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.


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


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

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bob Andrini


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

Great Horned Owlets

Great Horned Owlets photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good birding to all!


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

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


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

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren


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

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans photo courtesy Bob Andrini


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

Wilson's Snipes

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


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


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

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Walter Lutz


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal photo courtesy John Mayer


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Downy (Browny) Woodpecker

"Browny" Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Marion Miller


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike photo courtesy Marion Miller


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


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

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Jackie Bowman


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

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


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


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


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

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes photo courtesy John Heneghan


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

Greater White-fronted Geese
 

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


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


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


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

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Robert France


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


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


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

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy Gordon Garcia


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

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans photo courtesy Marion Miller


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

Merlin

Merlin photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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

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


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


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

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush photo courtesy Rich Miller


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Red-tailed Hawks

Camera-shy Red-tailed Hawks photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte


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

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


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

Merlin

Merlin photo courtesy Marion Miller


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


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

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

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy John Mayer

White-fronted Geese

White-fronted Geese photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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


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

American Kestrel

American Kestrel photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird photo courtesy Diane Hansen


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers photo courtesy John Heneghan


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

Barred Owl

Barred Owl photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte


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

Mute Swan

Mute Swan photo courtesy Lanette Padula


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

Bald Eagle, adult

Adult Bald Eagle photo courtesy Alan Lloyd


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

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose photo courtesy Bob Andrini


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

Killdeer

Killdeer photo courtesy Walt Lutz


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

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

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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


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

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


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

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Kurt Frieders


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Typical feeder birds.


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

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


Al Stokie on 12/27 reported via IBET:

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

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

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

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

There will be other Canvasbacks, I hope.


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

Bonaparte's Gulls

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


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

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

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

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

Carpentersville Dam

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

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

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

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


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


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

Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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

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


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

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren


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

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

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

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

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

A great day to be out on the Fox!!


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

Never been along Esker Rd. before -- thanks!


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


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


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

Brown-headed Cowbirds and deer

Brown-headed Cowbirds and deer photo courtesy John Heneghan


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


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

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker photo courtesy Kurt Frieders


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


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


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


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


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


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

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy John Mayer


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


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

Whooping Cranes

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


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

Carpentersville Dam

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

Fox River at West Dundee

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


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


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

Snow Goose

Snow Goose photo courtesy Marion Miller


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

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


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

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane photos courtesy John Heneghan

Sandhill Crane

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

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

Eastern Screech-Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl photo courtesy Paul Richardson


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Sue Wagoner


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

Rusty Blackbird

Rusty Blackbird photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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

Purple Finch

Purple Finch photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler photo courtesy Diane Hansen


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


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


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


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

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

Hudsonian Godwit

Hudsonian Godwit photo courtesy Bob Andrini


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

Cattle Egrets

Cattle Egrets photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren


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

Sora

Sora photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren


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

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes photo courtesy John Heneghan

Snow Geese

Snow Geese photo courtesy John Heneghan

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy John Heneghan


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

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

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

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


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

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk photo courtesy Marion Miller


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Hudsonian Godwit

Hudsonian Godwit photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte


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


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

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


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


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

White-crowned Sparrow

Immature White-crowned Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider


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


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


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

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler photo courtesy Ken Schneider


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


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


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


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

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Golden-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Ken Schneider


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

Wilson's Snipe photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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

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

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

Good birding!


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


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


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

American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren


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


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


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


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


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

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Juvenile Bald Eagle photo courtesy Lisa Williams

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon photo courtesy Lisa Williams


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

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret photo courtesy Walter Lutz


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


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

Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler photo courtesy Chris Madsen


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


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


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

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Gray-cheeked Thrush photo courtesy Marion Miller


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

Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts photo courtesy Gordon Garcia


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

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


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

 Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk photo courtesy Jackie Bowman


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

Banded Garden Spider - dorsal view

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

Banded Garden Spider - ventral view

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

 

Eastern Pipistrelle

Eastern Pipistrelle photo courtesy Jackie Bowman


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


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

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler photo courtesy Walt Lutz


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


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


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

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy John Mayer


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

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

Northern Cardinals

Northern Cardinals photo courtesy Theresa Le Compte


Older sightings available here.


 

This page last updated Wednesday March 22, 2017

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