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.

Jason Newton and Bill Ahlgren on 2/21 reported via eBIrd: A Greater Scaup at Fabyan Forest Preserve. Per Jason: "Presumably continuing from a few days ago. Seen north of the peninsula connecting the two sides of the preserve. Closely studied its head shape while relaxed and not actively diving. Its head peaked above the eye, rather than behind the eye. Its bill was slightly larger and nail more broad than lesser scaup."

Theresa LeCompte on 2/20 reported via e-mail: Checked a few fluddles this morning and found this lone male BUFFLEHEAD at the Mirador subdivision in the flooded park (Bennet) there. Also saw two American Black Ducks amongst the Mallards and Canada Geese.


Bufflehead photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Eric Secker on 2/20 reported via IBET: Nothing unusual, but lots of birds taking advantage of the warm day between the clumps of rain.

At Jelke Creek, two Killdeer were calling from the marsh. There were also about 25 Red-winged Blackbirds in with a large flock of starlings. Also more flying over headed north at a couple other spots.

Along the Fox River, more American Coots today, a female scaup, and the expected goldeneye and Common Mergansers. There were also a couple groups of Golden-crowned Kinglets and a flyover Common Grackle.

The local cardinals and House Finches are also all singing and very happy today.

Kevin Meyers on 2/19 reported via e-mail: While driving and crossing over fox river on rt.38 and saw two adult bald eagles swoop down over the bridge towards the dam.

Chuck Peterson on 2/15 reported via e-mail: [These] were taken at the Carpentersville Dam last Tuesday, 2/13. About 150 Golden Eyes above and below the dam. Must have been good fishing because they got pretty close in the area just below the dam. A few Eagles flying around also, but they didn’t get close.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye photos courtesy Chuck Peterson

Common Goldeneye

Marion Miller on 2/17 reported via e-mail: Rich and I stopped at Bennett Park (Geneva) to check out the open water on the Fox.  We were pretty surprised and excited to see an immature Glaucous Gull standing on the ice near the river's edge.  We enjoyed observing him for quite some time as he ate a fish.

Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull photo courtesy Marion Miller

Bob Andrini on 2/16 reported via e-mail: 15 Horned Larks on Seavey Road.

Wes Sadler on 2/17 reported via eBird: Two Red-headed Woodpeckers at Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve.

Bill Ahlgren on 2/14 reported via eBird: Finding 2 Red-headed Woodpeckers at Bliss Woods Forest Preserve,

Lucy DeLap on 2/13 reported via IBET: I truly did not expect to see the female/immature yellow-rumped warbler that was flitting from one to another suet feeder in my back yard this morning, vying with a junco for tidbits. I'd seen them as early as April in the past but never in the height of the snow season. This year we've had quite a few visits by a carolina wren as well which is unusual.

I also happened by 2 great blue herons standing on the ice floe in the Fox River, just north of the pedestrian bridge in East Dundee. They did not stay long as - I went back 5 minutes later and they were no where in sight.

On Sunday afternoon while walking along the Fox, over the course of a half hour or so we observed a string of 5 bald eagles fly north in the late afternoon. First a smaller adult, the one by one three immatures, and then a larger adult.

Just another day along the Fox in East Dundee! Gotta love it.

Walt Lutz on 2/13 reported via eBird: Seeing a Wlson's Snipe at Freeman Kame Forest Preserve.

Jonathan Schuler on 2/11 reported via e-mail: Have about 20-25 cedar waxwings in our front tree. Not too common around here in our development in Foxchase [in St. Charles], although they do show up occasionally in spring/summer. Went outside to walk the dog and they were making quite the racket in the tree about 1:45 pm. 

Bob Andrini on 2/10 reported via e-mail: Here are the 'crazy birders' that met on Saturday to open the snow packed trails at Bliss Woods. Good birds were Barred Owl, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Red-headed Woodpecker.

Bliss Woods FP birders

Bliss Woods Forest Preserve birders photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Josh Suliman on 2/8 reported via eBird: From Nelson Lake/Dick Young Forest Preserve, a Virginia Rail: "Spotted with Dennis Kania crossing trail into cattails on north side of lake."

Kane County Audubon on 2/8 reported via eBird: Finding two Trumpeter Swans at the Carpentersville dam.

Walt Lutz on 2/6 reported via eBird: At Freeman Kame Forest Preserve, found a Wilson's Snipe: "Flushed from an open water, slow-flowing drainage ditch. Had a really good look. Very fast, twisty flight, did a u-turn and flew by me - stocky, short-tail, very long bill."

Bob Andrini on 2/4 reported via e-mail: Yesterday at the Nelson's Lake walk, we all got to see an Eastern Towhee (Diane took picture). The first bird seen (from observation platform) was a Rough-legged Hawk. also seen were Pheasant, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark - 26 species in all) 15 people made the walk.

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Chris and Jackie Bowman on 1/29 reported via e-mail: Today we were happy to find that our thistle feeder was visited by flock of about 20 Common Redpoll.  

Common Redpolls

Common Redpolls photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Jason Newton and Jay Sturner on 1/28 reported via eBird: An American Wigeon at the Pingree Grove water treatment plant.

Walt Lutz on 1/25 reported via e-mail: So most people know this Great Horned Owl at Fabyan F.P. and it looks probable it will be nesting again, likely in the same tree.

This year, if I see a circus going on there, with people standing on picnic tables, bringing ladders, etc I'm going to speak my mind and I encourage others to do the same.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Julie Long on 1/22 reported via e-mail: I had at least fifty redpolls under and on my thistle feeders today. I had counted about 35 yesterday but they are very skittery so it’s hard to be accurate. I also had a yellow rumped warbler show up under the feeders and a brown creeper on the tree. But a coopers hawk swooped in and spooked all as he picked off either a downy or hairy woodpecker sadly. But I guess they have to eat also.

Scott Cohrs on 1/21 reported via eBird: At Riverside Park in  Geneva, a Monk Parakeet. "Heard vocalizing from yard due west across river. Unable to visualize due to fog. Later visited area on west side but unable to relocate. Area is very close to general area 1-2 birds have been reported from in the last year."

Chris & Jackie Bowman on 1/20 reported via e-mail: Today we birded our way up the Fox River from Batavia to Elgin. Despite all the ice there weren't many birds and very few gulls. The highlight of the day was our last stop at the Kimball Street dam in Elgin, where at the south end of the park we found two American Coot and three male Redhead, what a treat!

American Coot

American Coot photo courtesy Jackie Bowman


Redhead photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Urs Geiser on 1/20 reported via IBET: I drove through western Kane and DeKalb Counties on Saturday in the hope that there would still be enough snow to push the field birds (longspurs, buntings) to the edge of the gravel roads. I had no luck in that respect, and even the HORNED LARKS were sparse, with only a few seen here and there. A nice surprise, however, was an adult PEREGRINE FALCON with a meal on top of a utility pole along Lasher Road (Kane County). I added a few more common year birds, but only because I haven't been birding much so far this year.

Alexandra Shroeder on 1/20 reported via e-mail: There are two Mute Swans on the Fox River in St. Charles, near the Prairie Street bridge. Beautiful sight against the snow covered background.

Mary Burr on 1/20 reported via e-mail: One adult Bald Eagle in Surrey Hill neighborhood in St. Charles, early morning.

Jay Sturner on 1/17 reported via eBird: Saw a Wilson's Snipe at Sauer Family Prairie Kame Forest Preserve.

Mary Burr on 1/14 reported via e-mail: This morning around 11:00am I saw two adult Bald Eagles near the dam in Batavia.

Barb Rask on 1/12 reported via e-mail: New Yardbirds at my thistle feeders today, 3 PM. Photo a little grainy due to the screens on the windows but I had a small group of redpolls.

Common Redpolls


Lucy De Lap on 1/10 reported via IBET: An hour walk around the area at 3:30 this afternoon yielded quite a few incidental sightings.

About 40 Goldeneyes were clustered just of the Village Squire parking lot in West Dundee. They flew south along the river a short time after we spotted them.

A single Common Merganser was circling the center of the river slightly to the north.

Many Canada Geese and Mallards were strewn along various ice floes between the downtown and the pedestrian bridge.

A large flock of Canada Geese numbering close to 200 was to the north of the pedestrian bridge.

A Belted Kingfisher flew by hugging the eastern shoreline.

While we did not see any this afternoon, I did see a large immature Bald Eagle this morning in a tree along the river near North Street, and 2 adults plus a juvenile in a tree along the river across from the park at Barrington Avenue yesterday morning.

Jonathan Schuler on 1/10 reported via e-mail: On Monday 1/8 my father -- who was visiting from Pennsylvania with the rest of my family -- and I had a very brief time to walk around outside before heading to downtown Geneva for another engagement. We decided to see if the Spotted Towhee in West Aurora Forest Preserve was still hanging around, despite no recent sightings. We spent about 30 minutes checking its last known address but came up empty handed (not surprised). We decided to take a quick jaunt down the road to Hannaford Woods Forest Preserve to see if we could get an eye on the pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. We spent about 10 minutes walking the main trail and heard the pair call (one on each side of the trail). We then heard them drumming and spent a good 20 minutes trying to locate them. We were not able to get a visual before we had to leave (sigh), but they are definitely there, seemingly back deep in the woods. On the way into downtown Geneva, not prepared to go down without something, we stopped for a few short minutes at the Herrington Inn and Spa, a rather reliable spot to see Bald Eagles either perched in the trees next door, or soaring above the Fox River. There were two juveniles and one adult that day. The adult came swooping in right toward us just as we arrived. One of the juveniles took off and gave us a show for a few minutes before we had to bolt. Although we've seen plenty of eagles over the years, I will never tire of getting a good look; this is a great spot for a closeup.

Wes Sadler on 1/7 reported via eBird: Seeing on 1/5 a Trumpeter Swan at Glenwood Park Forest Preserve. "Adult bird eye broadly connected to bill, straight edge between bill and feathers. Unable to get front view of bird, it was sitting on ice facing opposite direction. Did not get any views to determine U vs V border on forehead."

Chris Bowman on 1/6 reported via e-mail: Jackie and I braved the cold today (1-6-18 Saturday), and went in search of the pair of Pileated Woodpeckers which were documented again, 2 weeks ago at Hannaford F.P……this pair has apparently been in the area since September 2017, intermittently being seen at either the connecting Hannaford or Bliss Woods. We had an audio in Carpentersville a few years back, but until today no Kane County visual on this species, despite multiple attempts in September/October 2017 at Bliss FP.

At noon we walked the Hannaford FP main path, beginning at the main north parking lot, walking all the way to the Bliss FP border, then back toward our car. Around 2 PM, we heard a vocalization consistent with Pileated, about a 100 yards south of the Hannaford FP parking lot. Jackie then visualized one of the pair, before I got on them. The birds were quite skittish, staying about 70 yards away. We were able to stay on them for about 10 minutes, from a distance.

Kathy Benedetto on 1/4 reported via e-mail: Today at the South Elgin dam there are plenty of eagles feeding..

Eric Secker on 1/2 reported via IBET: We had 31 participants show up in spite of the frigid cold temperatures to cover nine different areas within the 15 mile diameter count circle in northern Kane Co. and part of southern McHenry Co along the Fox River in the east and going west to Burlington and Hampshire, IL. Sites in the circle included the Algonquin, Carpentersville and Elgin Dams, Brunner F.P., Burnidge F.P., Fox River Shores, Raceway Woods, Pingree Grove, Fitchie Creek, Rutland, Freeman Kame, Hampshire F.P., Muirhead Springs, Binnie F.P., Tyler Creek, Exner Marsh, and others. Here's a map of the area.

Two intrepid birders did some owling predawn without any success in the cold and wind, but we still added owls later in the day and during some owling in the evening. Most participants started the day between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. with the temperature around 3 degrees (F) and a -17 degree windchill. Fortunately the skies were clear almost all day and the sun make for a still beautiful day. After a long day of both short walks by many, long walks by more intrepid individuals than myself, breaks for lunch, and lots of birding by car, about 15 people concluded their day with a casual dinner and opportunity to share their results at Jimmy's Charhouse on Randall Rd. in Elgin.

We ended the day with a total of 66 species! The full list with totals is below. Congrats to everyone who helped. That's a very respectable number for thirty people, a very cold day, and our first time ever conducting a count here. We also had at least 7 additional birds reported during the extended "count week" window between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.

Most areas had about 20-25 species with the river areas coming in higher partially due to the birds congregating along the water and in the ravines and woods near the river. 40 Bald Eagles were seen just between the two sections of river in our area. We also had 6 species of ducks and all the expected woodpeckers (no Red-headeds) as well as Carolina Wrens, Winter Wrens, and Tufted Titmice. The western areas represented with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and all the expected country roadside birds included Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings. Area 4 also had a nice mix of the count's only Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Rusty Blackbirds. Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskins were both represented in a number of areas this year. The only two documentable species included two Thayer's Gulls and a California Gull, all seen at Carpentersville Dam. Many woodland birds as well as hawks and sparrows were in low supply due to the cold.

If you didn't join us this year, but are interested in helping in the future, feel free to contact me to get added to next year's contact list. We're glad to have help recruiting too if you know of others who might be interested in joining. Next year's tentative date will be Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018 with Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 as a secondary option depending on everyone's availability and potential conflicts with other counts.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Have a wonderful new year and here's to hoping that this new count becomes a fun yearly tradition as well as a great resource for documenting the birds wintering in this area.

Total Species in Area: 66

33 - Walked: Miles
30.25 - Walked: Hours
352.75- Driven: Miles
34.75 - Driven: Hours
0.75 - Owling: Miles
1 - Owling: Hours
16 - Parties

2 - Cackling Goose
4447 - Canada Goose
1 - Wood Duck
2 - American Black Duck
655 - Mallard
237 - Common Goldeneye
3 - Hooded Merganser
4 - Common Merganser
16 - Great Blue Heron
40 - Bald Eagle
2 - Northern Harrier
2 - Sharp-shinned Hawk
6 - Cooper's Hawk
32 - Red-tailed Hawk
1 - Rough-legged Hawk
5 - Ring-billed Gull
122 - Herring Gull
85 - Rock Pigeon
103 - Mourning Dove
1 - Eastern Screech-Owl
5 - Great Horned Owl
4 - Belted Kingfisher
47 - Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
59 - Downy Woodpecker
21 - Hairy Woodpecker
4 - Northern Flicker
1 - American Kestrel
1 - Merlin
49 - Blue Jay
52 - American Crow
296 - Horned Lark
87 - Black-capped Chickadee
2 - Tufted Titmouse
6 - Red-breasted Nuthatch
40 - White-breasted Nuthatch
8 - Brown Creeper
4 - Winter Wren
3 - Carolina Wren
4 - Golden-crowned Kinglet
3 - Eastern Bluebird
1 - Hermit Thrush
56 - American Robin
588 - European Starling
124 - Cedar Waxwing
185 - Lapland Longspur
11 - Snow Bunting
2 - Yellow-rumped Warbler
308 - American Tree Sparrow
3 - Fox Sparrow
398 - Dark-eyed Junco
6 - White-crowned Sparrow
42 - White-throated Sparrow
11 - Song Sparrow
2 - Swamp Sparrow
99 - Northern Cardinal
37 - Red-winged Blackbird
25 - Rusty Blackbird
17 - Brown-headed Cowbird
147 - House Finch
1 - Purple Finch
10 - Pine Siskin
68 - American Goldfinch
485 - House Sparrow
2 - Thayer's Gull ***

1 - California Gull ***

Daryl Coldren on 1/2 reported via eBird: A Rusty Blackbird south of Elburn on Route 47.

Henrey Deese on 1/2 reported via eBird: Finding a California Gull at the Carpentersville dam. "1st Cycle. Larger than ring-billed, but smaller than herring (see mallards for size comparison). Fairly uniform coloration overall, seems a little light, but still darker than I'd expect a ring-billed to be. ID'd mainly the dark primaries and retricies, the uniform underwing coloration, and lack of gray on the back."

Bill Ahlgren on 1/2 reported via eBird: Seeing a continuing Ruby-crowned Kinglet at his feeders in Batavia.

Bill & Carol Ludemann on 1/1 reported via e-mail: On December 31 we spotted a Fox Sparrow on the ground under our bird feeder. We live in the Windings Subdivision west of St Charles.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow photo courtesy Bill Ludemann

Jason Newton & Jay Sturner on 12/31 reported via eBird: Finding an Iceland Gull at the Kimball Street Dam in Elgin.

John Mullins on 12/30 reported via e-mail: 12/29 saw five Bald Eagles in trees on Walton Island in downtown Elgin. Once again its extreme cold that brings them back. First sighting since February.

Eric Secker on 12/30 reported via IBET: Best bird in our area for the Rutland Christmas Bird Count today was an adult CALIFORNIA GULL at Carpentersville Dam - my second ever sighting of this species for Illinois which usually eludes me. Unfortunately the gulls have been turning over a lot and it wasn't seen again after a Bald Eagle flushed the group and only half returned. There were also two "Thayer's" ICELAND GULLS today, an adult and a second-year bird. As many as 17 BALD EAGLES have been hanging around the dam (though generally you'll only see 2-4 close).  Ducks at the dam or below have included Mallards, Am. Black Duck, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Hooded Merganser. Up to 15 Great Blue Herons have also been hanging out above the dam. Yesterday we watched two Coyotes walking out on the ice and flushing all the herons which was a weird sight in the 5 degree weather.

We had over 30+ participants for the first ever Rutland CBC who were up for braving the challenge of the cold. So far everyone I checked with still had all ten fingers at the end of the day so I'm considering that a success. I drove a lot more than usual and probably the only record I broke was number of clothing layers worn, but I went home with some great sightings, new friends, and overall feeling like it wasn't that bad dealing with the cold, though I definitely look forward to warmer years than this one in the future.

We're still confirming final totals for the count but overall we had a good variety of species represented even though many of the longer cold walks through forest preserves didn't produce many birds. That challenge was countered somewhat by all the birding by car done today, all the birds congregating right on the river and recently plowed country roadsides, and birds coming in at feeders. If you didn't join us this year, but want to be on the list for in the future, feel free to send me an email.

Bob Andrini on 12/28 reported via e-mail: Many Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks, and a few Snow Buntings out on Seavey Rd this morning .

John Heneghan on 12/26 reported via IBET: This afternoon (12/26/17), a large flock of Longspurs and Larks were seen feeding along Wheeler just east of Dugan at the Northwest corner of the Aurora Airport. A male Harrier was also seen hunting the grassy areas. We did not see any Longspurs or Larks on the CBC, the snow brings them out!!!

Roland and Regina Gilson on 12/25 reported via e-mail: Today (25th) Around 12.30pm over Aurora West FP, heading south east, about 50 sandhill cranes. A big mess first, trying to hit altitude, and once they did, they formed up into a perfect V formation.

Jason Newton on 12/23 reported via eBird: Seeing a Northern Waterthrush at Bliss Woods Forest Preserve along Blackberry Creek. He reported seeing it from the footbridge south of the main parking lot.

Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush photo courtesy Jason Newton

Chris Bowman on 12/21 reported via e-mail: Thursday 12/21 at about 2 P.M. : visualized the colorful male Spotted Towhee at Aurora West Forest Preserve, which has been intermittently reported over the past 3 weeks. It was located in the same area as prior, approximately .1 miles north of the small east side neighborhood type parking area; in the thickets west of the trail.

After about 30 minutes of hanging around the area, I heard the scratching of ground leaves somewhere several yards off the trail. Honing in on the sound revealed this beautiful bird foraging on the the preserve floor….. This is my first male Spotted Towhee for the county, as had a female several years ago at Hickory Knolls.

Also in the same area was an easily seen Northern Shrike, moving from tree top to tree top. This bird also has apparently been in the area for a couple weeks.

Lucy De Lap on 12/21 reported via IBET: I have seen blue herons in the area throughout winter for the last several years. I have specific February sightings noted for years 2012, 2013 and 2015, and early March sightings as far back as 1995.

We live near the Fox River so more likely to see along here than away from moving water.

Also, I saw the first goldeneyes (2 pair) Tuesday morning and 1 today near the pedestrian bridge.

On Monday afternoon while walking, we saw 3 bald eagles in 45 minutes, 1 soaring over East Dundee and 2 traveling downriver between the bridge by Otto and the Rt. 72 bridge.

Al Stokie on 12/16 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Today Scott Latimer & I joined Mike Madsen's Area 6 group as part of what used to be called the Batavia/Fermi Count & may still be called that for all I know. Scott & I covered Geneva's Island Park, Fabyan Woods & Gunnar Anderson F.P. by the Kane County government building complex. Basically its the areas along the Fox River from Rt 38 in Geneva to Fabyan Parkway. It's been a long day for me so I'll just mention our highlights but if you want our full lists you can check them on ebird.

Island Park, Geneva

Here we saw many Canada Geese (over 400) & Mallards (over 200), 2 Great Blue Herons & 2 young Bald Eagles. Land birds were few & none uncommon.

Fabyan Woods

In the river were more Canada Geese & Mallards pus 1 female GADWALL, 3 male Common Mergansers & 1 male Common Goldeneye. Also 3 more Great Blue Herons very close to each other & 2 young Bald Eagles resting together at the top of a large tree. Best land bird was a WINTER WREN by water in a back area on the west side of the river. Also seen were 4 White Throated Sparrows in 1 group & 2 Pine Siskins.

Gunnar Anderson F.P.

In the river opposite this place was a fine looking male HOODED MERGANSER & 7 more Common Mergansers of which only 1 was a female. And of course more Mallards & Canada Geese. Land birds of interest included 9 CEDAR WAXWINGS & 2 Pine Siskins. This is a regular spot for Winter Wrens & Hermit Thrushes but we found neither species today. I saw what would have been by far the best bird of the day had I seen it for more than 2 seconds but what may have been an Eastern Phoebe was gone so fast I could not be positive & Scott only saw it as it flew away. It did the tail wagging routine 2 times & was gone. It was also with the berry eating Waxwings & berries are what Phoebes eat when bugs are gone. I kept looking for almost 30 min but could not re-find whatever it was. Sad that we could not add it to the count birds!

So for the lack of a Phoebe Bird-Of-The-Day goes to the Winter Wren which we did see very well indeed as it chattered away on a branch while doing those knee bends they do when chattering. Runner-Up to the female Gadwall in the river.

Fancy Pants Birds Of The Day to the male Hooded Merganser & the Cedar Waxwings.

Eric Secker on 12/12 reported via IBET: Highlights from a walk at Raceway Woods this morning included a flyover RED CROSSBILL and nine close EASTERN BLUEBIRDS in some short trees and feeding on seeds down in the snow.

The Fox River this winter so far has only produced one Common Goldeneye and two Common Mergansers. Gulls are still sparse too and still very mixed Herring and Ring-billed for this far into the season.

Only two flyover adult Bald Eagles so far this winter too.

I have also had a Winter Wren at Judson University and a Carolina Wren on multiple occasions at Tyler Creek F.P.

About 35-40 Tundra Swans flew over a little while ago heading east from the Fox River near Fox River Shores F.P.

Distant to call to species, but they appeared to be Tundras based on smaller shape and appearance of size, shorter necks, bill markings plus distant vocalizations.

Bob Andrini on 12/11 reported via e-mail: Goldeneye on river - first of season.

Al Stokie on 12/3 reported via IBET:  ...I went to Aurora West F.P. in Kane Co to look for the recently seen Spotted Towhee. I was the 1st birder there arriving at 7:30 a.m. but soon I was joined by Scott L, Davida, Andrew A, Scott C, Doug S, Brendon L, Pete M & 5 others. We had all split into small groups to cover more areas at the same time. I ended up with Scott Latimer & that proved to be a good choice. At about 10:30 a.m. I had seen a Towhee sized bird fly by but the sun was in my eyes & I could not I.D. that bird. But that's where I stayed hoping for a better look when Scott arrived. We were looking at a Fox Sparrow in a tree when Scott yelled "there it is" & the SPOTTED TOWHEE was right next to the Fox Sparrow having just flown in. Watched it for about a minute & it flew to the ground. Scott called the others while the Towhee flew back up into a red berry tree. Eating berries there were 1 each House Finch & Fox Sparrow but the Towhee did not eat the berries & didn't stay long as it went back to the ground.

The others started to arrive but the Towhee was playing "hard to get" & stayed hidden. I know that Davida & a photographer saw the Towhee after the original sighting but no one else had seen it when I left at about 11 a.m. I hope the others had better luck later on.

Bird-Of-The-Day for me goes to the hard to find Spotted Towhee & Runner-Up to a Northern Shrike. Other birds of interest were Siskins, Fox Sparrows, White Crowned Sparrows & among many groups of flying Canada Geese were 2 very tiny Cackling Geese.

Birder-Of-The-Day goes to Scott L for finding the Towhee while I was right next to him.

Bob Andrini on 12/1 reported via e-mail: Spotted Towhee was sighted at West Aurora FP this morning (Friday 12/1). I saw the bird at about 11:00.
On east side of forest preserve north of Indian Trial road entrance.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Tim Balassie on 12/1 reported via text: Found a Spotted Towhee at Aurora West Forest Preserve.

Jay Sturner on 11/29 reported via eBird: From Fox River Shores Forest Preserve, a Merlin.

Tim Balassie on Janet Levy on 11/23 reported via e-mail: Janet reported seeing this leucistic (Its normally dark feathers don't possess the pigment to make them dark.) Canada Goose feeding along Bilter Road just west of Farnsworth (near the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall) over two days (Nov. 20 and 21). She also saw a bald eagle over the small marshes next to the outlet mall on 11/21.

Leucistic Canada Goose

Leucistic Canada Goose photo courtesy Janet Levy

Jay Sturner on 11/22 reported via eBird: On Seavy Road, west of Bliss, a Golden Eagle. "Seen circling over Black Sheep Golf Club as it headed SW toward Sugar Grove. The first thing I noticed about this bird was its large size. Even without a frame of reference I could tell it was an eagle and not a hawk or vulture. This comes from having seen hundreds of Bald Eagles (and a few Golden Eagles) over the years. The second thing I noticed was its overall shape, quite unlike that of Bald Eagles with their large, protruding heads and plank-like wings. This bird's proportions were more buteo-like, the head smaller, the wings "pinched in" at the bases, the secondaries slightly bulging, etc. It did not hold its wings in a flat plane like a soaring Bald, but in a slight dihedral (not to the extent of a Turkey Vulture), and glided rock steady, never teetering as vultures do. The clinching moment came when I clearly saw the golden nape, which at times seemed to shine in the sun. The rest of the bird was dark brown overall (no noticeable white mottling at this distance), except for lighter shades on the upperwing coverts and the two-toned underwings and tail base. Instead of white where white would be on a juvenile's tail, the base of this bird's tail appeared grayish. I was able to study the bird for several intense and exciting minutes as it revealed all aspects of its shape and plumage. At no time was there any doubt that it was anything but a Golden Eagle."

Jay also birded at Nelson Lake where he spotted a Northern Shrike ("Observed on the south side of the preserve about 2000 feet due west of Audubon Bridge. It was perched atop a shrub where the east-west portion of the fenceline meets the north-south portion of the fenceline.") and a Short-eared Owl ("Appeared a little after 4:30 p.m. in the prairie just west of Nelson Lake. I observed it from the southern part of Meadowlark Trail, not far from where I saw the shrike.")

Eric Howe on 11/19 reported via eBird: Two Whooping Cranes over Algonquin Commons at midday Sunday. "Migrating southeasterly with 100s of SACRs. The two WHCRs stood out in good light with white bodies and black primaries. On the closest approach , rusty coloration on neck indicated both were immatures. Wing span a tad wider than the SACRs..."

Cathy Martens on 11/17 reported via e-mail: On Nov. 16th around 2pm, approx. 2000+ sandhill cranes flew over my Campton Hills neighborhood in waves of 3-300 at a time. There could have been many more, but I only stayed outside in the cold to count for 15 minutes. I did not notice any whooping cranes. We have also had anywhere from 40-80 pine siskins at our thistle feeders for a couple of weeks now. There is currently a red breasted nuthatch visiting our sunflower and suet feeders, along with a red bellied woodpecker, which is unusual for our yard.

Jason Newton on 11/16 reported via eBird: At the Mirador Subdivision ponds in North Aurora, 2 Whooping Cranes: "Flyover with a flock of ~65 sandhill cranes. White cranes with black primaries, slightly larger than the sandhills..."

Diane Hansen on 11/15 reported via e-mail: I was sitting in my driveway in Elgin finishing a phone call when I saw something different looking fly into my rain garden.

In a minute it hopped out onto my lawn. I was surprised to see a Yellow-rumped Warbler. I don't think I've ever seen a warbler at my house much less one in mid-November.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Chris Bowman on 11/10 reported via e-mail: Today (11/10 Friday) I went to Peck Farm in Geneva, hoping to spot some migratory waterfowl. Disappointed to see the lake already frozen over. However, a nice consolation at 1pm, was a Northern Shrike in the small field trees on the west side of the lake, just west of the path that encircles the lake. This bird may very well stay a while, as I had it several days in late February this year, in the very same spot (had it one day on the east side of the lake). Also, Peck has done quite a bit of recent spot field burning, to make spotting voles easy.

Jackie Bowman on 11/8 reported via e-mail: We too are enjoying a few Pine Siskin at our backyard feeders.  Especially nice to see them on a beautiful sunny day like today.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Jackie Bowman on 10/31 reported via e-mail: Chris and I observed the Rufous Hummingbird in Elgin at 9:09 and 9:55am, 10/31.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Matthew Cvetas on 10/30 reported via IBET: A male Rufous Hummingbird is coming to a private feeder in Elgin. Birders are welcome to visit. The homeowner requests that you be respectful of them and their neighbors.

Address is 14N141 Gunpowder Lane in Elgin. Please park on the street and do not block the drive way. You are welcome to approach closer in the front yard.

A somewhat late staying female Ruby-throated Hummingbird is present as well.

Tracy Finnegan on 10/30 reported via e-mail: Nelson Lake has been quite active the last couple days. Bryan and I went there Wednesday in the late afternoon and yesterday around 11.

There were hundreds of geese, mallards, coots but quite a few gadwalls, pintails, northern shovelers, ruddy duck, widgeon, ring billed gull, a tundra swan, walking through the fields and woods saw a different group of small birds, over 50 robins, quite a few small warblers, hawks, bluejays, red wing blackbirds, grackle, cardinals, juncos, nuthatch, warblers, white throated sparrow and our new favorite a ruby crowned kinglet over near the east platform eating some of the seeds near the goldenrod. Even a couple of deer posed for us.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Tracy Finnegan

Katherine Hamby-Meindl on 10/29 reported via eBird: A Rufous Hummingbird at her home feeder west of Burnidge Forest Preserve.

Jason Newton on 10/29 reported via e-mail: On Saturday afternoon (10/28/17), I saw that someone had reported a Marbled Godwit on ebird just south of Big Rock on Granart Rd north of Rhodes Ave. I headed over to check it out and met up with Marion Miller at the fluddle. Sadly there was no godwit present, but there were a large number of shorebirds. Marion soon left and I stayed to sort through the shorebirds, hoping that the godwit may make a return. Shorebirds at the fluddle included:

10 late American Golden-Plover
43 (at least) Killdeer
42 Dunlin
3 Least Sandpiper
3 Pectoral Sandpiper
8 (at least) Wilson's Snipe
12 Greater Yellowlegs
4 Lesser Yellowlegs

Also of note was a lone male Brewer's Blackbird foraging around the fluddle. I stayed a while enjoying the views and eventually Phil Doncheck, Jay Sturner, Daryl Coldren arrived. Although the godwit never showed, patience eventually paid off when we were graced by a flyover of 4 Whooping Cranes.

Whooping Cranes

Whooping Cranes photo courtesy Jason Newton

Whooping Cranes

Suzy Deese on 10/29 reported via eBird: At Nelson Lake, 2 LeConte's Sparrows and an Ovenbird.

Tim Klimowski on 10/29 reported via eBird: At Geneva's Prairie Green Wetlands, a LeConte's Sparrow.

Jay Sturner on 10/29 reported via eBird: At Nelson Lake, two LeConte's Sparrows and a flyover Red Crossbill.

Scott Cohrs on 10/28 reported via eBird: At Grunwald Farms Forest Preserve, a Red Crossbill. "Calling fly-over, heading west near lake. Kip kip kip notes."

Jason Newton, Daryl Coldren, and Jay Sturner on 10/28 reported via eBird: Seeing 10 American Golden Plovers ("Exact count. Each bird studied to rule out black-bellied plover. All of them showed petite bills and bold facial patterns with dark caps and pale supercilia. Poor photos showing several.") and 4 Whooping Cranes ("Flew over from north to south...") at a fluddle at the intersection of Granart and Jericho roads in Big Rock township.

Eddie Kasper on 10/28 reported via eBird: Finding a Marbled Godwit at a fluddle at the intersection of Granart and Jericho roads in Big Rock township. "...obvious upturned [orangish] reddish Bill. Buffy breast large bird"

Walt Lutz on 10/28 reported via e-mail: With the help of a few bluejays I found this Short-eared Owl yesterday at Jelke Bird Sanctuary.

Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Marion Miller on 10/26 reported via eBird: At her feeders in Batavia, an Oregon race Dark-eyed Junco. "Junco with complete black hood, chestnut brown back and rufous-colored flanks."

Dark-eyed Junco, Oregon

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) photo courtesy Marion Miller

Jay Sturner on 10/26 reported via eBird: An American Bittern at Nelson Lake. "Flying along lake edge on side closest to me. Medium-sized brown and white heron with two-toned wings and thick brown stripes going down the thick neck. Second American Bittern in Kane County within a week."

Alex Peterson on 10/26 reported via e-mail: On 10/24/17 around 4:00pm, surprised to find 2 sandhill cranes on the walking path in my Campton Hills subdivision.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes photo courtesy Alex Peterson

Eric Secker on 10/25 reported via IBET: Sounds like finches are on the move. We had one flyover RED CROSSBILL this afternoon at Raceway Woods in the south / west fields and evergreen area. Also at least 12 PURPLE FINCHES including some nice males that were eating berries in the trees. Full list is below.

Hopefully the trend will continue!

Raceway Woods Forest Preserve
Oct 25, 2017
2:20 PM
Comments: West/South fields and evergreens.

3 Canada Goose
2 Turkey Vulture
2 Downy Woodpecker
4 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
5 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Eastern Bluebird
1 Hermit Thrush
X American Robin
2 European Starling
3 Cedar Waxwing
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
7 Yellow-rumped Warbler
7 Field Sparrow
X Dark-eyed Junco
X White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern Towhee
9 Northern Cardinal
2 Red-winged Blackbird
5 House Finch
12 Purple Finch
1 Red Crossbill*
8 American Goldfinch

*Flyover circled a couple times. Calling jip-jip-jip. One of the slightly higher pitched types.

Jason Newton on 10/23 reported via e-mail: Thanks to a tip from Jay Sturner, I went out to Prairie Green in Geneva on Sunday afternoon (10/22/17) in search of the American Bittern he had seen in the marsh. On my way in, I saw a late Common Yellowthroat in some scrub. I walked the perimeter of the marsh and eventually flushed the American Bittern from a mowed down lane of cattails before I even saw it. It flew to the other side of the marsh, giving a nice view in flight before disappearing into the reeds.

Afterward, I continued searching through the many sparrows around the marsh, hoping to perhaps find a Nelson's Sparrow. Surprisingly, I flushed a rather late Grasshopper Sparrow. I ventured into the drier parts of the prairie to look for LeConte's Sparrows. I'm fairly sure I saw one briefly, but it was distant and the rain was starting. I walked over toward it but couldn't manage to find it again.

On the south side of the marsh, I encountered a Canada Goose in pretty poor health. It seemingly couldn't walk nor fly, but had no visible injuries. Nearby it was a freshly deceased Canada Goose. Later that day, I returned with my girlfriend and we caught the goose and brought it to Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn. The rehabber thought it could possibly be a case of some sort of pesticide poisoning, which she said had been an issue last year and that IDNR was investigating it.

American Bittern

American Bittern photo courtesy Jason Newton

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow photo courtesy Jason Newton

Jay Sturner and Jason Newton on 10/22 reported via eBird: An American Bittern at Prairie Green in Geneva.

Diane Hansen on 10/22 reported via e-mail: On Wednesday I birded along the river in South Elgin both before and after Jazzercise.  It was after class that I stopped above the dam and at first didn't see very much.  I stayed for a while walking towards the dam along the guard rail when something zoomed past me, circled over the water and landed on a dead tree in the water.  It stayed there for almost a full minute.  This is my first really good look at a Merlin. I got confirmation on my ID on the KCA Freeman Kame walk yesterday.


Merlin photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Jon Duerr on 10/18 reported via eBird: A Ruby-throated Hummingbird visited his yard in St. Charles.

Dave Kolosowski on 10/16 reported via e-mail: Adult male Belted Kingfisher has been spotted frequently last year for short time and again this past summer behind our residence. I was not able to confirm his identity until last week with a couple of close fly byes and rest in a near by branch. Odd thing is I am not aware of any fish in the retention area.

The city of Elgin transformed a street run off an aging retention basin a couple of years ago into a more natural wildlife area and the new habitat is just being discovered by many species never seen before in these parts. Thank you City of Elgin.

Rich Miller on 10/16 reported via IBET: Two Snow Geese at 12:05pm on the Geneva retention pond just north of the Best Buy on Randall road.

Walt Lutz on 10/8 reported via e-mail: We still have a Ruby-throated hummingbird in the yard in Elgin - the latest we've ever had one here I think.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Regina Gilson and Roland on 10/8 reported via e-mail: A flock of about 15 Philadelphia Vireos came through our Sugar Grove backyard, visiting our birdbaths. Thursday 5th of October, around 5pm.

It wasn't easy to identify, but the black line through the eye, and the white line just above it, and no wingbars I think clinched it. Observed both by eye and binoculars for more detail.

Kane County Audubon birders on 10/7 reported via eBird: Seeing a Kentucky Warbler on the monthly walk at Nelson Lake.

Chris Bowman on 10/6 reported via e-mail: Friday Oct 6th, 11 am had an unusual bird for Geneva’s Peck Farm - Clay-colored Sparrow was amongst the many American Goldfinch in the field lining the lake loop trail at the northwest corner. Also of note, was the first of season migratory waterfowl, a single Ruddy Duck on the lake.

Al Stokie on 10/5 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Looked like a good day for shorebirds considering that...Breen Park had been hosting large numbers of species & individuals lately. But for a longer than usual day all I found were 2 shorebird species! The last 2 visits to J.O. Breen Park had 79 & 86 individual shorebirds but today it was 5 individuals of 2 species. Turns out I had 1 more goose species than shorebird species something I never would have expected. But birding often results in the unexpected & that's 1 reason we do it...

James O. Breen Community Park (1-1:25 p.m.)

Who would have thought the only shorebirds here would be Killdeer (3) & Pectorals (2)? Also here were Great Blue Heron (2), Mallard (4) & Shoveler (1-PR). But sneaking around among the 86 Canada Geese were 2 tiny CACKLING GEESE with the small bills we are supposed to check for. I checked! One Red Tailed Hawk flew overhead & one Eastern Meadowlark also decided to sing in October...

Jackie Bowman on 10/3 reported via e-mail: Do you think we need a bigger bird bath?  It was entertaining to watch this visiting Cooper's Hawk enjoying a cool foot bath and drink today in our back yard.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Roger Amery on 9/30 reported via e-mail: About noontime today, I observed an immature red headed woodpecker at Fabyan forest preserve east of route 25. It was on the path that heads north from the northernmost parking spaces and about eighty feet north from the bridge where the path breaks off in three directions. The bird was east of the path. Many red bellied woodpeckers throughout the park.

Oliver Burrus on 9/29 reported via IBET: The Neotropic Cormorant continues at Carpentersville Dam about 30 feet from the overlook swimming! A Double-crested Cormorant flew past it and the size difference was incredible. There are about 10 cormorants in the water nearby the Neotropic, so just be sure that you are on the one that looks like it is half the size.

Eric Secker on 9/29 reported via IBET: I just had a Neotropic Cormorant flying north along the river by John Jack Hill Park along the Fox River in West Dundee.

The bird kept going north along the river. If anyone is interested in looking for it though, I suspect it might stop at Fox River Shores F.P north of Carpentersville Dam where the river widens and lots of cormorants hang out on the logs in the river.

Diane Hansen on 9/27 reported via e-mail: I was walking the Fox River path around 8:30 this morning and saw something approaching along the trolley tracks near the Cooper's Hawk nest area.

My first thought was that it was a cat but a zoom in with the camera revealed a fox. It kept approaching and I took pictures as it came closer.
Eventually it spotted me and decide to get camera shy and go up into the brush.

Another non-bird sighting was a very well camouflaged tiny turtle crossing the asphalt path heading towards the river I saw in approximately the same area about 10 days ago thanks to the keen eye of another birder on the path.

Red Fox

Red Fox and Baby Common Snapping Turtle photos courtesy Diane Hansen

Tiny Turtle

Brendan Lake on 9/27 reported via IBET: Hey all! All shorebirds that have been present lately continue at James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles (Kane Co.). Included are:

11 stilt sandpipers
1 black-bellied plover
1 baird's sandpiper
2 buff-breasted Sandpipers
1 semipalmated plover

And lesser Yellowlegs, pectoral sandpipers, and killdeer round out the diversity.

Jay Sturner on 9/24 reported via e-mail: Seeing an American Bittern at Nelson Lake on Sunday morning.

Jay Sturner, Wes Sadler, and Don Lowe on 9/23 reported via ebird: At the Mirador subdivision ponds in North Aurora, a bird originally IDed as a Short-billed Dowitcher has been amended to a Long-billed Dowitcher.

Al Stokie on 9/23 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

As we get closer to October I am trying to see as many shorebirds as I can locally. Since several interesting species have been reported lately from J.O. Breen Park I thought I'd start off there. You may recall that a Red Necked Phalarope was seen there in August.

James O. Breen Community Park (St Charles) (7:45-9:15 a.m.)

Other birders that I know were here ahead of me including Don L & Wes S & later on local area birder Walt also arrived. Also arriving was a group from Kane Co Audubon so we had lots of folks to help find things & find things we did.

D.C. Cormorant (3 drying their wings & 3 more fly-bys)
Great Egret (Max=6)
Canada Goose (eventually up to 7) & Mallard (2)
OSPREY (1 flying east) & Red Tailed Hawk (1 on a goal post)
Semipalmated Plover (1-AD & 1-IM)
Killdeer (45-49)
Lesser Yellowlegs (10, but no Greaters)
BAIRD'S (1) & Pectoral (2, but Don & Wes saw 4) Sandpipers
Wilson's Snipe (3)
Horned Lark (5-6)
AMERICAN PIPIT (2 & 1 did a proper Pipit strut)
Savannah Sparrow (6-7)

We saw a single Gull fly in which I originally was a young Herring & it may have been but I am just not positive enough to be 100% sure? Guess I'll call it a "Gull Species?" as it may have been a larger than normal Ring Billed Gull. When you're not sure you have to admit it.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the Buff Breasted Sandpipers & Runners-Up to the Baird's & Stilt Sandpipers.

Marion Miller on 9/22 reported via IBET: Nice variety of shorebirds continue at the retention pond south of the soccer fields and west of Peck Road [James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles]. This morning there were at least 6 Stilt Sandpipers, 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, 1 Baird's Sandpiper, and 1 Semi-palmated Plover. Along with Pectoral Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Snipes.

Ken Schneider on 9/21 reported via e-mail: Had a variety of sandpipers at this morning's ramble (SEP 21) at James O Breen Community Park, including Baird's, Stilt and Buff-breasted Sandpipers as well as Wilson's Snipe.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Buff-breasted Sandpiper photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Wilson's Snipe

Wilson's Snipe photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Chris Madsen on 9/15 reported: Carla and I birded LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve yesterday afternoon. Best bird was a Red-breasted Nuthatch that was working the bluffs along Ferson Creek. Most interesting picture was this Tennessee Warbler. It wasn't until I got home and had the photos on the computer that I saw the bird had been feasting on clover mites. The red mites can be seen on the branch to the right of the bird and mite residue can be seen on its beak.

Tennessee Warbler

Tennessee Warbler and meal photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Best non-bird on our hike was a 7-inch long praying mantis. The click of the camera shutter grabbed its attention, and the critter turned toward me like it was ready to take me on. It looked like a beast straight out of an old science fiction movie.

Chinese Praying Mantis photo courtesy Chris Madsen

In the evening, I went out to count Chimney Swifts at the Pottawatomie Park swimming pool in St. Charles. 149 birds entered the chimney. But the real story was the 12 (at least) Common Nighthawks that were soaring over the area.

John Heneghan on 9/14 reported via IBET: The first of Fall Pine Siskins were at the feeders [in Big Rock] this AM. I think this is the earliest we have had them here. 

Theresa LeCompte on 9/13 reported via e-mail: Although I could not find the PIWP [Pileated Woodpecker] at Bliss Woods this morning, I did spot two Ovenbirds.


Ovenbird photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

John Heneghan on 9/10 reported via IBET: This AM (Sunday), we were sitting on the back porch [in Big Rock]. I had turned the sprinkler on to water a pin oak. We had a group of robins come in and start bathing. Then 4 Swainson's Thushes from the neighbor's magnolia tree came over to bathe. though they were in the lower branches. A sparrow showed up, surprised to see a Tree Sparrow. Redstarts made an appearance. A Chestnut Sided appeared. 2 Black and White warblers showed up. 3 Palm Warblers were also enjoying a bath. A Tennesee Warbler was next. Tricia saw a Bay Breasted Warbler. 2 Titmice, a Flicker and many House Finches too. We had 4 White Breasted Nuthatches show up at the feeders in addition to the 3 that have been here. It was a good morning after a poor Spring for Warblers. I will remember to turn the sprinkler on again.

Jason Newton on 9/8 reported via e-mail: A Pileated Woodpecker continues today at Bliss Woods FP, originally discovered by Bill Ahlgren on 08/31/17. It requires some patience and luck but has been seen at two different clearings in the forest: one just northwest of the westernmost parking lot and the other along the parking lot road parallel with Bliss Rd. I saw it at the former spot yesterday and the latter spot today. It has been vocalizing so that helps in detecting it.

Also of note at Bliss was a singing Carolina Wren near the western clearing.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker photo courtesy Jason Newton

Bob Andrini on 9/5 reported via e-mail: counted 1,600 swifts at Lincoln School [in St. Charles] tonight. 

Jackie and Chris Bowman on 9/2 reported via e-mail: Today we spent three hours roaming the trails of Bliss Woods FP on this beautiful September morning.  While we whiffed on our target bird, Pileated Woodpecker seen two days ago, we still tallied 34 species including two Tufted Titmouse, and juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker (2),  Northern Parula & Chestnut-sided Warbler.  Full report on e-bird.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Northern Parula

Northern Parula photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Jon Duerr on 9/2 reported via e-mail: At Marberry Cleaners in St. Charles, over 15 minutes time, beginning at 7:35 PM Friday night, had 2 Common Nighthawks and 215 Chimney Swifts, a major drop in numbers from the past few nights.

Jon Duerr on 8/28 reported via e-mail: Between 7:35 and 7:55 Monday evening, 320 Chimney Swifts were seen at Lincoln Elementary School in St. Charles.

Lucy DeLap on 8/28 reported via IBET: The orioles have been thick here [in East Dundee] as well. We usually have frequent daily visits for most of the summer, then a few weeks with few or none, followed by a quick uptick in activity for a couple of weeks before they are gone for the year. This year, they've been coming 4 to 6 at a time and have been doing so for a couple of weeks now. It seems like their late summer visit is lasting longer than in previous years to me. They've gone through 2 big jars of jelly in the last 3 weeks!

John Heneghan on 8/26 reported via IBET: A few days ago, we had a male Baltimore Oriole show up in the yard [in Big Rock]. We put what we thought was the last of the grape jelly, out. The oriole has been here since. This AM, we had 4 male Orioles at the jelly (I did buy another jar). We had 2 pair produce young in the area this summer. I  don't recall Fall Orioles in the past. 

I had 8 1st year Black-Throated Blue Warblers in my yard Saturday 8/26 in the evening.

Chris & Jackie Bowman on 8/24 reported via e-mail: From 11am to 1pm we walked the main asphalt trail through the woods, back and forth at Burnidge FP.   Tallying 34 species of birds, which included 10 species of warblers in two separate packs along the trail.  The best sighting was in the second pack where we observed no less than 6 Golden Winged Warblers (male, female and first year), feeding in the patch of Butterweed at the edge of the trail.  Migration is upon us!

Jon Duerr on 8/22 reported via e-mail: In addition to 3 Common Nighthawks, 1215 Chimney Swifts at Marberry Cleaners in St. Charles. Jon started counting at 8 PM.

Pete Fenner on 8/22 reported via eBIrd: The White-winged Dove continues at the Kaneville cemetery. "Observed feeding on ground with MODO under feeders from west side of cemetery at 8:33 am for only a couple of minutes. Didn't vocalize. Unable to get a decent photo due to fencing. Talked to resident who said the tray feeder that it preferred broke. Finally successful on third try for this continuing but very difficult bird!"

John Heneghan on 8/21 reported via IBET: I have seen many Sandhill cranes over the years. I have seen a pair frequently along Fabyan Pkwy west of Randall Rd in Geneva. Today, on the way home from work, there was a large group of geese, most either sleeping or laying in the grass. Among the geese were 2 sandhill cranes laying in the grass sleeping. I was surprised as I have never seen Sandhills laying on the ground sleeping. I though it interesting that the 2 sandhills seemed to be relying on the 2 or 3 geese that were acting as sentries. I wish I had my camera. 

Kathleen O'Deen on 8/21 reported via e-mail: Frenzy at my feeders on the day of the Solar eclipse.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird photo courtesy Kathleen O'Deen

Oliver Burrus on 8/20 reported via IBET: Hi everyone.

Birds are everywhere today! I found the first warbler of the season for our yard, an American Redstart! Other birds included tons of American Robins, a female Scarlet Tanager, a few Baltimore Orioles, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and lots of Cedar Waxwings.

Walt Lutz on 8/18 reported via e-mail: There's currently a nice, large fluddle on  the east side of McCornack Road just south of Big Timber Road (this is a little west of Burnidge Forest Preserve). Lots of Lesser Yellowlegs, a handful of Pectoral, Least & Semipalmated Sandpipers. Lots of Great Egrets. [The following text has been corrected.] It is drying up extremely fast - probably only another couple days left. It's a very lightly travelled road which makes it nice for viewing.

The Mute Swans are still at Burnidge F.P. Unfortunately the cygnet was nowhere to be seen.

Mute Swans

Mute Swans photo courtesy Walt Lutz

Donnie Dann on 8/17 reported via IBET: The RED-NECKED PHALAROPE continues at the SE corner of Breen Park in St Charles, Kane County...

Thanks to Leo Miller and Bob Morgan who helped me get on the bird.

Al Stokie on 8/16 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People...

James O, Breen Community Park/Kane Co (10:45-11:10 a.m.)

Regina Mc has already reported that the Red Necked Phalarope seen by many yesterday was still present today but I'll add that it was still present between 10:45 & 11:05 a.m. when I was there. Looked 1st in the S.E. corner where Brendon L said to look but did not find it there. That was because it was right in front of me in the N.E. corner! Now that was a great, close look! Later I could not re-find it but it was then back in the S.E. corner like yesterday. To further confuse the issue it later returned to the N.E. corner. Just look at the east end where the water is shallow as it likes to move around. It never swam in circles while I was there as it only fed by running around on the mud or in shallow water. This was my 2nd ever Kane Co R.N. Phalarope having seen the 1st in 2015.

Other birds here were D.C. Cormorant (4), Great Egret (1), Mallards (including 5 small young), Killdeer (42), Lesser Yellowlegs (1), Spotted (2-IM), Least (4), Semipalmated (1) & Pectoral (1) Sandpipers & 41 Ring Billed Gulls. A few Barn Swallows flew over the football field & House Sparrows were by the parking lot.

Thanks to Brendon & Regina for doing IBET reports as I often forget to check ebird.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the Red Necked Phalarope...

Regina McNulty on 8/16 reported via IBET: The Phalarope was present as of 8:30 this morning at the pond in James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles.  

Brendon Lake on 8/15 reported via IBET: I received a report of a Red-Necked Phalarope at the pond at James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles. The bird is still present as of 3:45pm. Park at the lot on Peck Road, south of Campton Hills Road. Walk south through the football fields to the edge of the pond. The bird is currently very active in the southeast corner of the water. 

Bob Andrini on 8/15 reported via eBird: Finding a Red-necked Phalarope in the pond along Peck Road in James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles.

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Jay Sturner on 8/14 reported via e-mail: This morning I meticulously scanned Nelson Lake for bitterns, rails, and migrating shorebirds. I struck out on the bitterns, and there weren't many shorebirds, but I did hit the jackpot with rails: four Soras and five Virginia Rails, the latter of which included two chicks! It was such a joy to watch their little black bodies as they darted about with mama. The show didn't last long though, for in true rail fashion, the birds quickly disappeared into a sea of cattails without so much as a goodbye. Oh well, I was lucky to have seen them at all. Also of note were three Green-winged Teal, a Lesser Yellowlegs, and nearly 100 Wood Ducks. After that I went looking for more shorebirds and found Least, Semipalmated, Pectoral, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers in addition to both Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs. These were seen at Tanner Trails Park in North Aurora and James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles (along the muddy shorelines of their respective ponds). It was a great day, but the baby rails were definitely the highlight!

Jon Duerr on 8/13 reported via eBird: And so it begins. In a span of 15 minutes, Jon had 3 Common Nighthawks and 865 Chimney Swifts at Marberry Cleaners at Main and Fourth Avenue in St. Charles. The last birds tucked into the chimney at 8:20 PM.

Brendon Lake on 8/13 reported via IBET: Hey all! A stopover at James O'Breen Community Park (Peck Road in St. Charles, south of Campton Hills Road) showed plenty of promise for shorebirds at the retention pond at the south end of the football fields. Notables were:

Caspian Tern - 2
Killdeer - 38
Spotted Sandpiper - 4
Least Sandpiper - 7
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 2
Lesser Yellowlegs - 2
Double-Crested Cormorant - 5
Horned Lark - 1 flyover

I spent the last hour of daylight at the South Elgin Dam, where Great Egrets congregated in large numbers to roost, and there were 3 Black-Crowned Night-Herons (2 adults, 1 imm.). I finished counting Great Egrets at 8:08pm, at which time 73 were present! Quite a sight to see!

Eric Secker on 8/13 reported via IBET: Not much to report as far as birds go other than a Dickcissel singing nearby, but there was a large swarm of about 2000 dragonflies over the preserve at Jelke Creek in Kane Co., some low but extending way up into the sky if you looked into your binoculars. I wish there was a Kite or some other bird to go along with that report but sadly not.

Donnie Dann on 8/13 reported via IBET: Finally, on my 4th trip and 3 1/2 hours of waiting this morning, the White-winged Dove appeared for me at 10:24 at the feeders just west of the Kaneville Cemetery. He fed on the ground between the water fountain and the bar-b-que grill. Phew!

Bob Fisher on 8/12 reported via IBET: Thanks to Steve Huggins post, Karen and I made our 6th visit to the cemetery Saturday late AM and got great looks at the [White-winged] dove feeding with a couple of [Mourning Doves] under the feeders at the W side of the cemetery. A state bird for Kar and a new buddy bird for us. I saw the W-w Dove back on 7/9 but Karen was not able to go along for that 7/9 trip. So it's been hanging around Kaneville for over a month now.

Thanks Steve!

For those into that type of list keeping, it's fairly easy to have a 4 dove day in Kaneville if you see the White-wing. MoDos, Rock Pigeons (by the grain elevator) and Eurasian Collared Doves are all findable in and around town and the cemetery.

There are likely 5 dove sp. around. We've also seen on a couple of our visits a bird we believe is a (non-countable) Ringed Turtle-Dove - similar in appearance but smaller and 'whiter' than a EuCoDo with all white undertail coverts.

Steve Huggins and Carly Giometti on 8/12 reported via IBET: The White-winged Dove showed up in the Kaneville Cemetery / feeders at about 8.10am, also a female Merlin. Over 330 Killdeers on the recently plowed sod.

State tick for us both :)

Debbie Wisser on 8/11 reported via e-mail: There were six Black-crowned Night-Herons above the South Elgin Dam today. This was the most I've ever seen at one time.

Black-crowned Night-Herons

Black-crowned Night-Herons photo courtesy Debbie Wisser

Joe Lill on 8/11 reported via eBird: At some fluddles on Burlington Road, about a mile south and east of town, a Dunlin: "First seen by Sue Zelek, identification confirmed through my scope. Juvenile plumage, with a mottled black belly, brownish back and thin, decurved black bill."

Regina McNulty on 8/11 reported via eBird: Having two(!) Monk Parakeets visit her Geneva yard on Thursday evening.

Walter Lutz on 8/10 reported via eBird: Finding a Lesser Scaup in the Pingree Grove water treatment plant marsh.

John Leonard and Leo Miller on 8/10 reported via eBird: Spotting a Merlin at the Kaneville cemetery: "Small dark striped falcon about one third larger than the Brewers blackbird it caught on the ground sod behind Kaneville cemetery . No obvious cap or moustache."

Jason Newton and Jen Waters on 8/10 reported via eBird: The White-winged Dove continues at the feeders west of the Kaneville cemetery.

Julie Long on 8/9 reported via e-mail: I am excited to report that the Carolina wrens in the nest on my front porch have two day old babies.They had built a nest in a flower box before we left town the first week of July but I thought I was only seeing one parent around after we got home last week, and that the eggs perhaps would never hatch. My tall daughter had peeked in last week and said there were five eggs. We feel it is the same pair that were starting to build a nest in the ladder in our garage. We had to chase them out since we could not leave our garage doors open when we were out of town.

Unfortunately the nest is not really visible from any of our windows and it is just a few inches from our door. So it will be hard to get to photos or to watch much action. We are trying not to disturb them which is hard with house guests here off and on since last week.

If anyone needs Carolina wren sightings for their year list please contact me though I have house guests now and through the weekend.

Lucy DeLap on 8/8 reported via IBET: I have had blue-gray gnatcatchers here [in East Dundee] all summer. I believe they nested in a tree in a nearby yard. I don't remember hearing them in previous years but there has been no mistaking them in 2017.

Our ruby-throats (primarily female) continue to be frequent feeders (when they aren't busy chasing off other hummers).

After a few weeks of inactivity, the Baltimore orioles have returned for what I anticipate will be a short visit before they head south.

I try to keep track of when I first and last see these summer birds as well as the first and last sightings of winter birds. (Interesting to note - the hummingbirds usually leave us around the first week of October and the juncos show up about a week later.)

Keith McMullen on 8/4 reported via IBET: Craig Taylor and I just had the WHITE-WINGED DOVE fly in to the ground feeding station next to the cemetery in Kaneland after a 3 hour search here and around town!

The dove flew up to the bird bath for a quick drink and then flew off to the west!

Also, we've checked and rechecked the nearby sod farms for Buff-breasted Sandpipers with no luck.

Walter Lutz on 8/4 reported via eBird: At the Pingree Grove water treatment plant marsh, an American Wigeon.

Geoffrey Williamson and Jennifer Hoffman on 8/2 reported via eBird: Spotting a Blue Grosbeak on the road along the east side of the Dunteman sod farm in Kaneville.

Lucy DeLap on 8/2 reported via IBET: I had an awesome experience on Saturday evening at a gathering at a friend's home.

The apartment we were visiting is on the south side of a bike path that begins on the west side of Route 31 across from the Dundee post office and leads into the village of Sleepy Hollow. We arrived at about 7 pm and remained on the patio facing the path into the night.

During the period from 7 until 8:15 or so, the sky was absolutely filled with robins flying in from all directions heading toward a grove of trees to the north of the bike path. Flocks of 10, 20, 30 and larger continually arrived during that time period. I did not realize what was going on for a bit then starting trying to estimate the number of birds we had seen. With hundred of robins arriving over the course of every few minutes, the totals had to be in the thousands. I really have no idea how many flew over. I did get a sense of what it must have been like when our country was wild and observers reported the sky turning black with birds.

The resident of the apartment said that he has previously observed large numbers of birds coming over and heading into the grove in the early evening but he had not noted that they were all robins nor paid attention to the sheer numbers before seeing me staring at the sky for hours in amazement watching this phenomena transpire before my eyes.

This observation was also very educational ! for me as I did not know that robins form large roost colonies where they gather at night except for those sitting on nests during breeding.

I encourage anyone in the area near sundown to spend some time on that bike path and observe this spectacle of nature.

Diane Meiborg on 8/1 reported via IBET: My husband Roger and I were lucky enough to find one buff-breasted sandpiper at the Dunteman Turf Farm in Kaneville this Tuesday morning around 11 am. Lots of sun, heat waves and sprinklers made it really hard to see what was out there. The buffie flew up and to the left of all the killdeers and we could not relocate. Not a lifer for us but a cool bird.

While we were looking, a guy drove up in a pickup truck and asked what we were viewing. That lead into a discussion about migration and other general birding topics. We then discovered that we DID have a lifer when he told us he was Bill Dunteman. Our talk continued, including the ID of two TVs lazing in the sky above his field, his crops, and local birders' respectful viewing of the birds on his property. Nice talk, and great to put a face to a familiar name.

Al Stokie on 7/31 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

I am never overly confident when I go by myself to search a large area like a sod farm but I thought maybe someone else would already be there looking a Buffie. However, I arrived at the small street south of Main at 7:55 a.m. to find no one else there. So I had to get to work on my own. Looking east the sun was right in my eyes so I went south so I could look N.E. instead of east. Worked pretty well. There were 250-300 Killdeer, over 150 Starlings & a few Red Wings, Cowbirds & Horned Larks on the sod. About 25 Barn Swallows were also hunting the area from the air.

Scanned the farther birds as that's where Buffie's usually are but found none. Then I noticed that there was a good sized group of Killdeer & Starlings way to the north near an irrigation pipe. I figured that was way too close to the road for a Buffie but I figured wrong as there was Buffie #1 & it was about as close a look as I've ever had. Good lighting too as I was looking mostly north. Then I went back to scanning to the east & about 100 yards out was Buffie #2. Not as close but still a good look. A photographer then arrived & I re-found Buffie #1 so she could get photo's & she got a lot of them. It was time to do a Killdeer count & look for more Buffie's but as I
started every single bird flushed & flew away. The reason for this was an incoming (a very fast incoming) Cooper's Hawk which left us not only with no Buffie's but no birds at all. This happened at 8:25 & the party was over for now. Waited a few minutes but less than 10 Killdeer returned so I went elsewhere.

Came back this way later but at 10:30 a.m. only about 50 Killdeer were back & they were all very far out to the east & I decided not to fight the sunlight as I had already seen the Buffie's very well. I see that Joan C did see one Buffie later so at least 1 returned.

Bird-Of-The-Day to both Buff Breasted Sandpipers & Runner-Up to an Eurasian Collared Dove who flew by at the sod farm. Trouble Maker Of The Day to the Cooper's Hawk but it's got to find food too. And I owe the Hawk a thank you for not flushing all the birds before I got there. At least it gave me 15-20 min of good looks before the panic attack.

Joan Campbell on 7/31 reported via IBET: Found one Buff-breasted Sandpiper at same location at Dunteman Turf Farm in Kaneville at 11:05 am today (Monday) on south side of Main St. across (E) from grain elevator. Arrived at 10:27. Very difficult viewing (thru scope) due to heat waves and sprinklers. The sprinklers were turned off for awhile at 11:24. I would never have found the sandpiper if I had not seen it fly briefly so that I could see the wing pattern. Tried to relocate it again after the sprinklers were off but couldn't find it. But that doesn't mean it left-- just hard to sort thru all the Killdeer and fight those heat waves!

Bob Fisher on 7/30 reported via IBET: Karen and I, and a couple other birders...headed to the Kaneville sod farm complex and spotted 2 Buffies at the same location as described by Dan W in his Sunday AM post, south of Main St and E of the old grain elevator complex. We were able to park in the shade of an old oak tree, and found them after a short scope search at approx. 11:45 AM.

There may have been a 3rd more distant Buffie, but the heat waves made it impossible to be certain...

Jeff Chapman on 7/30 reported via eBird: Added the White-winged Dove to the species seen at Dunteman's sod farm.

Dan Williams on 7/30 reported via IBET: Buff-breasted Sandpiper still at Dunteman Turf Farm in Kaneville at 7:45 am today (Sunday) on south side of Main St. across (E) from grain elevator. 

Matthew Igleski on 7/29 reported via IBET: Steve Huggins and I have been driving around looking for shorebirds. Highlights so far:

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Dunteman turf farm. This is across the street from the Kaneville cemetery where the White-winged dove has been (no luck on that)...

Charles Shields on 7/29 reported via eBird: A Blue Grosbeak on the Kane County side of Fermilab: "Continuing, observed in same location described by Jay Sturner on June 30. 15 minutes after arrival heard the grosbeak singing from a tree down the road west of the Prairie parking lot. It then flew to the oak at the prairie trailhead, and after that flew south across the road to another oak where it continued to sing. Finally it flew east to the edge of the woods and was singing from that spot."

Jim Shotsberger and Walter Lutz on 7/29 reported via eBird: Finding a Least Flycatcher at Nelson Lake/Dick Young Forest Preserve.

Sue Wagoner on 7/27 reported via e-mail: I am used to having Downy Woodpeckers in my backyard so when this bird flew onto my dead Mugo Pine tree for the insects I didn't pay any attention until it flew to the feeder, and a second bird flew in... the Hairy Woodpecker (on the right) was a first for my backyard. The Downy Woodpecker (on the left) really gave me a chance to compare the sizes, and wow, what a difference.

Hairy/Downy woodpecker comparison

Hairy/Downy woodpecker comparison photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Jay Sturner on 7/27 reported via eBird: At the Dunteman sod farm in Kaneville, a Sharp-shinned Hawk: "Tiny accipiter. Short, rounded wings, squared-off tail, small head, wings projecting beyond head in flight (prominent bend at shoulders of wings; the leading and trailing edges were not straight like Cooper's)."

Oliver Burrus on 7/27 reported via IBET: I saw at least one Stilt Sandpiper plus about ten unidentified sandpipers in a fluddle off of Randall RD next to Platt Hill Nursery in [Carpentersville]. Also may be of interest to some, 2 Sandhill Cranes were in a fluddle behind the sandpiper fluddle.

Diane Hansen on 7/16 reported via e-mail: John and I took a drive out to Kaneville this morning later than planned but it all worked out well. At first there was one other birder looking for the White-winged Dove. 2 others came later making their second visit to the feeders near the cemetery. After some time everyone left but I waited a bit longer and finally saw the dove on the ground near the feeders, but it flew off shortly with another dove. As we drove the loop to leave for home we passed the feeders and to my surprise the dove had returned and was on the copper feeder that has been mentioned in other posts.

I was able to get out using the car as a blind and get some close pictures. We also saw Eurasian Collared Doves.

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Roger Amery on 7/16 reported via e-mail: Yesterday, morning, July 15, thanks to a birder named Craig, I was able to see the neotropic cormorant located north of the North Aurora dam on route 56. That cormorant is still there.

Al Stokie on 7/16 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

This has been reported on ebird but I'll do the same here for those interested & those who may not look at ebird. I have put off this Dove search for a few days but today Bob Erickson & I went to Kaneland to look for the White Winged Dove. Arrived at the west end of the cemetery & saw that Leo M & Walt were already there. Leo said that the person who fills the feeders had seen the Dove earlier but it was not present at 7:15 a.m. when Bob & I got there. Mourning Doves & other birds were either at or under the feeders while more Mourning Doves were on the wires along Main. Then Jim T arrived having already checked the grain storage area but did not see the Dove there either.

Bob then took a walk toward the grain area & soon thereafter the WHITE WINGED DOVE came in to the feeder area & landed on one of the feeders which was interesting as none of the Mourning Doves ate from the actual feeders but looked for seeds on the ground. Leo called Bob & he hurried back in time to see the W.W. Dove which was present at the feeders & the tree by the feeders from 7:45 until about 7:55 a.m. after which we could no longer find it. It may have flown out the "back door" where we could not see it leave or was hidden in a nearby tree?

Thanks to Leo & another birder who saw the Dove fly in & called the rest of us over to see it from where we had been checking elsewhere. Also, thanks to Bob for leaving which made the Dove fly in although Leo's quick call got Bob back in plenty of time.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the White Winged Dove which was a new Illinois "lifer" for Bob & so a big deal. Runner-Up to the Collared Dove seen along Main just west of the feeders by the cemetery. It was a 4 Dove species day (also saw Rock Pigeons) which I doubt has ever happened to me before in Illinois.

Six people on 7/14 reported via eBird: The White-winged Dove continues to be seen at feeders to the west of the Kaneville cemetary.

Ken Schneider on 7/13 reported via e-mail: This morning (July 13) Mary Lou and I found two Lark Sparrows, an adult and a juvenile at the North Aurora sparrow patch. On July 10 we made a brief stop just after heavy rain ended, to check on the Lark Sparrows. Immediately I saw a flock of 4 which flew to northeast corner, and then encountered same or another flock of at least 4 while walking back to the car at south end of Breton Avenue. Found two different juveniles and possibly a third older juvenile, along with at least two adults. Allowing for the possible duplication of counts, I can be sure of at least 5 individuals (3 adult and two juveniles). Got photo of juvenile being fed.

Lark Sparrows feeding

Lark Sparrow photos, feeding and juvenile only courtesy Ken Schneider

Juvenile Lark Sparrow

Ken Schneider on 7/11 reported via eBird: The Neotropic Cormorant on the Fox River above the dam in North Aurora. "Among all the cormorants, this one stood out as being smaller, more slender and with a proportionately longer tail. The bare flesh on its throat did not extend above the bill or in front of eyes as in [Double-crested Cormorant]. The throat patch was not as bright as that of the DCCO and instead of ending in a vertical edge below the gape, it was triangular with the point of the triangle behind the gape..At this distance (about 300 yards to NNW) I could determine the presence of a white margin around the throat patch, though photos were poor."

John Longhenry on 7/11 reported via IBET: I want to thank everyone who continued to provide updates on the White-winged Dove currently being observed in Kaneville, Illinois.  This morning at 9:15 am Ron from Orland Park, Steve Gent, and I had good but brief looks at this bird as it came to a feeder just west of the cemetery in Kaneville.

Jay Sturner on 7/10 reported via e-mail: Though far less interesting than finding a White-winged Dove in Kaneville, on the same day (July 9th) I saw a few shorebirds that were already on their "fall" migration. The pond at Tanner Trails Park in North Aurora had a Solitary Sandpiper, 21 Least Sandpipers, and five Lesser Yellowlegs. Two more Solitary Sandpipers were at the Mirador Subdivision Ponds just a few blocks away. Also of note was a flock of over 300 migrating Tree Swallows on a large, bare patch of earth at the Dunteman Sod Farm in Kaneville. End it all with a rare Neotropic Cormorant at the North Aurora Dam and I'd call that a day to remember!

Jason Newton on 7/10 reported via IBET: Denny Jones refound the White-winged dove visiting some feeders on the west side of the Kaneville Cemetery on Main St. I watched it with him for a few minutes before it flew to a tree in the cemetery, sang a couple times, and then flew southwest over town. That was at around 5:30 PM. I'm currently watching the feeders but it hasn't returned yet.

Ryan Jones on 7/10 reported via IBET: The North Aurora Neotropic Cormorant flew in from the north around 2:00pm today and landed in a dead tree on the west side of the river about 300 yds north of the dam.  Poor quality and distant photos obtained.  Only had time to view for about 10-15 min but it was still there when I left.  There were 4 Double-crested Cormorants sitting on a log up by the first island and one fishing in the river nearby.

Neoptropic Cormorant

A comparison of the Neotropic Cormorant, on the right, with the Double-crested Cormorant. Photo courtesy Bob Anrini.

Jay Sturner on 7/9 reported via eBird: A Neotropic Cormorant in North Aurora. "Found by Steve Bayer. North of bridge and dam, with three Double-crested Cormorants on dead tree overhanging the river. West side of the river, but best visibility was from the gazebo on the east side. Unfortunately, two paddle boarders scared the birds and they flew upriver going north. Overall smaller than DC's, with white V on face."

Once again, several reports followed, all from the same area.

Jay Sturner on 7/9 reported via eBird: Finding a White-winged Dove in Kaneville: "Perched on wire directly in front of Kaneville Grain & Supply Company on Merril Road! Flew, but immediately landed somewhere behind the white silos."

Several eBird reports followed, all from the same area.

Marion Miller on 7/8 reported via eBird: Seeing a Blue Grosbeak at Dunteman Sod Farm.

Mike Bily on 7/8 reported via IBET: The glorious weather Saturday morning was exhilarating to both humans and birds. Humans were out in droves, walking, jogging and biking on the Fox River Trail. Birds everywhere were loudly singing.

At Fabyan Woods Japanese Garden, the resident Yellow Throated Warbler could be seen and heard singing from the top of the tallest pine all morning. In the thicket west of the Bear Cage (yes, there is a Bear Cage), I consistently heard what I took to be a Black Throated Blue Warbler.

At Les Arends Forest Preserve, the two adult Red Headed Woodpeckers continue to defend their nest from the lurking starlings and Red Bellied Woodpeckers. Heard singing nearby were a Wood Thrush and a Yellow Throated Vireo.

Glenn Perricone on 7/5 reported via eBird: Finding a Chestnut-sided Warbler in the Kane County section of Fermilab.

Eric Secker on 7/4 reported via IBET: This summer I have had nine AMERICAN REDSTARTS along the river including five between Jack Hill Park near South St. and the OTTO factory plus four more along stretches of Carpentersville Dam F.P.

There have also been at least six more birds at Raceway Woods F.P.

In past years I have also had up to 5 or 6 at Fox River Shores F.P.

This is one of the biggest concentrations of these birds I've seen in N.E. Illinois. If the birds from last year are still present all told there may be up to 20+ singing males in this relatively small area near the Fox River.

Other good breeders have included Red-headed Woodpeckers along the river by OTTO Park and Broad-winged Hawks which return every year to breed in Fox River Shores F.P.

Common Nighthawks also have returned to their usual areas by Springhill Mall (at least two pairs) and a third pair west of Rt. 31 just north of I-90 in an industrial area as well as one or two potential additional pairs in downtown Dundee though I haven't confirmed for sure those ones aren't wandering from the mall.

Jay Sturner on 7/2 reported via e-mail: Birded Big Rock Forest Preserve in Kane County on the morning of July 1st and came away with 71 species. Highlights include the presence of a Western Meadowlark (as opposed to the more common Eastern), the jet-like pursuit of a Mourning Dove by a determined Cooper's Hawk, a Great Horned Owl's expression as it was being harassed by a Red-winged Blackbird (you had to be there), stopping to rest at a picnic table near a sweetly singing Vesper Sparrow, and both species of cuckoo: two Black-billed and one Yellow-billed. Something else happened that I wasn't expecting: I fell in love with the tiny song of the Henslow's Sparrow. Maybe it was the combination of song and rising sun. Maybe they just seemed more passionate than usual. Whatever the case, I truly heard it this time, and the heart felt it. So happy these birds are making a comeback!

Jay Sturner on 6/28 reported via e-mail: On June 26th I happened upon a male Blue Grosbeak singing near the restored prairie on the west side of Fermilab. This species is a rare visitor to Kane County but is known to nest at this location.

Richard Prather on 6/28 reported via e-mail: 6/28/17  Driving over the RT 38 bridge in Geneva today about 1:30pm noticed an Osprey hovering over the Geneva Dam. I don’t know how long it stayed there but I pulled over to watch it for 5 minutes in the parking lot.

Ken Schneider on 6/28 reported via e-mail: The Lark Sparrow field in North Aurora was completely mowed yesterday. Two days ago I saw a Vesper Sparrow carrying food disappear into a clump of grass, but the area is now cut short. This morning Mary Lou and I found one Lark Sparrow, a rather disheveled adult with thinning tail feathers. At first I thought it might be one of the juveniles because its tail looked short but it lacked yellow on gape. It may have started a post-breeding molt. Its worn and discolored brood patch area suggests it may be the female. It perched on the street sign as if to advertise its address!

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow photos courtesy Ken Schneider

Lark Sparrow

Jay Sturner on 6/25 reported via e-mail: More photos of the Breton Avenue Lark Sparrows in North Aurora. On June 14, Graham Gerdeman, a friend of mine from Nashville, got a few distant shots of the male bringing food and the female feeding the nestlings, of which there were only three on this date. At least one has since fledged. We also had Grasshopper, Savannah and Song Sparrows in addition to two Dickcissels. Unfortunately, this nice strip of habit is slated for development.

Lark Sparrows

Lark Sparrow nestlings being fed above and more food being delivered below.
Photos courtesy Graham Gerdeman.

Lark Sparrow

Walter Lutz on 6/24 reported via eBird: An out-of-season Lesser Scaup at the Pingree Grove water treatment  plant marsh.

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.

Older sightings available here.


This page last updated Thursday February 22, 2018

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