. Seen by several of us, we were first alerted by its calls.

Monk Parakeet

Monk Parakeet photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Bill Ludemann on 5/24 reported via e-mail: Spotted this Least Bittern at Otter Creek Wetland Park.

Least Bittern

Least Bittern photos courtesy Bill Ludemann

Least Bittern

Rich Miller on 5/22 reported via e-mail: Marion and I found this fellow flying back and forth across the main path at Campton Forest Preserve that is near the field at the bottom of the hill. He did "cluck" a bit. It was gloomy out (nothing new), but I was able to snap a shot. We did hear another one to the north.

Black-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo photo courtesy Rich Miller

Eric Secker on 5/22 reported via eBird: At Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, a Worm-eating Warbler. "Singing chipping sparrow like song but suspected WEWA from habitat and song pattern. Then located and seen to confirm. Brown with tan below, black stripes through head."

Tim Balassie on 5/22 reported via eBird: All seen at Cambridge Lakes Subdivision: a Ring-necked Duck. "Male in breeding plumage. Black head and back. Flanks gray with white "shoulder patch". Bill tip with white circle." A Common Loon. "Assumed HY bird. Light gray on back and nape, white throat, chest and flanks. Large, straight gray bill. Diving for food." A Common Tern. "Sterna species. Smaller than Caspian Tern. Orange bill tipped in black. Black on top of head extending down nape. Dorsal wings and back gray. Ventral wings white, with primary tips in black. Forster's Tern eliminated due to dorsal wing and back coloration - not bright white as expected with FOTE."

Daryl Coldren and Megan Garfinkel on 5/22 reported via eBird: A Nelson's Sparrow at (appropriately) Nelson Lake. "Megan and I flushed the bird while on our way to her field site in the northwestern prairie at Nelson lake. Found along the drainage ditch/creek running along the northwest side of Nelson lake property border, a bit south from Main Street baseball fields and dog park area. The bird flushed from the tall grass right along the creek, and perched on a dead stalk giving us excellent and prolonged views before diving back into the tall grass. The bird was bright orange across it's side, breast, and head/face, had a gray check patch, faint streaks along its side and breast (not as bold streaking as le contes would have) and a contrasting white belly. Separated from Le Contes sparrow by its completely clean gray nape and gray crown lacking the pale median crown stripe, duller streaking."

Bob Andrini on 5/22 reported via eBird: A Monk Parakeet at a private residence in St. Charles.

Oliver Burrus on 5/22 reported via IBET: Back for the fifth year in a row, an adult Bell's Vireo was bathing in our small pond! Of course, though I did not have my camera with me when I saw it and as soon as came back outside with my camera the bird was singing deep in our neighbors yard:( I also saw three species of thrush (Veery, Swanson's Thrush, and Grey-cheeked thrush) and three cuckoos (two were unidentified flyovers and one was a Black-billed).

Bob Andrini on 5/21 reported via text: Common Nighthawks flying over downtown St. Charles.

Chris Madsen on 5/20 reported: Carla and I traveled to Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve on Saturday for a belated search for the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. We couldn't find it, but did run into Rich and Marion Miller and three of their group from the IAS Spring Fling. Our disappointment in not seeing the heron  was lessened by their spotting this Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Walter Lutz on 5/20 reported via e-mail: Baby Wood Ducks on the Fox River Saturday afternoon in Elgin.

Wood Ducks

Wood Ducks photo courtesy Walter Lutz

Diane Hansen on 5/19 reported via e-mail: Not being able to give in to the burning desire to go down to Montrose this week I spent extra time Wednesday and Thursday walking from South Elgin to Jon J. Duerr and back.
Both days I saw a brood of baby Hooded Mergansers near the footbridge in South Elgin. The highlight of Thursday was a lifer Yellow-throated Vireo seen near the Stearns Road Bridge.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Five eBird reports on 5/18: Had the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron continuing at Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron photo courtesy Marion Miller

Jim Shotsberger on 5/18 reported via eBird: At Buffalo Park Forest Preserve, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. "Stocky woodpecker, white stripe along wing Black bib, has a red crown and pale throat ."

Ryan Jones on 5/17 reported via IBET: While doing some lunch break birding today at Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve in Aurora, I flushed an adult YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON.  It was about 15 ft off of the trail in the woodland swamp just north of the parking lot located at the intersection of Reckinger Rd and Felten Rd.  It circled back and appeared to land in the trees on the west side of the swamp.  I was unable to relocate before having to get back to work.  Time was about 2pm.

Oliver Burrus on 5/15 reported via IBET: Got great looks at a female KENTUCKY WARBLER in our yard in Carpentersville...

Diane Hansen on 5/13 reported via e-mail: Today I walked the Fox River from South Elgin both before and after Jazzercise. On the earlier walk I saw my first Kane County Bay-breasted Warbler, this is only the second time I have seen one.

On the later walk I saw my FOY Cedar Waxwing and Eastern Kingbird. I also got a much better look at the Cooper's Hawk nest where all I usually see is a tail sticking out.

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Nicholas Barber on 5/13 reported via IBET: Last weekend Jackie Lentz Bowman photographed an apparent Cerulean Warbler x Northern Parula at Fabyan Forest Preserve (Kane Co.). The bird has been hanging out around the yard of the Fabyan Villa, just north of the building. Her photographs were posted on the KROW birding group facebook page.

I visited on Thursday (May 11) morning and easily found the bird singing. It has a faint Cerulean-like breast band but unstreaked sides, and white eye-arcs and an eyeline to form broken "spectacles." The photos show a small green back-patch like a Parula, although I wasn't able to see it on Thursday. It also has a pale lower mandible like a Parula, but light gray rather than orange.

It was singing continuously so I made a recording of it with my cell phone:

It's a beautiful bird and well worth a stop to see it.

Jay Sturner on 5/12 reported via e-mail: I birded Les Arends Forest Preserve Thursday morning and came away with an impressive 73 species! Highlights include a pair of recently fledged Great Horned Owls (sleepily taking in their new world), eighteen types of warblers (each a highlight in their own right), a cute, "che-beking" Least Flycatcher, two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks fighting almost all the way to the ground, and, of course, the dawn chorus, which included a majestic Wood Thrush. A great day!

Ann Haverstock on 5/11 reported via e-mail: A Summer Tanager at Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve near the grotto.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

Rhonda Nelson on 5/11 reported via phone: Three Caspian Terns at the Batavia Riverwalk.

Theresa LeCompte on 5/10 reported via e-mail: While scanning the trees for warblers at Les Arends this morning, Sue Schneider spotted this young Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owlet

Great Horned Owlet photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Lucy DeLap on 5/10 reported vis IBET: I was very happy to see an American Redstart (FOY - first of several years) spending some quality time in a {East Dundee] backyard black walnut. He gave me many long good looks over the 1/2 hour or so of his visit.

I also welcomed a FOY female Northern Oriole to the jelly feeder this morning and my husband observed (though I missed it) a FOY hummingbird to our feeder.

Oliver Burrus on 5/10 reported via IBET: I finally have some good warblers [in my Carpentersville yard] like Mourning, Wilson's, Black-throated Blue, Canada, Cape May, Orange-crowned, and lots of Nashville Warblers but no Yellow-rumped or Palm Warblers. I also had Blue-headed and Yellow-throated Vireos.

Bill Ahlgren on 5/9 reported via e-mail: Scott Cohrs found this fine looking Hooded warbler at Les Arends F.P. today and was kind enough to notify us it was there. Scott, Chris Bowman, Art Johnson and I were able to get great looks at this beauty. Lifer for me. Les is on a roll! and so are the warblers.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Tim Balassie on 5/9 reported via eBird: Found a LeConte's Sparrow in Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve. "Bird was identified by song. Bird was sparrow sized. Song consisted of a single note very high pitched "tzee", repeated every 10 seconds...Located in a marshy willow environment."

Paul Mayer on 5/9 reported via e-mail: Amongst the myriad of orioles and grosbeaks today, one lone dark-eyed Junco has chosen to stay behind.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco photo courtesy Paul Mayer

Eric Secker on 5/9 reported via IBET: Met up with my dad around mid day today to do some birding at Jon Duerr F.P. in Kane Co. We had 60 species including 18 species of warblers, though a number were heard only and Palm and Yellow-rumped still strongly outnumbered anything else. There was a Prothonotary singing on the island across from the boat launch. Other warblers included Bay-breasted, Pine, Blue-winged, Golden-winged, Orange-crowned, Restart, and Black-throated Green. Full list below.


6 Canada Goose
3 Mallard
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Great Egret
1 Turkey Vulture
1 Solitary Sandpiper
2 Mourning Dove
20 Chimney Swift
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Northern Flicker
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Eastern Kingbird
1 Blue-headed Vireo
3 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
20 Tree Swallow
2 Bank Swallow
14 Barn Swallow
8 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
4 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Veery
1 Swainson's Thrush
9 American Robin
1 European Starling
1 Northern Waterthrush
3 Golden-winged Warbler
1 Blue-winged Warbler
3 Black-and-white Warbler
1 Prothonotary Warbler
1 Tennessee Warbler
2 Orange-crowned Warbler
5 Nashville Warbler
2 American Redstart
1 Cape May Warbler
2 Magnolia Warbler
1 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
30 Palm Warbler
1 Pine Warbler
50 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
3 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Scarlet Tanager
3 Northern Cardinal
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Brown-headed Cowbird
3 Baltimore Oriole
5 American Goldfinch
3 House Sparrow

Ron Dickenson on 5/8 reported via e-mail: One of a series of photos from 5/8 shows part of the family of Bald Eagles at Mooseheart.

Mooseheart Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Brendon Lake on 5/8 reported via IBET: Les Arends FP comes through again! Art Johnson found a male black-throated blue warbler along the river bike trail, about 75 yards north of where the trail from the northern shelter connects with it. I stuck a stick in the ground on the west side of the trail, near a blue number 10, to mark the approximate location. No sign of the wormie today.

Matt Wistrand on 5/7 reported via eBird: At Les Arends Forest Preserve at 12:40 PM, a Worm-eating Warbler. "Short-tailed with a large bill. Olive above, golden buff below. Black eyeline and lateral crown stripes. Seen very well, down to the smudgy undertail coverts.

>From the parking lot, walk south along the trail until you come to a cross path. Turn left (east) and walk until just before the path curves back around to the north. The bird was foraging along the stretch.

I kept hearing a rising buzz coming from low to the ground, which immediately triggers my search for Connecticut Warbler. Fortunately, it turned out to be better than that!"

Worm-eating Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler photo courtesy Rich Miller

Eric Secker on 5/7 reported via IBET: On Friday highlights from our outing along the Fox River in Kane Co. included great looks at a continuing LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH at Les Arends FP near the cross trail and flooded area going south from the parking lot. It was actively singing even middle of the day and sat up on a branch for a long time for us. TUFTED TITMOUSE and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER were also nice to see. I heard a possible Cerulean in the oaks near the parking lot but the bird in question only sang once then never again.

At Fabyan FP we had one, likely two, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS and two NORTHERN PARULAS (a pair). Driving on Rt. 31, I also heard yet another YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER singing near Rt. 31 and South St., north of Gunner Anderson FP and the train tracks in an area with some nice pines.

At Jon Duerr F.P. we had yet another TUFTED TITMOUSE and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

Diane Hansen on 5/5 reported via e-mail: I did a little birding in South Elgin this morning and saw this cooperative White-crowned Sparrow on the path right in front of me.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Ann Haverstock on 5/4 reported via text: Cliff Swallows Have Returned under Fabyan Parkway bridge.

Roger Amery on 5/4 reported via e-mail: Yesterday during the afternoon at Les Arends park birds spotted were blue winged warbler, Tennessee warbler, Nashville warbler, palm warbler, and yellow rumped warbler. Also seen was a wood duck pair bond. Blue gray gnatcatcher also seen.

Diane Hansen on 5/3 reported via e-mail: I returned home from Jazzercise and a little South Elgin birding to be greeted with a Scarlet Tanager flying right by me to land on one of the finials of my gate, then up into the tree where I got this shot. What a lovely surprise year bird.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Rhonda Nelson on 5/3 reported via text: There are 2 white pelicans at the riverwalk in Batavia.

Lucy DeLap on 5/3 reported via IBET: This week brought a never before treat as we had a flock of 6 or 8 Yellow-Rumped Warblers in our front yard cedar then in the cherry and black walnut trees in the back. At least one of these birds is staying put as we have seen wonderful views of a yellow-rumped spending protracted amounts of time (for a warbler) feeding at and below a suet feeder. That's a first for us.

Also had our FOY Northern Oriole first drinking at the hummingbird feeder and then repeatedly visiting the jelly feeder. What color!

Marion Miller on 5/2 reported via e-mail: I enjoyed watching 46 Chimney Swifts go to roost in the Limestone Tea & Coffee shop's chimney in Batavia.  The majority were in before the 7:53pm sunset time.  I'm guessing the chilly 47 degree temperatures was a major factor for the early bed time.

Julie Long on 5/2 reported via e-mail: I looked at many many fluddles west of 47 on Jericho Rd today in Sugar Grove and driving north on country roads to rt 64. In the crummy cold drizzle I found no shorebirds but finally spotted at least 4 American pipits near the fluddle on the west side of Freeland Rd just south of Beith Rd.

Paul Mayer on 5/1 reported via e-mail: On May 1 our first hummer came to the feeder. Small, wet, and cold looking but it was there to start the month off.

On 4/30 Brendon Lake via IBET, Diane Hansen via e-mail, and Leslie Yoshitani via IBET: All reported the female Wilson's Phalarope continues at the Kenyon Farms fluddle on Kenyon Road in South Elgin.

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Margaret Mechtenberg on 4/29 reported via phone: Shortly after noon, Margaret saw a Wilson's Phalarope at the Kenyon Road Farm fluddle.

Paul Mayer on 4/28 reported via e-mail: On April 28th [at Les Arends FP] there was a single male Baltimore Oriole and three Chimney Swifts. No sign yet of "masses of warblers". Just the usual yellow-rumps and palms.

Jackie Bowman on 4/28 reported via e-mail: Early Thursday morning despite the clouds and light rain we spent sometime wandering Fabyan FP.  We heard the familiar sound of the Northern Parula, and were quite delighted to find a female singing away along the tree line south of the Fabyan House.  Maybe we'll have a family nesting here this year?

Northern Parula

Female Northern Parula photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Bill Ahlgren on 4/27 reported via e-mail: Had a brief FOY encounter with an Orchard Oriole at our feeders this morning in Batavia. He was around for about 10 minutes before moving on.

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

John Heneghan on 4/27 reported via e-mail: Had a pair of Eurasian Collared Doves in the yard today in  Big Rock. First ever in the yard.

Eurasian Collared-Doves

Eurasian Collared-Doves photo courtesy John Heneghan

Bob Andrini on 4/27 reported via e-mail: Jane McMillan reports that the Whip-poor-will has returned to Jon Duerr Forest Preserve.

Ryan Jones on 4/26 reported via eBird: Indigo Bunting at Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve. "Male. All blue songbird. Black wings with blue edges. First heard giving repeated sharp chip calls before getting a visual."

Scott Cohrs on 4/26 reported via eBird: Upland Sandpiper at Prairie Green Wetlands. "Larger Sandpiper. Long wings, long tail. Thin, long neck, small rounded head. Brown/tan overall with streaked breast and sides. Yellow legs. Came flying in low from grassy area. Circled the marsh and touched down very briefly. Then flew and circled the area several times. Gave a clear 'pulip pulip' call a few times. Eventually landed in a short grass field SW of the main marsh. "

Theresa LeCompte on 4/26 reported via e-mail: Last Friday, I went to Les Arends expecting to find a Northern Waterthrush, but found a Louisiana Waterthrush instead. The picture that I took on 4/21 is that of a Louisiana Waterthrush because of the pink legs, clean throat, white flanks and the white supercilium (eyebrow) that becomes broader behind the eye. The bird was not singing when I was present. Thanks to everyone who evaluated this photo, including staff at the Field Museum.

Paul Mayer on 4/26 reported via e-mail: On Wednesday April 26, a male Scarlet Tanager was found in Burnidge Forest Preserve. The bird was found by Tim Balassie.

John Heneghan on 4/25 reported via IBET: Birded Les Arends this evening along the Fox River in Kane. A few Blue Gray Gnatcatchers. Of note was a singing Louisiana Waterthrush. Hopefully the south winds will bring more warblers.

Bill Ahlgren on 4/24 reported via e-mail: While looking for Marion's Blue-headed Vireo and the reported Blackpoll warbler, I found 1? of the Yellow-throated Warblers probably foraging for insects at the old brown house east of the Villa [at Fabyan FP]. Thought at first to be the resident E. Phoebe.

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

John Heneghan on 4/24 reported via e-mail: We had a Red Headed Woodpecker at the feeders in Big Rock today. We have had one before, in the spring. Been a few years.

Roger Amery on 4/23 reported via e-mail: On the west side of the Fox River at Fabyan Park, I, and other borders observed pine warblers and a yellow throated warbler in the Japanese garden.

Barb Vrchota on 4/23 reported via eBird: Seeing a Magnolia Warbler at Oakhurst Forest Preserve.

Paul Mayer on 4/23 reported via e-mail: On Friday, April 21st, we had our first Baltimore Oriole come to the feeder. They’re coming!

Roger Amery on 4/23 reported via e-mail: At Fabyan park yesterday, I observed pine warblers, eastern phoebes, and eastern bluebirds. These birds were at the picnic area of the park just east of route 25.

Oliver Burrus on 4/22 reported via eBird: An Indigo Bunting at his house in Carpentersville.

Wally Levernier on 4/21 reported via eBird: Finding a Blackpoll Warbler at Fabyan Forest Preserve "Along the river near the Japanese Garden."

Theresa LeCompte on 4/21 reported via e-mail: The Northern Waterthrush that Bill Ahlgren reported yesterday to IBET was still present at Les Arends this afternoon in the marshy area east of the main path.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Upon further review, Theresa amended the ID of this bird to Louisiana Waterthrush. See her 4/26 post above.

Northern Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Mike Klancnik on 4/20 reported via e-mail: Here's a comparison of the eagles' nest at Mooseheart. Using the arrowed branches, note the size difference between April 2015 and April 2017.

Mooseheart eagle nest comparison

Nest comparison photos courtesy Mike Klancnik

Bob Andrini on 4/20 reported via e-mail: While walking the bike path south from Quarry Park prior to the ramble, we saw several FOY birds for this area: House Wren; Blue-grey Gnatcatcher; Spotted Sandpiper; Palm Warbler. We also spotted an adult and very fluffy young Great Horned Owl high in a tree, but couldn't locate the nest.

On the ramble Thursday at Fabyan and Gunnar Anderson forest preserves, we got some special birds: Green Heron, Northern Parula Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and a singing Pine Warbler.

John Heneghan on 4/20 reported via IBET: Had a Rose Breasted Grosbeak at the yard feeders today in Big Rock (Kane) .

Karen Lund on 4/19 reported via IBET: I stopped by [the O'Brien/Melms Rd. Fluddle] again late this afternoon.  There were 2 soras calling and a very vocal virginia rail.  It was kiddick'ing most of the 15 minutes I was there.  It finally popped out for a few seconds; the sora weren't as obliging.  There was also a redtail with some leucism going on.  It had a very pale red tail and big white patches on the wings and back (I'm not referring to the windows normally seen on the wings of an immature bird).  It was always flying away from me so I didn't see the front.  Shorebirds:  both yellowlegs, pectorals, 1 dunlin, 1 solitary and killdeer.  Also blue-winged teal and a gadwall.

Karen Lund on 4/18 reported via IBET: Some of you may remember this site from 2009. There were a lot of good sightings that year. I've continued to check over the years, but it's been dry. However, there's water here again and birds. Today there were both yellowlegs, shovelers, blue-winged teal, pectorals and dunlin. We also had a flyover osprey and a sora. Since we're supposed to have more rain tomorrow, this spot may stay viable for another week or so. There are 2 fluddles on the east side of O'Brien Rd. The O'Brien/Melms Rd. t-intersection is about a 1/4 mile west of Walker Rd., about 3 miles north of Hwy. 72. It is a gravel road but there is a sign. There's huge sand pile to the east at a gravel operation. It's only 1 mile or so into Kane County.

John Heneghan on 4/18 reported via IBET: Birded Big Rock Forest Preserve in Kane Cty this AM. Yellow Rumped warblers were there in numbers. Blue Gray Gnatcatchers and Palm Warblers were seen. Hairy Woodpeckers, Flickers, Downy woodpeckers and Red Bellied were present. A Great Horned owl was seen. Many Towhees, a Brown Thrasher, House wrens, Phoebes, a Kingfisher, Bluebird, Song and Field Sparrows, Cormorants. Overhead, a Bald Eagle was seen as well as Red Tailed hawk and Turkey vultures. Great Blue herons. A Warbling vireo was heard. 3 Northern Rough Winged swallows were seen. A nice morning to be out.

Jackie Bowman on 4/16 reported via e-mail: On Sunday, April 16, at about 3:15pm we had a flock of 12 Rusty Blackbirds singing away at the northwest corner of the Les Arends Marsh. Their song was very entertaining!

Rusty Balckbird

Rusty Blackbird photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Walter Lutz on 4/16 reported via eBird: Finding a Northern Waterthrush at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin.

Rich Miller on 4/16 reported via e-mail: My birding buddies and I were walking along the Fox River (Japanese Gardens) on Saturday morning and this handsome fellow popped up in front of me. This Green Heron is a first of year for me. 

Green Heron

Green Heron photo courtesy Rich Miller

Ann Haverstock on 4/14 reported via e-mail: On Fox R. bike trail between Quarry Park, Batavia and Les Arends, North Aurora. Carolina Wren and Purple Finches.

Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

Purple Finch

Purple Finch photo courtesy Ann Haverstock

C. Beaumont on 4/14 reported via eBird: Seeing and hearing a Warbling Vireo at St. Charles Country Club.

Bill Ahlgren on 4/14 reported via e-mail: Quite a gathering of Rusty Blackbirds have been congregating lately in the swampy area at Les Arends as Theresa L. noted yesterday. I observed 40+ over the last two days in this area. Very interesting observation of a formally abundant species in rapid decline.

I found this first of year Northern Parula at Batavia's Quarry Park just south of the big wooden bridge on 4/11/17 and 4/12/17. Many Ruby Kinglets and FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. This male was quiet, but one of my favorite warbler spring songs to come!

Northern Parula

Northern Parula photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Henk Jan Oosterhuis on 4/14 reported via eBird: At Tyler Creek Forest Preserve, a Grey-cheeked Thrush. "Uniform grey-brown above and face, very faint eye-ring. Black moustache streaks and streaking on throat and breast. Not shy, on fallen logs along western edge bordering back yards of houses."

Chris Madsen on 4/14 reported: A quick trip to Gunnar Anderson and Fabyan forest preserves produced practically nothing along the lines of waterfowl on the fast-flowing Fox other than this very co-operative, breeding-plumaged Horned Grebe.

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Corey Lange on 4/14 reported via eBird: Seeing a pair of Swainson's Hawks at their traditional location on Chapman Road near Burlington.

Theresa LeCompte on 4/13 reported via e-mail: While at Les Arends this afternoon, Sue Schneider and I both heard the unmistakable creaky notes of a chorus of Rusty Blackbirds. We counted over 30 of them in the flooded woods east of the path.

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Bill Ahlgren on 4/11 reported via eBird: Seeing a first-of-year Northern Parula on the Fox River Trail in Batavia.

John Heneghan on 4/9 reported via e-mail: Lots of Yellow Rumped Warblers at Les Arends Sunday. Swamp Sparrows at Fabyan.

Daryl Coldren on 4/9 reported via eBird: Spotting a Northern Mockingbird at Big Rock Forest Prreserve. "...First seen at 1040 along fence line at back parking lot. Followed it for about 10 minutes as it moved along the trail towards the lake. Last seen flying towards lake."

Walt Lutz on 4/8 reported via e-mail: Nesting time @ Brunner F.P.  Stop Longmeadow Parkway Toll-bridge!

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Walter Lutz

Bob Andrini on 4/7 reported via text: A member reported 18 American White Pelicans on the Peck Farm pond at 10:00 this morning.

Marion Miller on 4/6 reported via e-mail: While visiting Brunner Family Forest Preserve to remove the Chimney Swift tower caps, Rich and I enjoyed some great looks at a Ring-necked Pheasant and a pair of Northern Flickers. Spring colors are so vibrant on our feathered friends.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant photo courtesy Marion Miller

Northern Flickers

Northern Flickers photo courtesy Marion Miller

John Mayer on 4/6 reported via e-mail: This flock of sixteen American White Pelicans flew over Judson University yesterday afternoon.

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans photo courtesy John Mayer

John Heneghan on 4/5 reported via e-mail: Surprised to see an Osprey sitting in the ag field at the corner of Hughes and Fabyan Wed afternoon.

John Heneghan on 4/2 reported via e-mail: I saw 24 turkeys at Big Rock Forest Preserve Sunday evening. Have not seen any there in a while. 

John Heneghan on 4/2 reported via IBET: White Crowned, White Throated and Chipping Sparrows and a Winter Wren in the [Big Rock] yard this AM. Had a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker yesterday at the peanut feeder.

Diane Hansen on 3/27 reported via e-mail: My Monday morning routine is Jazzercise, lottery ticket, check some spots on the Fox River on the way home including the boat ramp behind the Secretary of State. This morning I saw and heard some song sparrows and noticed several flying tree swallows. When I looked to the right from the boat ramp I saw a large group of them, about 100 or so, in a tree. That's the first time I've seen so many in one tree.

Last week I was accompanied briefly on the river path south of South Elgin by a large rodent, possibly a groundhog.

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows photo courtesy Diane Hansen


Groundhog photo courtesy Diane Hansen

John Heneghan on 3/24 reported via e-mail: Had the first of Spring Golden Crowned Kinglets in the yard today. This is the earliest sighting for the yard. Normally, Ruby Crowned Kinglets and Blue Gray Gnatcatchers show up about the same time, though not this early. 

Jonathan Schuler on 3/22 reported via e-mail: The first for me this season of hearing the sandhill cranes. Saw a flock of about 20 flyover east side of St. Charles on 3/21 about 5:15 p.m.

Bob Andrini on 3/21 reported via e-mail: While walking on the Quarry Park bike trail, we saw our FOY Red-headed Woodpecker. It must be a first year bird since its head feathers are not totally red.

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bob Andrini

John Mayer on 3/20 reported via e-mail: Finding these Great Horned Owlets in the Carpentersville area.

Great Horned Owlets

Great Horned Owlets photo courtesy John Mayer

Sue Bohn on 3/19 reported via phone: Watching nine(!) Whooping Cranes fly north over the river in South Elgin this afternoon at 2:50.

John Mayer, Debbie Wisser, Walt Lutz, Jim Shotsberger, and Patrick Ricketson on 3/19 reported via eBird: All saw 2 Trupeter Swans at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin.

Brendon Lake on 3/19 reported via IBET: Hi everybody! Lots of birding again yesterday in my home county of Kane left me too exhausted to write out a report, so I'll do it right now! Highlights were as follows:

Nelson Lake in Batavia - An early morning stop here was good for dabbling ducks. Highlights were my first Blue-Winged Teal of the year, an American Wigeon, five Sandhill Cranes, and seven Ruddy Ducks.

Les Arends FP in Batavia - Birding along the bike trail going north almost to Quarry Park, the walk was very enjoyable. Highlights were two Eastern Phoebes hunting in the same treetop, two Yellow-Rumped Warblers, a young Red-Headed Woodpecker, and 15 Rusty Blackbirds.

Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva - Not a lot going on, but White-Throated Sparrows, five Great Blue Herons, and a Cooper's Hawk were somewhat notable.

Pingree Grove Water Treatment Plant Marsh - Lots of waterfowl here, including a lot of Ring-Necked Ducks, some Lesser Scaup, Northern Shovelers, a Ruddy Duck, Hooded Mergansers, and a group of 10 Canvasback, which were all together on the large fenced-in lake. More than 30 Green-Winged Teal were practically by themselves on the pond on Catamaran Circle, just the opposite side of Reinking Road from the marsh. This pond has developed extensive mudflats, so it will be worth watching going into shorebird season. People may remember this pond from when the White-Faced Ibis was present here two years ago.

Burlington Park Fluddles - Hundreds of ducks were here, apparently looking to roost for the night. I've never seen these types of numbers here before! Mostly Mallards, but also five Green-Winged Teal, two drake American Wigeon, and 20-30 Wood Ducks! Two Wilson's Snipes were seen as well.

Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve - Eastern Meadowlarks aplenty, three Northern Harriers, two distant Short-Eared Owls, and four or five displaying American Woodcocks were all a pleasant way to end the day!

One last interesting note, I had Eurasian Collared-Dove in two places yesterday, neither of which I've seen them at before! One was in someone's front yard in the small town of Virgil, along Meredith Road, south of Route 64. Another four Eurasian Collared-Doves were seen late in the day along Allen Road, just west of Widmayer Road in Hampshire. All in all, 61 species on the day, and a lot of fun along the way!

Good birding to all!

Mary Elliot on 3/17 reported via e-mail: Yesterday afternoon, around 4:45, a small flock of cedar waxwings were happily drinking from my backyard bird bath. Do not have a count - they flitted between it and nearby trees, often not within my sight.

Could not reach a camera in time to try for a picture, but will be prepared this afternoon just in case more visit.

Bill Ahlgren on 3/16 reported via e-mail: I had this Red-headed Woodpecker along Woodland Avenue in Batavia today.  Along with a very vocal Carolina wren and 2 Yellow Rumped Warblers feeding on mass quantities of early season gnats.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Bob Andrini on 3/16 reported via e-mail: Kath and I saw 6 Tundra Swans out at Nelson's Lake  this morning (Thursday 3/16). They were quite a distance away, but I took this picture through scope.

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Marion Miller on 3/13 reported via e-mail: Wilson's Snipe and Killdeer continue at the fluddle on Green Rd in Elburn despite the snow and installation of pipes to drain the flooded field. This afternoon there were 4 Snipes and 7 Killdeer frolicking around the snow.

Wilson's Snipes

"Three Musketeer" Wilson's Snipes photo courtesy Marion Miller

Christopher Cudworth on 3/12 reported via IBET: There are two pairs of Hooded Mergansers at the Far East end of the lake bordering the I-88 westboud exit to Orchard Road beside the car dealerships.  Two males displaying and chasing each other while females tag along in their wake. Quite a sight. 4:45 pm Sunday.

Walter Lutz on 3/12 reported via e-mail: Jon Duerr encouraged me to send this photo in. It's a Downy Woodpecker I was able to get close to while it was preoccupied feeding. It had made a hole in this small twig for something it obviously knew was inside.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Walter Lutz

Tori Drake on 3/12 reported via eBird: Seeing a Golden Eagle at Fermilab (in Kane County) " ..sitting above ponds on Miller building."

Joan Campbell on 3/11 reported via IBET: Hi Everyone. Inspired by Brendon Lake’s post, Ed and I headed to Jon Duerr late this afternoon. Like Brendon, viewing from the pedestrian bridge, we were treated to a frenzied flock of TREE SWALLOWS across the river, that seemed to be chasing a cloud of gnats. Nice treat and foy! I counted at least 58. Right as we started walking on the bridge, we found 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and 2 cooperative BROWN CREEPERS. And farther down along the bike trail, we had a TUFTED TITMOUSE. Not bad for a one-hour walk!

Brendon Lake on 3/10 reported via IBET: Hi everybody, I thought I should report some of my findings from birding yesterday in Kane County. Better late than never, right? Anyways, I spent the late morning and entire rest of the day out and about after work, and had a very solid time, seeing 59 species in all! The highlights are as follows:

Hampshire Forest Preserve - A very enjoyable morning walk here was very birdy. At one point in time, five Red-Bellied Woodpeckers were all seen in the same tree, I have never seen anything like that before! Woodpeckers were very active, possibly due to recent storm damage? Here the theme of the day quickly became apparent. Although the weather was colder than it has been recently, birding felt more like April than March. Two large mixed foraging flocks were impressive, one largely made up of White-Throated Sparrows, with a Hermit Thrush and a leucistic American Robin mixed in. The second was largely Fox Sparrows, about 11 of them. A Sharp-Shinned Hawk flew through and scattered the White-Throated Sparrows, possibly the same Sharpie I saw back on January 2nd.

Pingree Grove Water Treatment Plant Marsh - A Pied-Billed Grebe and a couple of Bufflehead were all that were notable on the marsh. Once again, a large concentration of waterfowl was on the fenced-in lake, too far for me to see.

Burnidge Forest Preserve - Here I sat in the parking lot for about 45 minutes, watching as an endless stream of Sandhill Cranes flew over heading northwest. I! estimate that I saw over 3,000 cranes in the time I was there! Mixed in with the cranes were some sporadic raptors, I came up with a Turkey Vulture, five Red-Tailed Hawks, and a Bald Eagle. The large pond had more than 20 Ring-Necked Ducks and several Gadwall on it.

Carpentersville Dam - Nothing really on the river, but two Great Blue Herons were along the shoreline. The woods along the walking path were very birdy, with a large flock of American Tree Sparrows, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, and a Hermit Thrush foraging out in the middle of the path.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve - Very birdy here too! I counted 54 Tree Swallows over the river while I was at the pedestrian bridge that crosses the river near the Stearns Road bridge upstream from the preserve. There was a Tufted Titmouse along the bike trail up there, and three Yellow-Rumped Warblers were foraging together along the bike trail that runs along the river by the trolley tracks. Another two Yellow-Rumped Warblers were foraging down by the river near the bike bridge. There was a Fox Sparrow and a Golden-Crowned Kinglet foraging along the trolley tracks in the quarry.

Burlington Park Fluddles - The fluddles near the football field at the Burlington Park, with easy parking access off of Burlington Road, are back. They are somewhat overgrown, and very difficult to see in places, but they are productive! I had a flock of blackbirds here with 6 Rusties mixed in, a drake Wood Duck, and five Wilson's Snipe.

Muirhead Springs Forest Preser! ve - At sunset, I set up shop in Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve (Bahr Road, just south of Plank Road), where I got distant, diagnostic looks at a hunting Short-Eared Owl on the far end of the preserve. Scope is completely necessary for a good look. Three displaying American Woodcocks made the sunset even more enjoyable.

That's what I saw, sorry about the very long post, but it was again a very long day!

Oliver Burrus on 3/8 reported via IBET: In hopes of finding a large flock of Tree Swallows trapped in the wind like last year, we set off for the Fox River in West Dundee. Well, let’s just say that there were no swallows on the river there! So we traveled north to Carpentersville Dam. Upon first inspection of the river north of the dam, there were no birds there either. Although, as we looked closer, we found a single Tree Swallow and a group of Red-winged Blackbirds & Grackles. We walked down the whole path finding very few new birds for the day; some Tree Sparrows, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, and a small flock of Starlings. With expectations low, we started walking back. I looked up in a tree and I found two male Hairy Woodpeckers fighting over territory, I followed them trying to take photos but I only got one decent photo. All of a sudden, I spot a very small bird that turned out to be a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (a rare bird based on eBird) and then I spot another small bird about the same size right next to it and that turned out to be a Golden-crowned Kinglet. As we walked farther we saw a couple flyover Tree Swallows and an Oregan Junco (which is also a rare bird although it is only a subspecies). We got back to the overlook where I spotted a singing Song Sparrow. I ran back to our car to get my recorder. Just as I got on the bird, it flew away. So I chased it to a bush where it sang less then two feet from me.

John Mayer on 3/7 reported via e-mail: Having seen and recorded this Green-winged Teal at Paul Wolff Campground within Burnidge Forest Preserve.

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal photo courtesy John Mayer

Al Stokie on 3/6 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Since I only carefully covered 1 place today this report should not be as overly long as was yesterday's. I saw on IBET that Marion M reported a Northern Shrike at Nelson Lake & Brendon reported many birds at several Kane County locations so I decided that was the place to go today mainly as I wanted that Shrike having failed to find all the other ones reported in 2017. I also decided to walk in from the east side lot so that I could check the waterfowl while on the way to Audubon Bridge where the Shrike was seen. I will say that this is afairly long walk & sections of the trail are quite  muddy so if you go be prepared.

As I neared the bridge area I saw another birder coming in on the Seavy pathway. Turned out it was Scott Cohrs & I was glad to see him as he usually sees birds quicker than I do. But Scott or no Scott we did NOT find the Shrike. Decided to return the way we came in so as to re-cover the hedge & small tree area near the bridge which looked like an excellent Shrike area not to mention that the Shrike had been seen there before. But still no Shrike & Scott was out of time needing to get to work, a problem we "old retired guys" no longer have. While making an emergency "pit stop" after Scott left I saw a bird land at tree top level & it was a gray & black bird not another Red Wing. Called Scott back & got it in a scope view. We are sure it is a Northern & not a Loggerhead but you need to check for that on Shrikes seen in March as both are possible although Loggerhead is more unlikely. This may have been the 1st time I have ever spotted a target bird before Scott saw it! I was helped by the fact that he was walking away when it arrived & not looking in that direction.

Shortly thereafter I spotted 2 big white birds flying over the water which we figured would be Pelicans but they turned out to be 2 black billed Trumpeter Swans. They also turned out be a new Kane County species for me. Quite a bonus! Here's my full site list:

Nelson Lake Marsh Area (7:45-9:45 a.m.)

Great Blue Heron (1 fly-by)
Canada Goose (25-28)
Mallard (8)
Gadwall (6)
Shoveler (12)
Green Winged Teal (few in flight)
Ring Necked Duck (~20)
Coots (~45)
NORTHERN HARRIER (1 hunting, not an adult male)
Red Tailed Hawk (1 or 2)
Kestrel (1 in flight)
SANDHILL CRANE (1-PR on the ground)
Killdeer (heard 1 in flight)
Gull Species? (Too far away but probably a Herring?)
Mourning Dove (1)
Blue Jay (2)
Chickadee (also 2)
Robin (12-14)
Starling (4-5)
NORTHERN SHRIKE (1, not easy to find but had good looks once we did see it)
Cardinal (3-4)
Tree Sparrow (2)
Song Sparrow (4-5)
FOX SPARROW (1, got into a fight with a Purple Finch & the Fox Sparrow won)
Junco (15-20)
Red Winged Blackbird (25 or more)
PURPLE FINCH (5-6, must of been males as they were singing but all I
saw were females)

Brendon had mentioned that both Meadowlark species were back at that undeveloped Stonegate sub-division near Hampshire & I actually remembered how to get there after all the times Brendon told me how. As I arrived the wind was very, very strong & rain had just begun & I thought there's no way anything would sit up & sing. But as happens many times I was wrong as the WESTERN MEADOWLARK was singing away although it was so low I could not see it. Finally after 10 min of looking in the wind & rain I saw it on the top of a short post & had a good look. I guess if that bird wanted to sing it was going to do so no matter the conditions. I will also say that the Eastern Meadowlark did not agree that singing was in order when I was there. If you need directions to this place look at Brendon's IBET post from yesterday.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the N. Shrike which I had almost given up on for this Winter season. Runners-Up to the Western Meadowlark & my new Kane County Trumpeter Swans. And you will note that I turned this post into a fairly long one after
all. Always happens!

Marion Miller on  3/5 reported via e-mail: This winter we have had a brown colored Downy Woodpecker visiting our backyard (Batavia) feeders.   Not sure why the difference in color but it makes us pick up those binoculars and take a look.

Downy (Browny) Woodpecker

"Browny" Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Marion Miller

Tim Balassie on 3/5 reported via eBird: At Pingree Grove Forest Preserve, an early Eastern Phoebe and a flyover Whooping Crane mixed in with Sandhill Cranes.

Brendon Lake on 3/5 reported via IBET: Greetings all! Had a fun time birding today in Kane County, so I thought I would run you through my highlights. All in all the day wound up producing 56 species! Here goes:

Stonegate Subdivision in Hampshire (Allen Road, west of Harmony Road): One each, singing Eastern and Western Meadowlarks. The Western Meadowlark sat atop a post, hunkered down and tucked in while singing in the wind.

Pingree Grove: A retention pond in the Cambridge Lakes subdivision at the intersection of Wester Boulevard and Route 72 had Redhead, Ring-Necked Ducks, and a drake Canvasback. At the water treatment plant marsh (corner of Wester Boulevard and Reinking Road) it seems two Mute Swans have decided they like the marsh. Not much else on the water in the marsh, most of the ducks were on the large, fenced-off lake, too distant for looks.

Burnidge Forest Preserve, Elgin: More Ring-Necked Ducks, Redheads, and a couple of Green-Winged Teal.

Carpentersville Dam: The first Chipmunk of the spring! As for birds, nothing out of the ordinary.

Gail Borden Library, Elgin: Over a thousand Sandhill Cranes flew over us, no Whooping Cranes were seen, however. Also, a Cooper's Hawk, four Turkey Vultures, and a Red-Tailed ! Hawk.

A flock of 8 American White Pelicans was circling higher and higher over Route 31 and US-20 in Elgin.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve: A TON OF BUGS!!! And with those bugs, an estimated 60(!!!!) Tree Swallows! I took brief video of the swallows, but their zipping around was very difficult to capture. They loved life high over the quarry area along the trolley tracks! Another 75 flyover Sandhill Cranes, 38 flyover American White Pelicans, and a lone female Common Goldeneye (the only one on the day) were also notable.

Fabyan Forest Preserve: A Pied-Billed Grebe was in the spillway, and six White-Throated Sparrows were foraging in the woods along the bike trail just before it loops out to the island in the middle of the river.

Nelson Lake: American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, and a Northern Harrier all seen from the east side overlook were new for the day. Our only Great Blue Heron flew over here as well.

Finally, the way to end the day, a successful (and very easy) snipe hunt! One Wilson's Snipe and two Killdeer were in a small fluddle off of Meredith Road, south of Route 38 in Virgil.

Sorry about the long post, it was a long day!
Good birding!

Wes Sadler on 3/4 reported via eBird: The Saturday morning KCA Nelson Lake netted 44 species including 11 species of ducks, 17 Greater White-fronted Geese, 2 Bald Eagles, 2 Sandhill Cranes, a Northern Shrike, and 8 Purple Finches.

Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike photo courtesy Marion Miller

Brian Hannah on 3/3 reported via e-mail: Sorry to report Just South of the Snow Board Park on Rt 31 on my drive in today I saw a Bald Eagle in the road. I called Kane County Sheriff and am sad to say they got there and the bird was alive, but hurt too badly . They had to put it down…

Jackie Bowman on 3/2 reported via e-mail: We've had a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches visiting our backyard since December. While tending to our feeder stations, Chris has had daily visits and encounters with both of them. The male has really taken a liking to Chris, buzzing around him as he does his work. "Nutty" as we lovingly refer to him, loves to take peanuts from Chris' hand. As spring approaches we will be sad to see them leave for their breeding grounds.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Ron Herrmann on 3/2 reported via e-mail: At around 1pm on 3/2/17, we spotted 2 Sandhill Cranes in the Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve in South Elgin, on the North side of Middle St., just West of N. Barry Rd.

I believe this is the 3rd time (and 3rd year in a row) that we’ve seen them in this area.

Brendon Lake on 3/1 reported via IBET: On my way home from work this morning, at about 9am, two Ross's Geese were at a fluddle along Burlington Road, about 1 mile south of Burlington. They were on the east side of the road. It's tough to get a good look here, as traffic is rather heavy and there are no shoulders, so look fast, and move on to be safe if you go.

Jason Newton on 2/28 reported via eBird: Two Horned Grebes this morning at Nelson Lake in Batavia.

John Heneghan on 2/24 reported via e-mail: We had 40 sandhill cranes land in the bean field down the street from us in Big Rock. Lifelong area neighbor said he had never seen them there.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes photo courtesy John Heneghan

Brendon Lake on 2/23 reported via IBET: A flock of about 30 American White Pelicans was flying north over Main Street, just west of Randall Road in Batavia at 12:19pm.

Stuart Koch on 2/23 also responded on IBET: A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, venue, kettle, or volt. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee, volt, and venue refer to vultures resting in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding.

Steve Jner on 2/23 responded on IBET: A group of Turkey Vultures has many names... Cast, Committee, Meal, Vortex, and Wake. I have also heard of them being referred to a Kettle of Vultures when kettling.

Lucy DeLap on 2/23 reported via IBET: On a casual walk across the pedestrian bridge from East Dundee through downtown West Dundee and back with bird watching not the main goal, we were surprised first by a FOY flock(?) of 25 or so turkey vultures making their way north along the river. (Is there a proper name for a flock of vultures?)

Next we noted an adult bald eagle lazily gliding in circles over our villages (hardly rare for this area but still magnificent in the waning sun).

Then toward dusk, as we walked north in East Dundee a block or so from the river, we were especially surprised to see a bat (possibly 2) swooping around in search of food.

Joan Campbell on 2/21 reported via IBET: Thanks to Christopher Cudworth's post from yesterday, I decided to check out the viewing platform at Dick Young Forest Preserve this morning. I was afraid we wouldn't be able to see anything since we were driving into fog coming from Downers Grove, to Batavia. But visibility was pretty decent and there were a LOT of birds! So glad we went! Here are some highlights:

Green-winged Teal (19)
Pied-billed Grebe (2)
Trumpeter Swan (7)
Snow Goose (4)
Greater white-fronted Goose (Fly-over flock plus 3 in the water)
Canvasback (13)
Sandhill Cranes (Fly-over flock, plus 2 that flew back & forth, right in front of us!)
Redheads (7)
American Wigeon

Bill and Carol Ludemann, David and Paula Altekruse on 2/21 reported via e-mail: February 20 about 6pm on the Great Western Trail, just east of the mile 6 bridge, we were startled to hear 2 American Woodcocks. They flew quite close to us, but since it was getting dark we did not see much detail. We were out to look for beavers, which we saw. The Woodcocks were a bonus.

Christopher Cudworth on 2/20 reported via IBET: The view from the East viewing deck at 10:30 a.m. included the following species:

Ring-necked duck
Ruddy duck
Common merganser
American wigeon
Scaup (-)
Black duck
Green-winged teal
Canada goose

At this rate, the White Pelicans will be here before March hits.

Jake Bartecki on 2/20 reported via eBird: Seeing an Osprey along the Fox River Trail in North Aurora.

Theresa LeCompte on 2/18 reported via e-mail: Went out to Nelson Lake again today and, just in the time frame of noon to 1 pm, I must have seen over 200 migrating Greater White-fronted Geese in three separate flocks. One group even came in for a rest.

Greater White-fronted Geese

Brendon Lake on 2/18 reported via IBET: Currently [mid-afternnon] one young Trumpeter Swan at Slade Avenue Park in Elgin, where the Long-tailed Duck has been. No sign of the duck.

Marion Miller on 2/18 reported via eBird: A very early Tree Swallow at Nelson Lake.

Theresa LeCompte on 2/17 reported via e-mail: Saw a flock of nearly 100 Greater White-fronted Geese flying high over Nelson Lake this afternoon just after 2 pm.

John Mayer on 2/16 reported via e-mail: This afternoon at Brunner Farm Forest Preserve, saw three Red-tailed Hawks, twenty Cedar Waxwings, two Great-horned Owls, three European Starlings, twenty American Tree Sparrows, and six Common Mergansers.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy John Mayer

John Waterhouse on 2/16 reported via e-mail: There was a bald eagle this morning on McDonald road in South Elgin near the retention pond across from Thornwood subdivision.

Robert France on 2/15 reported via e-mail: There is an eagle in a nest along Route 25 in Bartlett.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Robert France

Mary Ochsenschlager on 2/15 reported via IBET: I saw a flying and calling sandhill crane this morning flying from Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve to Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove Township southern Kane County. Could it be that it has stayed all winter.

Christopher Cudworth on 2/15 reported via IBET: Just had a pair of sandhill cranes pass over my North Aurora home in Kane County. Headed toward Dick Young FP one mile NW

Gordon Garcia on 2/14 reported via e-mail: Long-tailed duck still present today (2/14) on Fox River near Judson University.

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy Gordon Garcia

Ryan Jones on 2/14 reported via eBird: Locating 2 Trumpeter Swans on a pond in northeast Aurora.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans photo courtesy Marion Miller

John Mayer on 2/13 reported via e-mail: I spotted this Merlin at the Brunner Family Forest Preserve this morning.


Merlin photo courtesy John Mayer

Walter Lutz on 2/13 reported via e-mail: Over the weekend I saw a Red-tail Hawk picking at a road-kill deer carcass which is the first time I've ever seen a hawk acting as a scavenger.

Chris Madsen on 2/12 reported: A cold, blustery morning at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve produced few birds. Carla and I were happy to hear Cardinals singing, a sure sign of impending Spring. The river hosted Mallards, Canada Geese, the resident Belted Kingfisher, Common Mergansers, and Common Goldeneye. Back in the gravel pit area, we had both a Cooper's Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk, chickadees and goldfinches, and little else. On the path to the bridge, we saw one Brown Creeper and a pair of foraging Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Kane County Audubon on 2/11 reported via eBird: The Long-tailed Duck at Slade Avenue Park in Elgin on an outing led by Tim Balassie.

Long-tailed Duck photo from 2/6 courtesy Bob Andrini. Bob IDs the bird as an immature male because of the white feathers on the bird's back. The female should not have them.

Eric Secker on 2/11 reported via eBird: At Les Arends Forest Preserve, an Eastern Phoebe.

Marion Miller on 2/10 reported via e-mail: I couldn’t believe I spotted another Hermit Thrush this morning when Rich and I were walking through the pines at Campton Forest Preserve. And this time there were 2 moving together. This makes 4 Hermit Thrushes in the last 9 days! The first one was on 2-2 at Lippold Park (Batavia) and then 2-5 at Gunnar Anderson FP (Geneva.) Campton's forest was pretty quiet on the whole except for a brief moment when there was a group of 3 “tsee-ing” Golden-crowned Kinglets quickly hoping along the tree tops in front of us.  (Photo by Rich)

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush photo courtesy Rich Miller

Al Stokie on 2/10 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

I saw on ebird that Scott L saw the L.T. Duck on his 4th try so I decided I should at least make my 3rd attempt to show that I too can be persistent even if not successful. But I turned out to be not only persistent but successful as well. About time!

Covered the usual Fox River stops north & south of Elgin with the usual results meaning that I saw Mallards, Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Ring Billed & Herring Gulls (in very small numbers) & 100's & 100's of Canada Geese. Arrived at Slade Park to find much more open water than on my last visit with that open water extending well to the north. Looking well to the north I saw a different duck with several Goldeneye & it seemed to be a good candidate for the L.T. Duck. Got the scope from the car & found that the different duck was indeed the L.T. DUCK but it was far away & I wanted a better look after all my previous failures. There's a walkway (bike path?) that runs north along the river & next to the water department property. Followed that & came to a viewing platform with a railing around it. From there I could see the L.T. Duck & it's friends the Goldeneye very well. Turns out that this part of the river is right next to the section of Judson University where you can see the baseball fields. While scanning the large flock of Canada Geese I was finally able to pick out one CACKLING GOOSE which was not only very small in size but also had that small pushed in bill as do Ross's Geese. I had spent the last 6 weeks looking through Canada's but this was my 1st Cackler for 2017. Also about time!

Other interesting birds seen in or along the river were 2 Black Ducks at South Elgin Dam, a Green Winged Teal (female) farther north which flew away & 2 Kingfishers. I saw 5 Bald Eagles along the river & unlike other visits all 5 were adults. I guess all the previously seen young ones were at school today & not to be seen.

I will mention that viewing was not easy today due to very strong winds. I finally gave up at the Borden Library part of the river as the wind twice almost blew over my scope & tripod. Can't have that happening!

Bird-Of-The-Day to the finally found Long Tailed Duck & Runner-Up to the tiny Cackling Goose with the pushed in bill. I was glad to see them both!

Finally I must mention that if you walk north from Slade Park look on the water department wall & you will see an absolutely wonderful display of art work showing underwater creatures & plants. I don't know what artist or group did that display but they should be hired to do more projects!

Kathy and Bob Andrini on 2/6 reported via eBird: Finding the Long-tailed Duck at its old haunt, the river at Slade Park in Elgin,

Tim Felinski on 2/6 reported via eBird: Flushing an American Woodcock from the prairie at Corron Farm on 2/1.

Theresa LeCompte on 2/4 reported via e-mail: There was a pair of "love birds" in our Aurora back yard from 8:30 am until 10:00 am on 2/2. When I tried to take a picture, their love took flight.

Red-tailed Hawks

Camera-shy Red-tailed Hawks photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

John Mayer on 2/4 reported via e-mail: Seen today at Fox River Shores Forest Preserve:

20 Cackling Goose
20 Canada Goose
20 Mallard
2 Ring-necked Duck
25 Common Goldeneye
4 Red-tailed Hawk
3 Herring Gull
15 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
6 Mourning Dove
2 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Horned Lark

Marion Miller on 2/3 reported via e-mail: Rich and I walked the Fox River bike path from the Quarry parking lot south to the fourth bridge on the cold but sunny Friday morning.  Thanks to Rich’s eagle eyes we got to enjoy prolonged looks at a perched Merlin on our side of the river.  Other highlights were a flock of 20 vocalizing Robins that flew across our path, many cute White-throated Sparrows foraging along the trail and 2 Eagles, one adult and one immature, fishing the river.


Merlin photo courtesy Marion Miller

Bob Fisher on 2/2/ reported via IBET: Thanks to a birder from Shorewood (didn't get his name), Karen and I saw the [Long-tailed] Duck by looking upriver with a scope from the Slade Ave Park on the E side of the river.

John Mayer on 2/1 reported via e-mail: Went to Judson University this morning at 8:00 am and finally got a few better pictures of the elusive long-tailed duck. Also spotted these two White-fronted Geese. The list:

2 – Greater White Fronted Geese
20 – Cackling Geese
200 – Canada Geese
1 – Long-tailed Duck
50 – Common Golden-eye Ducks
10 – Common Mergansers
5 – Bald Eagles
3 – Downy Woodpeckers
4 – Black-capped Chickadees
2 – Brown Creepers
1 – Northern Cardinal

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy John Mayer

White-fronted Geese

White-fronted Geese photo courtesy John Mayer

Oliver Burrus on 2/1 reported via IBET: After all of the Geese we saw with ILYB on Sunday, we thought we would try to get closer to the flock by going up to Fox River Shores FP. Right as we pulled up to the parking lot, we saw a flock of about thirty Red-winged Blackbirds and as we walked, we heard and saw more of the very common summer birds like American Robins and Eastern Bluebirds. Once we got to the point of Fox River Shores FP, we scanned through hundreds of Canada Geese finding no other species of Geese. Then we drove over to Carpentersville Dam in hopes of finding the two Ruby-crowned Kinglets someone saw there yesterday. Immediately I found the banded Canada Goose but that was the only good bird in the water. We walked down the path finding a few Goldeneye, a couple Eagles, and the same land birds that we saw at Fox River Shores FP. We walked back to the dam overlook and found about fifty Goldeneye and seven Great Blue Herons.

Liz Gerity on 1/31 reported via e-mail: A Kingfisher was busy at noon today on the Great Western trail a half mile west of the Windings near the bridge and beaver dams.

Vicky Sroczynski on 1/31 reported via eBird: At Judson University, the Long-tailed Duck.

Howard Blum on 1/30 reported via IBET: ...Not much by the Carpentersville dam, but on Lincoln Avenue a few blocks north of Route 72 bridge was an awesome Mallard Hybrid, it had the green head and a white patch on the breast, but with no trim and the body was all brownish like a cinnamon Teal? For lack of a really good description I'm gonna look at my pictures and come to a conclusion later! Also a pair of Hooded Mergansers nearby and dozens of Goldeneyes. Nothing much else by the river at Trout Park in Elgin and and nothing but one Mute Swan and a few Common Mergansers at Slade park as well, no sign of any Longtailed Duck, (chuckle) !! All right I can't get my expectations too high now! My excuse was there was a lot of ice flow.

Al Stokie on 1/30 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Made my 2nd attempt to see the Long Tailed Duck today thinking that since the Young Birders Group saw it yesterday I should try as soon as possible. But on arriving at my 1st stop I could see right away that finding ducks in the river would not be easy as the fast flowing river at West Dundee was choked with fast flowing ice! This proved to be the case at all my river viewing locations & ducks (except for Mallards) were indeed scarce. Not so with Canada Geese & there must have been over 2000 of them and they were at every place I went. Mallards were mixed in but in smaller numbers. Goldeneye were seen in small numbers wherever enough open water was found with most just south of Carpentersville Dam. Common Mergs were hard to find with about 8 just north of the Borden Library & 2 at South Elgin Dam. With all those Geese I thought I'd find 1 other Goose species but I did not. I did locate Slade Park (yesterday's L.T. Duck site) but that was my only success of the day although all I found there were Canada Geese & lots of ice. Herring Gulls were found at most of my stops & 1 Ring Billed Gull was behind the Borden Library but that was the only 1 seen all a.m.

I saw 6 BALD EAGLES along the river & 4 were adults. Saw male Kingfishers (2) at both the Carpentersville Dam & in the river by the Trout Park Blvd pull off. Only the most common land birds were found but I was not looking for land birds. Until the flowing ice calms down it will not be easy to find enough open water for the diving ducks to congregate so I think I'll give up on this L.T. Duck & try & find another one perhaps in Lake Michigan.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the adult Bald Eagles (the young ones can win the award when they grow up) & Runner-Up to the 2 male Kingfishers. Another one of those slow days I seem to be having most of the time lately.

Oliver Burrus on 1/29 reported via IBET: [The Illinois Young Birders] met at Carpenters Dam with guest leader Scott Cohrs. In the parking lot, Scott heard a Brown Creeper and a Bald Eagle flew over. Once everyone got there, we looked at the river finding a banded Canada Goose (N6Y3) (white numbers on an orange band) and three Greater White-fronted Geese (good spotting by Ethan Ellis) among the hundreds of Canadas. after the excitement of all of the Geese, we walked down the path where Matthew Cvetas found the leucistic Goldeneye. On the walk back, we found a lone Green-winged Teal, and a perched Bald Eagle. After a stop at Panera, we went to the Gail Borden Library. There we saw that up the river at Judson there were a lot more Geese. So we made the stop there short. We drove to a place across from Judson where we found some Cackling Geese and a very cooperative Brown Creeper. We walked up a path, finding the Long-tailed Duck (which has not been seen since Wednesday), another Cackling Goose, and a couple Bald Eagles. Then we drove down to John J. Duerr FP, where the best bird was a low flyover, juvenile Bald Eagle. But wait that is not it, as we were driving home I saw a flock of Canada Geese and in that flock, there was a tiny white goose and at first I said there was a Snow Goose but I soon realized that the bird was way too small to be a Snow and I decided it was a lifer Ross's

Al Stokie on 1/26 reported via IBET: ...The Carpentersville Dam had few ducks or gulls & nearby Jack Hill Park only had Goldeneye (~20) & a few Mallards. Checked the river both north & south from Elgin's Kimball St bridge & dam & all the ducks were just north behind the big library building. Here I saw 1 each Lesser Scaup & male Redhead, Goldeneye (6) & Common Mergs (20-22) but if the L.T. Duck was there I didn't find it. One adult Bald Eagle & 2 Great Blue Herons were also there.

I had never been on the Judson College grounds so I did a visit of exploration finding the 2 places where the L.T. Duck was seen on the 24th but did not see it today. At least I know how to get into this place so I'm ready for the next great bird that I am sure Eric S will locate. I noticed that Judson College teams are called the Eagles so it was fitting that a Bald Eagle flew by as I was driving around the grounds.

I must say that after the recent warm weather today's 31 degree temps with strong winds & light snow reminded me that Winter is not over yet.

There were many reports of the Long-tailed Duck on 1/24. It was spotted up river from the Gail Borden Library in Elgin north to Judson University.

Davida Kalina on 1/24 reported via eBird: Spotting a Thayer's Gull also at Judson.

Eric Secker on 1/24 reported via eBird: Seeing a Glaucous Gull also at Judson.

John Mayer on 1/23 reported via e-mail: I came across this Long-tailed Duck at Judson University today at 3:45 PM. This duck was swimming with three Common Mergansers at the north end of the University property. I could not get any better quality photos from the distance I was away. I relocated to the north but the duck was gone.

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy John Mayer

Scott Cohrs on 1/23 reported via eBird: Spotting a Ross's Goose at James O. Breen Community Park South in St. Charles.

Jason Newton on 1/23 reported via eBird: Finding a Ross's Goose along Jehrico Road in Big Rock.

Diane Hansen on 1/23 reported via e-mail: I walked from SEBA Park to Jon J Duerr and back Sunday but before I even got there I pulled over to check out a silhouette in a tree along Route 31 just south of Route 20. It was an American Kestrel. I took that as a good sign for the rest of the day. The trees next to the first ball field as you head south on the river trail just past the foot bridge were full of birds. I saw goldfinches, house finches, juncos, chickadees, downy woodpeckers and several Eastern Bluebirds. They were a lovely pop of color on a drab day.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Oliver Burrus on 1/22 reported via IBET: We had not been to Carpentersville Dam in a week and a half so I wanted to see if anything was there. At the dam, few birds were present (although we did see lots of Canada Geese). We walked down the trail finding some American Tree Sparrows, a pair of Cardinals, and some Chickadees. We headed back to our car to drive down to the Fox River in West Dundee. We scanned the river looking for the Barrow's Goldeneye which has not been seen this year. We had no luck with the Barrow's but we did find what could be a first basic Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Oliver Burrus on 1/21 reported via IBET: I also noticed that in Carpentersville. Also I saw five Mute Swans on the Fox River in West Dundee.

Brendon Lake on 1/21 reported via IBET: At 11:30, there was a large flock of geese on Meredith Road, just north of Route 38, near Elburn. At least 42 Snow Geese, and one Greater White-fronted Goose were among the many Canadas. Lots of geese airborne and on the move today.

Scott Cohrs on 1/21 reported via eBird: A Ross's Goose at a fluddle on Palmer Road. "Small white goose, stubby bill. Circling area. Appeared to be a juvenile as it still had some gray plumage. "

Eric Secker on 1/15 reported via IBET: We took a nice long walk through Oakhurst F.P. today. Looks like the freezing rain hit harder here than by us up in Elgin. Trails were very icy and we walked mostly along the grass trail edges. The birds were fairly active for a winter day.

Highlight on our walk was a calling COMMON REDPOLL that flew over twice near the main entrance road. For anyone looking for that species, I did notice that there's also a very large stand of alder trees at Cheshire Lake Park just east of Oakhurst. Full list is below.

2 Canada Goose
11 Mallard
1 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Mourning Dove
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
5 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
9 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
10 Black-capped Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
46 American Robin
4 American Tree Sparrow
2 Fox Sparrow
26 Dark-eyed Junco
3 White-throated Sparrow
16 Northern Cardinal
3 House Finch
1 Common Redpoll
4 American Goldfinch
6 House Sparrow

John Heneghan on 1/13 reported via e-mail: On my suet feeder at home in Big Rock, a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker.

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers photo courtesy John Heneghan

Theresa LeCompte on 1/9 reported via e-mail: My husband, Greg, and I went for a walk at Johnson's Mound this morning. I told him to keep his eyes peeled for a Barred Owl and this is what he found for me.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Lanette Padula on 1/9 reported via e-mail: Today I spotted a swan on the fox river in St. Charles from our back yard.  The other day I saw six of them with one juvenile. 

Mute Swan

Mute Swan photo courtesy Lanette Padula

Alan Lloyd on 1/9 reported via e-mail: Saw several Bald Eagles yesterday, north of the Elgin library around the Slade Avenue park ...

Bald Eagle, adult

Adult Bald Eagle photo courtesy Alan Lloyd

Several People on 1/9: Reported seeing a Greylag Goose along the Fox River near the ballfield south of the dam.

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Walt Lutz on 1/8 reported via e-mail: Shocked to see this Killdeer on this bitter cold day at Muirhead Forest Preserve.


Killdeer photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Chris Madsen on 1/8 reported: Carla and I walked from Batavia's Quarry Park to Les Arends Forest Preserve this morning. Considering the frigid temps, there was quite a bit of bird activity. We tallied 22 species in little over an hour.

Highlights included the Common cousins - Goldeneye and Merganser, 4 or 5 Bald Eagles, at least 4 Red-Tailed Hawks, a flock of 10(?) berry-devouring Cedar Waxwings, and one each of Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, puffed against the cold American Robin, White-throated Sparrow, and our prize-of-the-day Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Oliver Burrus on 1/8 reported via IBET: As we pulled into our driveway [in Carpentersville] I noticed a Bald Eagle perched on our neighbor's tree. As I scanned their yard I found 5 more! I ran inside to grab my camera to photograph them and while I was outside I saw a Merlin and a Red-tailed Hawk flyover along with a Brown Creeper, some Cedar Waxwings, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and the common feeder birds. All of these birds were seen within a minute.

Oliver Burrus on 1/7 reported via IBET: We started our day off at the Otto Parking lot [in Carpentersville] finding three Eagles, lots of Goldeneye (including the leucistic) and Mallards, and hundreds of Canada Geese. After a short stop there, we drove up to the Dam finding that there were still very few Gulls. Although we did find a lot of American Tree Sparrows. We walked down the path where the birding was better with the same birds seen at Otto and a pair of Hooded Mergansers. As we walked back, we scanned the Tree Sparrow flock finding a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

I also found a mystery Duck (probably just a Mallard but the supercilium looked off).

Kurt Frieders on 1/5 reported via e-mail: There were several Bald Eagles, including this really cooperative one, along Route 25 in Montgomery this morning. The numbers of Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers seem to be building. There also are the regular Canada Geese and Mallards. Many Great Blue Herons are huddled together on one island.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Stacy Schroeder on 1/4 reported via e-mail: Today I saw an adult Bald eagle and a young bald eagle soaring above St Patrick's Preschool/ Church in downtown St Charles.  They were in the area for at least 15 minutes.

Al Stokie on 1/3 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Today Jeff Sanders & I made 6 stops along the Fox River between the Carpentersville Dam & the Kimball St Dam in Elgin. When I covered these areas 1 week ago the river was partially frozen at all locations with 100's of Gulls on the ice & hunting for food at both dams. Today ice was in short supply & because of that Gulls were also in short supply. Oliver B has already mentioned the lack of Gulls at the Carpentersville Dam but this was true at all our stops today. All locations had fair numbers of Canada Geese & Mallards & small numbers of Common Goldeneye & Herring Gulls & smaller still numbers of Ring Billed Gulls. The only duck species seen were the 2 mentioned above, Mallard & Common Goldeneye. The only place with more than 10 Gulls was on the ice behind the Gail Borden Library by Kimball St. Not one Gull was flying at either of the 2 dams! Our only interesting species seen today was BALD EAGLE with 1 at Jack Hill Park, 2 at the Trout Park overlook, 2 on the ice at Gail Borden Library & 1 in a tree near the Kimball St dam. We are in for some very cold temps for the rest of the week which should result in the ice returning to all areas of the river & that should increase Gull numbers. I suggest waiting until the cold has done it's work before checking this part of the river again. At least that's my plan.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the 6 Bald Eagles & Runner-Up to the nice looking Goldeneye.

Oliver Burrus on 1/3 reported via IBET: ... we decided to go over to Carpentersville Dam to see if any of the Gulls seen last week and before were still there. On Lincoln Avenue, there were some Goldeneye, Geese, Mallards, and a Herring Gull. But at the Dam, birding was slow with only some Mergansers, a Great Blue Heron, and a few Gulls. We walked down the path finding a Brown Creeper and more ducks including the same leucistic Goldeneye.

Paul Mayer on 12/29 reported via e-mail: There was a Rough-legged Hawk at the Kane County Fairgrounds just west of Costco at 9:57 this morning. It was hunting and not simply passing through.

Jason Newton on 12/28 reported via eBird: At the Kimball Street dam in Elgin, a Glaucous Gull that "[a]ppears to be the same immature bird seen yesterday at Carpentersville dam. Disappeared after about 30 mins." He also had 2 Thayer's Gulls.

Christopher Cudworth on 12/28 repoted via IBET: Along with the requisite DARK EYED JUNCOS, TREE SPARROWS and HOUSE SPARROWS, we have a holdout White Crowned Sparrow at our feeder in North Aurora. This bird has been here for four weeks now.

We also have a lone female RWBB and were hosting two COWBIRDS and a GRACKLE up until the last round of storms.

Plenty of MOURNING DOVES, BLUE JAYS, five CARDINALS (three male, two female) RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and two DOWNY WOODPECKER (one male, one female) on the suet feeder. Also a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. We had a FLICKER through December 21 or so.

Typical feeder birds.

Brendon Lake on 12/27 reported via IBET: Hey all. This morning I birded at the Carpentersville Dam in my continuing search for a Kane County Glaucous, and this time, I was successful! I believe it was a second cycle bird, it was sleeping on the ice above the dam, and later hunting at the top of the dam. Those flawless white wingtips were stunning! I had the bird from 9:36 until I left at 11:10. The bird never left while I was there.

I also had a fly-by adult Kumlien's Gull at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin at about 11:40am. There are several groups of gulls resting on the ice at this location.

Al Stokie on 12/27 reported via IBET:

There has been a Canvasback here in the river between Fabyan Woods & Gunnar Anderson since at least 12-17 & it was seen yesterday so I thought I should find it easily today which shows how much I know. Looked for over 2 hours all the way to the Rt 38 bridge & dam in Geneva & did not find the Canvasback. A case of a day late & a Canvasback short! But I saw some interesting birds & 1 was a new species for December so I can't complain too much. Here's my site list:

Fabyan Woods & The Fox River (9:15-11:30 a.m.)

P.B. Grebe (1)
Great Blue Heron (saw 2 together & Bill A said there was a 3rd)
Canada Goose (~25, most left)
Mallard (~75)
(No other puddle ducks mixed in)
Common Goldeneye (16-18)
Common Merganser (51)
Red Breasted Merganser (1-F with the larger female Common Mergs)
Hawk Species? (Too big to be a Cooper's & too small to be a Red Tail, there's never a hawk expert around when you need one!)
Coot (2 hanging out with the P.B. Grebe)
Herring Gull (4 hunting the river)
Mourning Dove (12-15, toward Gunnar Anderson)
Red Bellied Woodpecker (1)
Downy Woodpecker (2)
Blue Jay (heard 1)
Chickadee (4-6)
W.B. Nuthatch (3)
WINTER WREN (1 heard well but seen poorly as it flew)
Junco (2)
Goldfinch (2)

Bird-Of-The-Day to the Winter Wren, my 1 new bird for December, in spite of my poor look. Runners-Up to the 2 Eagles & the late P.B. Grebe. Brendon Lake on 12/27 reported via IBET:

There will be other Canvasbacks, I hope.

Marion Miller on 12/26 reported via e-mail: Rich and I checked out the water above the Elgin dam on Monday.  There were over 200 gulls, mostly Herring and Ring-billed Gulls.  We were surprised to find two Bonaparte's Gulls, hidden in the group standing on the ice.  Five Eagles were also on the ice or in the trees there.

Bonaparte's Gulls

Bonaparte's Gulls (the little ones with the comma behind the eye) photo courtesy Marion Miller

Al Stokie on 12/26 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

As others have reported I too did not see the Barrow's Goldeneye seen here for the last few years but not (so far) this year. But Common Goldeneye numbers are over 100 between the Rt 72 bridge & the Carpentersville Dam so we need to keep looking. Also seen in good numbers were many Mallards & in with them by the Otto buildings on the west side of the river off Lincoln & north of Main were 2 Black Ducks & the female PINTAIL already reported by Oliver B.

In or by the river just north of the Rt 72 bridge in W. Dundee were Canada Geese (~40), Mallard (45), Goldeneye (only 4), Bald Eagles (2-AD & 1-IM) plus Ring Billed (only 2) & Herring (~20) Gulls.

Farther north in the river by the Jack Hill Park were Mallards, Goldeneye (~70), Bald Eagle (1-AD), Ring Billed (4) & Herring (~30) Gulls & Kingfisher (1-M). While here I heard 2 Chickadees calling to the west across the street. While looking at the Herring Gulls on the ice in came the 3rd year GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL which landed but only stayed about 30 seconds as right at that moment in came a low flying Bald Eagle which flushed all the Gulls including the Black Backed. I stayed another 30 min in the hopes the big gull would return but it did not nor did I see it again at all the other gull spots. I am not sure if I should be upset that I had such a brief look or be glad I saw it at all? I guess I'll do both.

Carpentersville Dam

Probably between 450 & 500 gulls here with about 50 Ring Bills & the rest Herring. Another birder (Walt I think) had been looking longer than I & he gave up & went back to the lot. Then in flew a 1st year ICELAND GULL circling over the dam. This species in the 1st year can either be pure white or a somewhat darker color but the key is that the wing tips & the rest of the gull are the same color whereas a 1st year Thayer's (which can also appear pretty light) shows darker wing tips than the rest of the birds color. So I am pretty sure this gull was an Iceland & not a Thayer's. Since it was a 1st year Iceland the bill was all black & not bi-colored. Called Walt back just in time & he got to see the Iceland Gull but on the ice & not flying. Not as good for I.D. purposes but good enough.

A short stop at the Kimball St dam in Elgin found about 30 gulls circling that dam but all seemed to be Herring Gulls...

Thanks go to Oliver B & his dad for showing me what turned out to be the female Pintail as I would not have looked at the river from that location had they not taken me there.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the close by & well seen Iceland Gull & Runner-Up to the somewhat uncooperative Great Black Backed Gull but that was the Eagles fault I guess.

Oliver Burrus on 12/26 reported via IBET: I wanted to go out today to try out my new 200-500 mm lens. Once we got to the overlook [at the Carpentersville dam], we found that some of the gulls had dispersed because some of the ice had melted. The only notable Gull species we found today were three Thayer’s. We walked down the path finding just the usual birds except for a Merlin. But when we got to the end of the path we found a strange dabbling duck with a reddish head and all black bill. We walked back and found Al Stokie looking for Gulls. We told him about the Duck and he said he would come and check it out. All of us drove to the Otto parking lot and Al identified it as a female Pintail (new for my Carpentersville Dam list and new for Al’s month list). After that, we decided to go down to the Fox River in West Dundee to see if the Great Black-backed Gull was still there. Once we got there we did not find it. But we did see four adult Bald Eagles at a fairly close distance.

On 12/25: There were a number of sightings of a Great Black-backed Gull on the Fox River at Lincoln Avenue in Carpentersville.

Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Oliver Burrus on 12/24 reported via IBET: We started out again at the Otto parking lot finding twenty Eagles. Then, we drove up to the Dam where we spent a longer time scanning through the Gulls then last time. We were rewarded with six Thayer's Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, and the second winter Iceland Gull. After we scanned the Gulls thoroughly, we walked down the path finding about ninety Goldeneye, fifteen Mergansers, and some more Eagles. We went back to our car and drove down to the Fox River in West Dundee. At the first stop (northern most parking lot on Lincoln Avenue between Otto and Washington St.), we saw just some Gulls. As we drove down Lincoln Avenue, we also saw some Gulls. I did a quick scan of them and found a third winter GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL. We watched it for about fifteen minutes to make sure that it was not something else. While we were watching it, we saw it steal a large fish from a Herring Gull.

Then later wrote: The second year Iceland Gull that I found was identified by Amar Ayyash as a Herring x Glaucous Gull (hybrid).

Bill Ahlgren on 12/22 reported via e-mail: Although the lighting was bad, it was enjoyable seeing 3 Rough-legged Hawks west of Batavia in Kane County Wednesday afternoon along with 2 Northern Harriers and 2 Red-tailed Hawks. Good Hawk movement the last two days.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Brendon Lake on 12/21 reported via IBET: Hey all, today was a rare day away from work and prior obligations, so I spent all day out in the Fox River Valley. My first stop was at the Carpentersville Dam, where I met up with Oliver B. for a short time, and he and his father showed me an adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a second cycle Iceland Gull almost immediately after I arrived. I later saw one of the Thayer's Gulls that they saw, an adult. The gulls show very well here, both the Lesser Black-Backed and Thayer's fished directly in front of the observation area. I took a walk along the paved path to the south to look for waterfowl, and the best I found were four Ring-Necked Ducks and a female Red-Breasted Merganser. Northern Cardinals were abundant along the path, feeding on the red berries that were on the bushes on either side of the pathway. John Hill Park in Dundee was slow, several Bald Eagles being the highlight there.

I next birded at Walton Island in Elgin, where eight Common Goldeneye, a Belted Kingfisher, and a probable Peregrine Falcon were highlights. I say probable as it was at a great distance, so I was unable to ID for certain, but it was sitting atop an antenna south and east of the Elgin Tower Building. It disappeared while I tried to get a closer look.

The South Elgin Dam had almost nothing going on, a single American Black Duck being the exception. I decided after to walk the shoreline at SEBA Park, just south of the South Elgin Dam. More Common Goldeneyes were here, and a fly-by Merlin was a real treat! Merlin have been in this area in the past, this is likely a good hunting area for them.

Passerine activity was high today at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve. I first heard, and then a saw, a single Hermit Thrush, feeding on some red berries along the trolley tracks. I accidentally spooked a Winter Wren out of a small cedar tree in between the old and current sets of trolley tracks, and it wasn't very happy that I did! I later came across two more Winter Wrens along the river that were constantly calling back and forth to one and other. Golden-Crowned Kinglets, Eastern Bluebirds, Downy, Hairy, and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers were all numerous along the river as well.

Island Park in Geneva was the last stop on the river, and here were 25 more Common Goldeneye, 23 Common Mergansers, two American Coots, a Cooper's Hawk, a Great Blue Heron, a Belted Kingfisher, and a continuing female Canvasback. The majority of the waterfowl were down toward Gunnar Anderson Forest Preserve, south of the foot bridge that goes underneath the railway bridge.

A great day to be out on the Fox!!

Scott Bowers on 12/21 reported via IBET: I was walking around at Ferson Creek Fen in St. Charles (Kane Co.) when a small quail-sized gray bird flew across the boardwalk in the frozen sedge swamp. I got a solid 1.5 seconds of viewing time as it dropped into the swamp on the other side. It looked very much like a Sora, but I don't live in the area, and anyway, don't they migrate? It moved entirely too quick to see any specific markings and it looked solidly dark gray. The bill was short like a sora but also looked dark.

Oliver Burrus on 12/21 reported via IBET: We started the day off at the Otto parking lot. There we found ten Eagles in one tree and eleven others flying around and hundreds of Canada Geese in the water. After that, we drove up to the dam finding lots of Gulls. After some scanning, we found out that the Herring Gulls way outnumbered the Ring-billed Gulls. In that flock, we found a juvenile Thayer’s followed by an adult. Shortly after we found those, we found an adult Lesser-backed Gull (first of season for me). Then Brendon Lake showed up and we pointed out to him the Lesser Black-backed. We also found a borderline 1st winter Herring/Thayer’s. We were still missing the Iceland Gull. After some searching though, we found one (but not the same one as seen previously). This one was a 2nd winter with a bicolored bill. Then we headed down the path to scan the other side of the waterfowl that we saw at Otto. Once we got to a good location to observe them, we found a flock of about 80 Common Goldeneye. We searched for the Barrow’s with no luck but we did find a very interesting looking leucistic Common.

Paul Mayer on 12/19 reported via e-mail: Today at our feeder there were two Brown-headed Cowbirds; one  male, one female. Must have missed the plane!

David Phillips on 12/18 reported via IBET: At dusk, I saw 6 Snow Buntings on Seavey Rd. between the golf course and Rt. 47. The location was right after the last house on left (when going west) and before the creek.

The flock was quite wary at first, but I slowly stalked close enough to get great views of them. There were 2 very snowy looking adult males in the group.

Marion Miller on 12/18 reported via eBird: Finding a Dark-eyed Junco, Oregon race, near Kaneville. "Junco with full dark black hood, chestnut flanks and brown to back. Eating seed from ground under feeders at a home off Main St just west of Dauberman Rd."

Eric Secker on 12/18 reported via IBET: It was actually a beautiful day for birding along the Fox River especially for mostly driving in a warmed up car with short walks in between. Having the sun out all day was also a big plus. In Carpentersville, we had one first winter THAYER'S GULL along the river at the park by Lincoln Ave. Also at least five BALD EAGLES perched and taking short flights all along that stretch of the river putting on a nice show today and probably enjoying that all the people are inside staying warm and not out harassing them. COMMON GOLDENEYE were up to 60 today but still no sign of their western counterpart returning.

At Carpentersville Dam there were three more BALD EAGLES perched. Among the gulls flying around the dam were two adult THAYER'S GULLS and one first winter THAYER'S GULL (possibly two, but one could have been the same bird seen at the first stop). In the parking lot, I walked up on a very cold CHIPPING SPARROW that was feeding in a small area of grass that the plow had exposed. He was very alert and actively feeding, but let me get within a foot of him. A SONG SPARROW was also foraging in the grass there as well.

The rest of the river north to Algonquin didn't produce anything else unusual. There were two more BALD EAGLES at Algonquin dam and a lot of Herring Gulls but no other unusual species that I could pick out.

Coming back home, we drove along the road at Judson and saw a beautiful adult GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL in with a large circling swarm of Herring Gulls near the water pumping station down by the Fox River - a new species (#201) for my Judson University site list.

There is also still open water in the riffles along Tyler Creek out our living room window that the BELTED KINGFISHER continues to visit from time to time.

Walter Lutz on 12/17 reported via e-mail: After Taylors excellent raptor day at Brunner F.P. I thought I'd give it a try today and it didn't disappoint. Kestrels, Rough-legged hawks, lots of Bald Eagles, a Harrier, Red-tails and a few others I think were maybe a Coopers and a Merlin.

Jason Newton on 12/17 reported via IBET: This afternoon along Seavey Rd in Sugar Grove there was a nice variety of birds, most notably a dark morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk and a light morph Rough-legged Hawk. These two were both near the Black Sheep golf course west of Bliss Rd. They are feeding on what appears to be a couple of Canada Geese carcasses. We saw both hawks, along with two Harriers and an Eastern Red-tailed, around 12:30pm and again at 1:50pm on the ground where the golf course meets the corn field, east of the golf course entrance. The Harlan's retreated to a tree on the golf course several times while we were watching it and is still there now. Photos on ebird later.

Other notable birds were 9 Rusty Blackbirds (perched in a tree in front of a house), an immature Red-headed Woodpecker (also perched in a tree in front of a house), and a handful of Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks closer to Route 47.

David Phillips on 12/14 reported via IBET: Didn't see the Pipit or the Snow Bunting on Esker Rd this afternoon, but there were the flocks of Lapland Longspurs / American Tree Sparrows, plus one immature White Crowned Sparrow tagging along.

There were also 2 Meadowlarks (could be Western) and they were often with the Longspurs. There was also a male Northern Harrier closer to Wheeler.

Never been along Esker Rd. before -- thanks!

Oliver Burrus on 12/14 reported via IBET: ...Along the way to the [Carpentersville] dam, we stopped at the Otto parking lot to find eight Bald Eagles flying around. After a short stop there, we drove up to the Dam to try to find some rare Gulls. We got to the overlook and we found the 1st year ICELAND GULL and three more Eagles. At the dam, we saw that up the river at Fox River Shores FP, there were lots more gulls. So, we decided to check it out. The hike to the point was terrible with the very cold wind blowing straight in to our faces. When we got to the point, we found about 75 to 100 Gulls sitting on the ice. One Gull was a possible California because of the bicolored bill (red gonydeal spot before black ring) and in between the size of a Herring and a Ring-billed. Those were the only field marks I could make out. Also, I could have possibly mistaken the size and it could have been a very late transitional plumage third year Herring Gull. So on ebird I will only put Larus spuh. But still a very intriguing bird that I think others should check out. After a slightly more pleasant walk back, we headed over to the Fox River in West Dundee to see if the Barrow's Goldeneye was there. Once we got there, we saw hundreds of Canada Geese, wild and domestic Mallards, seven Common Goldeneye (with no Barrow's), and some of the gulls from the dam (including the 1st year ICELAND).

Jim Narovec on 12/14 reported via e-mail: That time of year again, on 12/14, spotted 2 adult and 1 juvenile eagle in a tree on the west bank of the Fox River in West Dundee.

John Heneghan on 12/13 reported via e-mail: A spike buck and cowbirds enjoying bird seed in Big Rock.

Brown-headed Cowbirds and deer

Brown-headed Cowbirds and deer photo courtesy John Heneghan

Both Jenny Vogt and John Forbes on 12/13 reported via eBird: That the Iceland Gull continues at the Carpentersville dam.

Kurt Frieders on 12/13 reported via e-mail: We have had several good sightings in our yard and on our property (in Aurora township) lately. One of the most exciting was three Greater White-Fronted Geese that landed in our field on Monday. There was one mature one with heavy barring on the breast, and two juvenile ones. We've also had many Cackling Geese and Sandhill Cranes passing through. Our yard has been continually visited by our Red-Bellied Woodpecker who is storing his food for the winter in the top of the telephone pole that I photographed. There also have been daily visits from a Cooper's Hawk and an American Kestrel. Not to be discouraged our regular Juncos, Downey Woodpeckers, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, and House Finches continue to visit our feeders.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Oliver Burrus on 12/12 reported via IBET: I got a ebird RBA that said there was a Iceland Gull at Carpentersville Dam found by Eric Secker so we decided to try for it. We searched through hunderds of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls after about 30 minutes of looking we found a adult THEYER'S with black on only the tips of p6-10 on the underside and later a 1st winter ICELAND GULL also about 700 Canada Geese were around.

Eric Secker on 12/12 reported via IBET: Around lunchtime today there was an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and a first winter ICELAND GULL mixed in with the gulls around the dam at Carpentersville Dam. There were about 500 Ring-billed Gulls and 80 Herring Gulls on the ice north of the dam and further to the north. Other birds included a few COMMON GOLDENEYE and COMMON MERGANSERS. On Saturday I also had one adult THAYER'S GULL along the river between Dundee and Carpentersville...

Kirk and Kate LaGory on 12/11 reported via IBET: Followed up on John's observations and drove out to Dugan Rd. in Kane Co. in search of longspurs and snow buntings this afternoon. There were a lot of American tree sparrows and juncos on Dugan, but we found two flocks of Lapland Longspurs (70 and 30) along Esker Rd. nearby. The larger flock had a single Snow Bunting and an American Pipit as well, all feeding in the grass along the shoulder of the road.

Brendon Lake on 12/10 reported via eBird: A late season Orange-crowned Warbler and 4 Bonaparte's Gulls at the Carpentersville dam.

John Heneghan on 12/9 reported via IBET: On Dugan Rd North of Rt 30, there was a flock of 60 longspurs where Dugan and the approach lights for the east- west  runway at the Aurora airport. With the predicted snows this weekend, snow buntings should make an appearance also along the roadsides in areas with ag fields. Birded Sauer Family Fp in Kane Cty this evening. Saw 2 Harriers and a Coopers Hawk

John Mayer on 12/8 reported via e-mail: Yesterday afternoon at C-Ville dam.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy John Mayer

Oliver Burrus on 12/8 reported via IBET: I saw about 70 Sandhill Cranes and a juvenile Bald Eagle along with a lot of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls over the Fox River [in Carpentersville. Then] About 1100 Sandhill Cranes just flew over Helm Woods FP at about 1 PM].

John Mayer on 12/7 reported via e-mail: A Whooping Crane flyover today at Judson University.  Heading south for the winter.

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes (with tracking device visible on lead bird) photo courtesy John Mayer

Oliver Burrus on 12/5 reported via IBET: We went looking for a Barrow’s Goldeneye or rare Gulls at the Fox River just south of the dam at 9 am. There, we only found one lone Common Goldeneye, a few domestic and wild Mallards, Canada Geese, and a few Herring Gulls (one was a 3rd year Gull with a black tail band). After searching there for about 25 minutes, I thought that the Goldeneye flock I saw a couple days ago might be at the Dam. So we went up there. North the dam, we found 17 Ring-necked Ducks, about 30 Canada Geese, and Mallards. As we waited a while, Herring Gulls started to fly overhead with one being a THAYER’S GULL. We walked down the trail finding lots of Passerines such as Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Tree Sparrow, and lots of Juncos. At the end of the paved path, we saw the Goldeneye flock. But we flushed them back to thier origanal spot just south of Main Street bridge. We decided to walk back and drive back to the Goldeneye spot to scan them more thoroughly but found no Barrow’s.

Carpentersville Dam

Canada Goose Branta canadensis
American Black Duck Anas rubripes
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Common Merganser Mergus merganser
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
American Robin Turdus migratorius
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
American Tree Sparrow Spizelloides arborea
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Fox River at West Dundee

Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

Jim Mountjoy on 12/3 reported via IBET: On the way back from some car shopping in Chicagoland, my wife and I did a bit of birding along the way.  At Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in Kane County, there was a WINTER WREN along the river's edge, a handful of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and one late RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, four HERMIT THRUSHES, and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.  At one point I heard a few clear notes that suggested a Townsend's Solitaire - nothing conclusive, but given the past history at this site and the number of sightings already this year, worth bearing in mind if you are visiting this site?  I also had a few WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, which might not be so surprising, but they were a county tick for me and my 100th county for this species...

Marion Miller on 12/1 reported via e-mail: A lone juvenile Snow Goose is hanging out with a large group of Canada Geese in the fields across from Green Rd & Hughes Rd in Elburn.

Snow Goose

Snow Goose photo courtesy Marion Miller

Christopher Cudworth on 12/1 reported via IBET: There was an immature bald eagle flying over the retention/wetland on Tanner Road west of Deerpath on the border of Batavia/North Aurora. A similar bird is being seen over Nelson Lake just a half mile to the north.

Still no large movements of sandhills thus far, but a group of 13 was seen behind my home which sits about a mile southeast of Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia.

John Heneghan on 11/30 reported via e-mail: 5 Sandhill cranes were seen feeding with geese in the field at Deerpath South of Sullivan.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane photos courtesy John Heneghan

Sandhill Crane

Paul Richardson on 11/20 reported via e-mail: Well, now that the leaves have finally fallen off our Maple tree look what we found today! Mr. Screech owl.

Paul Richardson and Lou Stotts, central Elgin. Thanks to Lou for spotting it, although she thought it was a hornets' nest. I said hornets hang from branches, not sit on them.

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl photo courtesy Paul Richardson

Steve Huggins on 11/20 reported via IBET: Not much time for birding today but while visiting the inlaws in Huntley I was able to check out the large numbers of geese in the area around Huntley Outlet Mall at Freeman Road. 12 Cackling Geese and 5 White-fronted Geese were the highlights. Also had a migrating group of 33 Sandhill Cranes overhead.

Jon Duerr on 11/17 reported via eBird: Finding at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, an Orange-crowned Warbler which he commented was "viewed from 12-15 feet in sun; plain brownish yellow with faint eye line, yellow under rump, no wing bars."

John Heneghan on 11/14 reported via IBET: A Ross's Goose was seen at the Exel parking lot pond off Indian Trail Rd yesterday (11/13). This is just east of Orchard Rd in west Aurora. Also seen was a Greater White Fronted Goose with Canadian and Cackling geese at the retention pond on the north side of Sullivan across from the IL Math and Science Acad. This is where I saw a Ross's goose last week. A Greater White Fronted goose was also seen at the retention pond south of the fire station at Illinois and Orchard Rd in west Aurora. These sightings are in the same area.

Christopher Cudworth on 11/14 reported via IBET: I stopped at the wetland at the corner of Fabyan Parkway and Wenmoth Road west of Geneva. This morning there was a collective flock of 25 green-winged teal and one female shoveler in the wetlands on the west side of the road. There also appears to be an increase in the water height at this spot, likely the result of the beavers that appear to have taken up residence there, evidenced by a five-foot high lodge. That's a good sign. 

This morning at our feeder in North Aurora, there was a russet Fox Sparrow feeding with the regular crew of juncos, house sparrows and house finches. The Fox Sparrow was dominant among the birds, but flighty when it detected movement inside the house. 

Sue Wagoner on 11/12 reported via e-mail: I, like many others, am seeing Red-Breasted Nuthatches in my yard (2 of them), carrying sunflower seeds from my feeder to store in many places, including my neighbor's gutters.

There is a disintegrating Bald-Faced Hornet's nest under the eaves above my patio, showing empty cells. While hanging my laundry the other day I saw a Nuthatch hide a sunflower seed in one of the cells, pounding it in. Of course I went to get my camera but since they hide their seeds in many different places, I did not see a repeat of that!

Nice to see the little guys after about 3 years without them!

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Chris Madsen on 11/7 reported: For a little Sunday morning exercise, Carla and I opted for the full Nelson Lake loop. The lake was seemingly blanketed with American Coots.  In amongst the swimming sea of black was the distinctive white head of a displaying Hooded Merganser. Approaching the Audubon bridge, we came across this Rusty Blackbird, which was joined by four others while I was photographing him. Over on the west side of the lake, this pretty Common Buckeye entertained us for a few minutes along the main paved path.

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Diane Hansen on 11/6 reported via e-mail: The weather for the November Kane County Audubon Nelson Lake walk on Saturday could not have been better. Among the 44 species seen were several species of ducks, a Northern Harrier, a Bald Eagle, Sandhill Cranes, a Yellow-rumped Warbler and some Purple Finches.

Purple Finch

Purple Finch photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler photo courtesy Diane Hansen

John Heneghan on 11/3 reported via IBET: A Ross's Goose was seen with Canadian Geese in a retention pond on the North side of Sullivan across from IL Math and Science Academy in west Aurora.

Lucy De Lap on 11/2 reported via IBET: I had a red-breasted nuthatch at my suet feeder today [in East Dundee]. While I see the white-breasted variety frequently, this is the first red-breasted I've seen in since 2012.

Daryl Coldren on 11/2 reported via eBird: That 3 American White Pelicans continue at Nelson Lake. He also heard a Virginia Rail.

Bob Andrini on 10/25 reported via e-mail: The Hudsonian Godwit has been seen the past 2 mornings (Monday, Kath and I, Tuesday KCA ramble) at the Sugar Grove Fuddle. Both times the bird was seen early in the morning. If people go, they should not get out of their car near the metal barrier for fear of chasing it away and preventing others from seeing it.

Here is a picture showing the underwing markings characteristic of the Hudsonian Godwit.

Hudsonian Godwit

Hudsonian Godwit photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Daryl Coldren on 10/25 reported via IBET: 30 American White Pelicans at Nelson Lake Tuesday afternoon.

Liz Gerity on 10/25 reported via e-mail: Red-breasted nuthatches have been visiting my feeder in Campton for several days.

Also, a Chimney Swift tower was erected at Headwaters Park this week.

Julie Long on 10/24 reported via IBET: The Hudsonian Godwit was still hanging out at the fluddle/pond on Route 47 south of Sugar Grove.

Bill Ahlgren on 10/24 reported via IBET: He refound the Cattle Egrets at the Exel ponds on Indian Trail Road in Aurora.

Christopher Cudworth on 10/24 reported via IBET: At 7:00 am Monday morning there are 40+ white pelicans at Dick Young FP on the Nelson Lake wetland. Fishing and perched on west end. Visible from east viewing platform. Also had what appeared to be two snowy egrets departing in company of two common egrets about ten minutes ago. Yellow feet were visible even in dim light. Smaller in size than the commons. Flew southeast

Bill Ahlgren on 10/23 reported via e-mail: Two Cattle Egrets were found this morning at Mirador Lake area by me and Art Johnson. North Aurora IL.

Cattle Egrets

Cattle Egrets photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Bill Ahlgren on 10/22 reported via e-mail: Thursday and Saturday I found this Sora at Mirador along with nice counts of American Widgeon,  Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, and one Rusty Blackbird.


Sora photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

John Heneghan on 10/20 reported via IBET and e-mail: Went by the Rt 47 fiddle after Jude's report this AM. Farmer was in the bean field, no HUGO. Checked Prairie and Gordon, nothing. There were Canadian geese and a few snow geese feeding in a corn field on Gordon. Sandhill Cranes and Blue and Snow goose from retention pond on Parkside Ln and Gordon in Sugar Grove and yard Golden Crowned Kinglet.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes photo courtesy John Heneghan

Snow Geese

Snow Geese photo courtesy John Heneghan

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy John Heneghan

Jude Vickery on 10/20 reported via IBET: Hi everyone,

I just passed by the HWY 47 fluddle at 7:20am on my way to work and the Hudsonian Godwit was once again present feeding at the edge of the fluddle.

Clearly traffic or one or two birders don't bother this bird, however, the pattern would suggest that it doesn't like lots of people watching it at once, and will fly once a large group gathers.

Please stay back as far as possible, so as many people can enjoy this rarity as possible without the HUGO feeling uncomfortable.

Marion Miller on 10/17 reported via e-mail: Rich and I went to place the cap on the Chimney Swift tower at Brunner Family Forest Preserve on Saturday. From a distance we noticed a hawk perched on the top.  We thought it was going to be a Red-tailed Hawk, but once we got a closer look we saw it was a Red-shouldered Hawk.  It appeared to be a 2nd year hawk because some adult plumage, orangish feathers, are present on its front.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk photo courtesy Marion Miller

Al Stokie on 10/17 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Former coworker Al W's life list has been stuck at 199 for a while now so our plan for today was to try for the L.B. Dowitchers reported by Oliver B on Sunday from Fermi Lab. Or that was our plan until I saw the posts about the Godwit at the Sugar Grove Rt 47 Fluddle where the B.N. Stilts had been hanging out. So we made a new plan to try for the Godwit 1st & then try for the Dowitchers in the hopes that we'd get 1 of the 2.

Arrived at the Rt 47 Fluddle south of Sugar Grove at about 7:45-7:50 a.m. & as I pull off the road onto the shoulder Al W says "That's an awfully big shorebird in the water!" & indeed it was since it was the hoped for HUDSONIAN GODWIT. Watched it with bino's & the scope for about 10 min when up pulled 2 & then 3 & 4 cars with birders inside. 1st out of the cars were Matt W, Don L & Wes & I told them they were in luck as the bird was right here. Except that it wasn't any longer as we all watched it fly up, circle & head back in the direction of where Ryan & Jude saw it later by Gordon & Prairie. This wasn't appreciated by the others as that's where they were coming from after NOT seeing the Godwit there. Next Jon & Joy D arrived & they just missed seeing it flight & another birder, who had been monitoring the Stilts all Summer, also missed the Godwit. All headed back to Prairie & Gordon where I assume they all saw the bird as I later ran into Don & Wes at Nelson Lake & they said they had about 10 min looks at the Godwit before it once again flew off to who knows where. Later Andrew A said when he arrived later the Godwit was a no show. Another case of the earliest birders getting the bird!

Of interest to those who may see the Godwit later is that it seemed to walking with a pronounced limp which (when we saw it on land) proved to because it was completely missing it's left foot. Hard to walk normally when 1 leg is longer than the other leg! Also seen at the Rt 47 location were Killdeer (7), Lesser Yellowlegs (1) & Dunlin (1).

A quick visit later to Nelson Lake found that almost all the Geese were gone & we saw no Pelicans. Andrew, Don & Wes mentioned some of the ducks seen but I didn't check them out very hard.

Daryl Coldren on 10/17 reported via eBird: Three American White Pelicans continue at Nelson Lake.

Theresa LeCompte on 10/17 reported via e-mail: Thanks to Brendon Lake's find & Ryan Jones and Jude Vickery relocating it, I was able to add a HUDSONIAN GODWIT to my life list yesterday (seen at the corner of Prairie St./Gordon Rd.)

Hudsonian Godwit

Hudsonian Godwit photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Bill Ahlgren on 10/16 reported via IBET: After reading Oliver B's fine report at Nelson Lake this morning, I thought I'd have a look for myself.  Met up with Daryl C. and later joined by Art J. we found many waterfowl. Greater White fronted Geese, Northern Pintails, Ring-necked, Gadwall, American Widgeon, Mallard, both Teal spp. Northern Shoveler, several Pied-billed Grebe, 1 BC Night Heron spotted by Daryl C. 1 American Bittern seen by all flying along the cattails, and 3 American White Pelicans still present, and 1 maybe 2 Northern Harriers doing what they do best.  Driving home I got a text from my wife reporting a first in yard Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Oliver Burrus on 10/16 reported via IBET: Hi everyone,

I and Benjamin S. conducted our first WBC bird walk with just the two of us.
We started out at Nelson Lake at 6:50 AM (Benjamin came later at 8 AM) early on the walk was good with Sedge Wrens (along with some Sparrows) all along the trail. When we got to the observation deck thousands of Canada Geese and hundreds of Coots suprised us and as we looked a little closer (with scope) we saw Wigeons, lots of Cackling Geese, three Pelicans, Mallards, a flock of about 15 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE!, and Blue-winged Teal oh and all of this is before the sun rose.
When the sun rose (7:20 AM) the Geese started to leave (about a thousand in five minutes at one point) but the Ducks were persistent as we picked up Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Snow Goose, and Shoveler.
Once Ben arrived the waterfowl were mostly gone with just a few lingering Teals, Coots, and Canada Geese but the three Pelicans were still there...

Brendon Lake on 10/16 reported via IBET: Locating an Hudsonian Godwit in a fluudle along Route 47 south of Sugar Grove - the same fluddle that hosted the Black-necked Stilts earlier this year. Later reports indicated the godwit had relocated to the east, to the intersection of Prairie Street and Gordon Road in Aurora.

Ken Schneider on 10/16 reported via e-mail: Immature White-crowned Sparrow, OCT 14, 2016 in Batavia. The feeders in our daughter's back yard had run out but there was still some seed scattered on the deck. Two immature White-crowned Sparrows flew in and perched on the deck railing at eye level only about 4 feet from where I was sitting (photographing a junco in nearby tree). They were too close to focus and also more than filled the viewfinder of my telescopic lens system, so I cautiously switched on the macro setting. One flew off but I obtained a burst of portraits before it too fled.

White-crowned Sparrow

Immature White-crowned Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Wanda Griffith on 10/15 reported via e-mail: I got to see and hear a large flock of sandhill cranes fly over about 630pm this evening and another flock again about 830. I live in South Elgin on the fox river. I'm not good at directions but from my house they went towards the damn or the village of South Elgin...what a treat. 

Tori Jenkins on 10/14 reported via e-mail: I just spotted 3 Great White Pelicans landing at Nelson Lake. So excited to see them!

Ken Schneider on 10/13 reported via e-mail: At the Lippold Park parking lot this morning (OCT 13), Mary Lou and I saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch which was being closely followed by an Orange-crowned Warbler. They were moving along the row of cherry trees at the far north side of the lot. The nuthatch flew across to the east side and the warbler followed, then returned with the warbler still right behind. I got photos of both in the same frame but only focused on one of the birds. We watched the two for at least two minutes before they flew away to the north together. Also saw a Hermit Thrush, a Swamp Sparrow, a Gray Catbird and 3 Belted Kingfishers plus usual suspects among the 24 species logged.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Henrey Deeze on 10/13 reported via eBird: Reported both a Veery "Very gray thrush, with a gray face. No buffy feathers on the face and no spectacles. The tail was the same color as the back and wings." ("Brownish-gray thrush with pale brown speckling on the throat and few speckles on the chest.") and a Gray-cheeked Thrush ("Very gray thrush, with a gray face. No buffy feathers on the face and no spectacles. The tail was the same color as the back and wings.") at Burnidge Forest Preserve.

Scott Latimer on 10/10 reported via IBET: Thanks to Matt W's earlier post I was able to find [Prairie Green Wetlands] of Geneva. Not sure if same birds but there were 2 Le Conte's present. See Matt's great directions from his 10/4 post. They were in the southern end of the field, approx 20 yards west of the soybean field. Some bushwacking and patience required.

Richard Prather on 10/9 reported via e-mail: Kayaking on the Fox River Sunday 10/9 I spotted a Osprey sitting in a tree just south of the Fabyan bridge on the east side of the river.

Ken Schneider on 10/9 reported via e-mail: Over the past few days the American White Pelican flock at Nelson lake appears to have reduced in number. This morning I saw 7. Six took wing and gave a precision air-sea show, descending downwind wing-to wingtip formation, then banked and landed single file on the near side of the lake. Also had a nice flock of sparrows along the east entrance trail  including Swamp and Lincoln's Sparrows. Small flocks of Golden-crowned Kinglets were present.

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Chris Madsen on 10/9 reported: Carla and I visited Prairie Green Wetlands yesterday. The pond has been reduced to a few puddles in which the birds are enthusiastically bathing. We were hoping for unusual, migrating sparrows. We whiffed on them. But we did stumble upon this lone Wilson's Snipe huddled in the grasses growing in the middle of what once was the pond basin.

Wilson's Snipe photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Matt Wistrand on 10/4 reported via IBET: Good morning,

There are two LE CONTE'S SPARROWS at Prairie Green off Peck Rd in Geneva (Kane Co). Both are in the same general area. From the parking lot take the trail south. It will curve west, and then begin to curve south again. At this point there is a mowed path that heads toward the tree line. Take this path, and then head south in the field, hugging the field's east edge for a few hundred meters before coming to a stand of what I believe is broomsedge (the tall reddish grass). The first bird was in here, while the second was in the foxtail directly west of there.

The easiest way to locate these bird is by their long, thin, descending flight call that is much longer than that of Savannah Sparrow. This is how I found them, but it took a while and a bit of patience since they really don't call frequently.

Good birding!

Marion Miller on 10/3 reported via e-mail: On Monday evening, I counted 2218 Chimney Swifts going into the [Geneva] post office chimney.  Most going in between 6:46 - 6:52pm.

Daryl Coldren on 10/3 reported via eBird: At Bliss Woods Forest Preserve, a female Summer Tanager near the parking lot and shelter.

Bill Ahlgren on 10/2 reported via e-mail: I was surprised to find this "squadron" of American White Pelicans at Nelson Lake this afternoon.  First spotted 9/27/16 and still there 10/2/16. Viewed from the east platform.

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

On Chimney Swift stakeouts on the evening of 9/29: Jon Duerr reported 240 at Lincoln School in St. Charles and Marion Miller counted 3,394 at the post office in Geneva.

Jon Duerr on 9/28 reported via eBird: 3,800 Chimney Swifts in downtown Geneva at the Post Office. First bird entered at 7:03; show ended at 7:09.

Bill Ahlgren and Daryl Coldren on 9/27 reported via eBird: In separate reports, both saw 14 American White Pelicans at Nelson Lake.

Amanda Parrish and Jude Vickery on 9/27 reported via eBird: In separate reports, both saw 4 Snow Geese with a large flock of Canada Geese, one near Pingree Grove, the other near Hampshire.

Lisa Williams on 9/26 reported via e-mail: Today was raptor day at Nelson Lake. Spotted a Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon and juvenile Bald Eagle. Also saw my first Dark-eyed Junco of the season.

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Juvenile Bald Eagle photo courtesy Lisa Williams

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon photo courtesy Lisa Williams

Walter Lutz on 9/24 reported via e-mail: Snowy Egret @ Judson U. (Elgin) on the fox River this morning.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret photo courtesy Walter Lutz

Liz Gerity on 9/24 reported via e-mail: Two flocks of Sandhill Cranes overhead at Headwaters park in Campton at about 7:15 am this morning.

Chris Madsen on 9/22 reported: Our fear that Fall warbler migration had ended was put at bay when Carla and I visited Jon Duerr Forest Preserve this mid-afternoon. There was a flurry of activity in the areas to the west of the parking lots. Nine warbler species included many Yellow-rumps, a Northern Parula, and these Bay-breasted and Cape May.

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Theresa LeCompte ob 9/22 reported via e-mail: While hiking up the road at Johnson Mound this morning, I was lucky enough to overhear the conversation between two BARRED OWLS that lasted for a delightful six minutes.

Walter Lutz on 9/20 reported via e-mail: Le Conte's or Nelson's sparrow at Muirhead F.P tonight. Unfortunately couldn't make a positive I.D.

Marion Miller on 9/18 reported via e-mail: Our backyard (Batavia) Pokeweed keeps bringing the birds in. Swainson's Thrush yesterday, Cedar Waxwings today and a new yard bird: Gray-cheeked Thrush. Thanks to Jon Duerr who shared the "magic" of the Pokeweed plant when we first went out on a bird walk.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Gray-cheeked Thrush photo courtesy Marion Miller

Marion Miller on 9/15 reported via e-mail: Thirty-three people showed up to watch a spectacular show of 4000+ Chimney Swifts entering the Marberry Cleaners chimney in St. Charles on Thursday evening. The first bird in was at 7:18p and last in at 7:26p. We won over at least 3 people walking to their cars to stop and watch awhile and learn about Chimney Swifts.

Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts photo courtesy Gordon Garcia

You can learn more about these birds in Kane County by visiting Marion and Rich's Facebook page Chimney Swifts Over the Fox Valley.

Cathy Martens on 9/14 reported via e-mail: I saw a robin fledgling hiding in the bushes in my yard in Campton Hills this morning. This is by far the latest I have ever seen a robin fledgling. In fact, most of the neighborhood robins have been gone for weeks now.

Chris and Jackie Bowman on 9/13 reported via e-mail: Our outing today at LeRoy Oakes provided brief camouflaged looks at a good variety of birds.  Ten warbler species were seen, best being Connecticut & Golden-winged.  We also saw two Broad-winged Hawks, Carolina Wren, two Olive-sided Flycatchers, Philadelphia Vireo, Tufted Titmouse & Red-breasted Nuthatch.  The blooming Touch-Me-Not are abundant and beautiful!

 Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Sue Wagoner on 9/11 reported via e-mail: We were enchanted by this large Argiope trifasciata (Banded Garden Spider) on Mary O's Bliss Woods walk Sunday, September 11. We did see some interesting birds also, including an Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager female or immature, and an immature Red-Tailed Hawk that had caught a squirrel.

Banded Garden Spider - dorsal view

Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) photos courtesy Sue Wagoner.
Dorsal view top, ventral view bottom.

Banded Garden Spider - ventral view

Jackie Bowman on 9/5 reported via e-mail: We had an interesting experience today at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. While walking back to our car at about 2:00pm, something flew right past us and swooped up onto a branch. The reddish coloring and the flap of the wings was like nothing we had seen before....because it was something we had never seen. An Eastern Pipistrelle! What a neat way to end our walk.


Eastern Pipistrelle

Eastern Pipistrelle photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Dave Abernathy on 9/5 reported via e-mail: On 3 Sep 2016 at about 6:38 p.m. four Sandhill Cranes strolled across Deerpath Road in Batavia Township, about a mile south of Main St.

Walt Lutz on 9/3 reported via e-mail: Young Cape May warbler @ Jon Duerr F.P. Saturday evening. Other warblers seen: Black & White, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, Tennessee.

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Marion Miller on 9/3 reported via e-mail: Rich and I enjoyed the beautiful evening on Saturday by our first Chimney Swift roost we found 4 years ago at 425 N. River St in Batavia.  We watched 198 Swifts enter the crumbling small chimney.  It turned into a mini hawk-watch too.  We had a fly by Osprey, Peregrine Falcon and 2 Nighthawks. Two Black-crowned Night-herons were also present.  One was a juvenile and was actively moving along the island's shoreline catching and eating many small fish when we first arrived.

Jon Duerr on 9/3  reported via eBird: Watching 1050 Chimney Swifts at dusk enter the chimney at Marberry Cleaners in St. Charles.

John Mayer on 9/2 reported via e-mail: Found this Great Horned Owl this morning at Paul Wolf Forest Preserve.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy John Mayer

Theresa Le Compte on 9/2 reported via e-mail: Last night, my husband and I staked out a CHIMNEY SWIFT roost at 419 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora that the Millers had located nearly a week ago. We observed approx. 774 SWIFTS entering the chimney on the 1920's apartment building from 7:40 pm to 7:55 pm.

Even though this poor male NORTHERN CARDINAL has seen better days, he persists with the parental duties of feeding his young. (Picture taken through living room window of my Aurora home)

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals photo courtesy Theresa Le Compte

Older sightings available here.


This page last updated Friday June 23, 2017

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