APRIL 2009 Sightings

Bob Andrini on 4/29 reported via e-mail: Along with new Eastern Towhees and other migrants in our yard, today we saw a Lincoln Sparrow (like the swallows returning to Capistrano (SP), we see this species about this time every year). - it must be spring.

Great Horned owlets photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Ron Dickenson on 4/29 reported via e-mail: Although there were no owls at the Geneva courthouse this year, Ron located these Great Horned owlets on the east side of Batavia today.

Chris Madsen on 4/29 reported: The familiar winged-cigar-shaped silhouette of Chimney Swifts has returned to my neighborhood skies in St. Charles today.

Debbie Wisser on 4/29 reported via e-mail: This morning, I took my usual walk on the Fox River Trail from SEBA Park in South Elgin up to and through Jon Duerr FP and back. The woods were alive with the sound of warblers! Large numbers of Yellow-Rumped and Palm Warblers have arrived, and they were everywhere. Others I saw were Yellow Warblers, a Black and White Warbler, a Golden Winged Warbler, and the highlight lifer of the morning, a Prothonotary Warbler! WOW what a beautiful bird! Also seen were Double-Crested Cormorants, Cooper's Hawks (one on a nest, the other standing guard), Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Phoebe, House Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Gray Catbird, Northern Waterthrush, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Buntings, White Throated Sparrows, Field Sparrows, and Baltimore Orioles.

Tim Balassie on 4/29 reported via e-mail: Looks like some of the shorebirds are starting to come in. At Sauer Prairie earlier today I saw many Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Semi-Palmated Sandpiper (altho I would not completely rule out Western), and Semi-Palmated Plover.

Yellow Warbler photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/29 reported via e-mail: At lippold park: lots of yellow rumps, a red breasted grosbeak, numerous palms, saw an owl in flight, suspect it was a young great horned, wish I got a better look.

At Les Arends, no hooded seen, black and white warbler and tennessee warbler seen, group of goofy wood ducks way up in the trees, tons of yellow rumps, multiple palms.

At Nelson, sora[s] running around out in the open {whats with these birds this year, they are like sparrows!!}, palm warblers, yellow warbler, great horned heard hooting, and the bird of the day, probably year, a least bittern that was beautiful in flight as he flushed from waters edge. I could not get a picture of him as he disappeared into the reeds [I was elated and bummed at the same time]

Roger Hotham on 4/29 reported via IBET: Margaret Mechtenberg reported 25-30 cattle egrets this morning flying north upsteam along the Fox River towards South Elgin.

Julie Long on 4/29 reported via IBET: There was a very wet, cold and bedraggled [pine] sisken that arrived in my yard [in St. Charles] this morning. It flew a short distance when our dog went out and then sat in one spot in the yard for 20 or so minutes. It finally managed to get the strength to fly up to the thistle feeder on the house. After five min of eating, he flew away. Isn't it fairly lately for a sisken? I did have a few throughout the winter but they are long gone.

Jon Duerr on 4/29 reported via IBET: At 10:45 AM  we found a Kentucky W[arbler] next to lower parking lot Tyler Creek For. Pres. The parking is adjacent to the creek with a steel foot bridge. The bird was in the bushes along the creek near the bridge.  Tyler Creek is along Rt 31, 1/4 mi south of Int. 90, The other direction at the intersection is Judson College, Elgin Ill.

Karen Land on 4/29 reported via IBET: Yesterday afternoon I was surprised to see a dash of bright blue in my yard while I was on the phone with a friend. The male Indigo Bunting was casually visiting the areas around my 2 feeders and then sat for quite a bit in my young White Oak before flying off. I could have gotten several photos but the camera was by the computer where I had just downloaded photos of my tulips. Sigh. I have had Indigo Buntings in my yard before but it has been a year or so, just passers by.

Mike Madsen on 4/28 reported via IBET: A day of roaming Kane County resulted in a total of 85 species with a couple of surprises along the way. My first major stop was at the Headwaters Conservation Area - my first visit there (it is accessed off of Beith Road, northeast of Elburn). SORA numbers were impressive, with at least 20 seen and more heard. VIRGINIA RAIL was present as well. Then I moved on to Sauer Family Prairie Kame preserve where water levels were very high. Shorebirds were the highlight here (plus the constantly singing WESTERN MEADOWLARKS). GREATER & LESSER YELLOWLEGS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER were found along the shore of the ponds. A number of additional shorebirds were in the flooded farm field just to the southeast of the large pond at the south end of the preserve, including SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (3), KILLDEER, DUNLIN, WILSON'S SNIPE, and in the company of three SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS - a lone WESTERN SANDPIPER (my first spring record in Illinois).

An afternoon visit to Fabyan Forest Preserve was pretty dull, but a spur of the moment visit to Les Arends Forest Preserve was a little more exciting. A beautiful male HOODED WARBLER popped up when I did a little pishing while stopped along the bicycle path along the river. A couple minutes later, a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER made an appearance along the path. A GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER and a singing ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK also put in appearances.

John Heneghan on 4/28 reported via IBET: This evening [in La Fox], I had a Baltimore Oriole at the oranges in the suet cages and a pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks at the safflower feeder...[Then] Right after I posted about the oriole and grosbeak, an indigo bunting landed at the feeders!!

Sue Wagoner on 4/28 reported via e-mail: My backyard (west side Aurora) has been jumping the last couple of days-- female Eastern Towhee, Palm warbler, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Chipping Sparrows, Field Sparrow, House Wren, a brief appearance by a Wood Thrush (got a backside photo only), and today 10 White-Throated Sparrows- about half white-striped morphs and half tan-striped morphs. Reading about them I learned that each mating pair is made up of one of each. The aggressive white-morph male chases away the female white-morph (who sings) and mates with the tan-morph females (who don't sing). The less aggressive tan-morph males then mate with the singing white-morph females! (got that?)


White-throated Sparrow photos courtesy Sue Wagoner

Kim Girard on 4/28 reported via e-mail: My backyard feeders (Wasco area) have been visited since the weekend by: 3 male Baltimore Orioles, a ruby-throated hummingbird, and this morning (4/28) male and female red-breasted grosbeak.

Darrell Shambaugh on 4/27 reported via IBET: This morning on my way to work I stopped on County Line Road south of Lasher Road, hoping to find some warblers. The only warbler was YELLOW-RUMPED, but the field east of the oaks was flooded and GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS were there.

On Lasher Road about a half mile east of County Line a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH was in the flooded woods east of the horse farm. A BROWN THRASHER was also there.

I took Lasher Road to Sauer Prairie. Greater Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers were in several flooded fields along the way, and at Sauer both species were in the Kaneville Tree Farm across the road from Suaer.

This afternoon I headed towards Elburn to see those Cattle Egrets, Willets, and American Bitterns reported there over the weekend. I didn't see any of them at Headwaters Conservation area (looks like a really cool place). I scoped the pond north of the Elburn Forest Preserve and saw GREATER YELLOWLEGS and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS. There was a nice selection of ducks on the pond: 14 BUFFLEHEAD, a pair of GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELERS, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, WOOD DUCK, and MALLARDS. Also a bunch of AMERICAN COOTS.

I also checked the flooded fields on Francis Road at the Railroad Tracks a couple miles west of Elburn Forest Preserve. South of the tracks, 8 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and a PALM WARBLER were in the trees in the middle of the pond. Northern Shovelers, Mallards, and Blue-winged teal were in both ponds. There is more water in these ponds now than a month ago, the last time I checked them. Interestingly, there is a manaquin head in the south pond. This freaked me out the first time I saw it. I scoped it really carefully to figure out it was real or what. I was glad it was "or what."

Scarlet Tanager photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/27 reported via e-mail: Today at Sauer: vesper, lincoln, swamp, and savannah sparrow, sora, coot, rusty blackbirds, greater and lesser yellowlegs, spotted, solitary and pectoral sandpiper, dunlin
at Bliss: barred owl, northern parula, northern waterthrush, yellow rumps and palms, white throated sparrow, house wren, swainsons thrush
at Fabyan: yellow rumped and palm warblers galore, black and white warbler, pine warbler, baltimore oriole and scarlet tanager

John Heneghan on 4/27 reported via IBET: I went to the Fabyan Forest Preserve this AM with a friend. We basically birded the Japanese Garden area. Besides a plethora of Yellow Rumped Warblers, we saw Palm Warblers, Pine warblers, Blue Winged Warblers, Black Throated Green Warblers, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, a Phoebe that appeared to be making a nest on one of the ornamental buildings with in the garden, female Rose Breasted Grosbeak, 2 seperate canadian goose families with the little yellow fluffballs.

We walked across the footbridge to see Blue Gray Gnatcatchers on the East side and more Yellow Rumped Warblers. We also saw swamp, song and field sparrows and a few white throated sparrows.

Eric Secker on 4/27 reported via IBET: We went over to the west side of Fabyan F.P. later in the afternoon on Saturday after the rain let up. There was a large volume of warblers, mostly yellow-rumps. I roughly counted about 225 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. Other warblers included 1 BLUE-WINGED, 1 TENNESSEE, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED, 2 NORTHERN PARULAS, a few YELLOW WARBLERS, 1 BLACK-THROATED GREEN, 2 PINE WARBLERS, 15-20 PALM WARBLERS, and a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. A majority of the warblers were back in the woods along the gravel trail that goes straight where the bike path curves right and goes over the river (also along the road at the west end of the preserve where we had one of the Pine Warblers and Blue-winged Warbler)


Jon and Joy Duerr and Jack Pomatto on 4/27 reported via e-mail: Very birdy Monday morning [on the Fox River Trail in Batavia]. Swainson Thrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow, Nashville, Palm, Yellow-rump Warblers. Red-eye Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Overbird, Gnat-catchers Balt Orioles. At Lippold Park (across the river) Bk-White Warbler, many No. Catbirds and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Sora photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/26 reported via e-mail: At Nelson Lake, there were about 4 soras and 2 calling virginia rails [not seen]. It was overcast but I did get a pic of one of the sora

Pete Moxon on 4/26 reported via phone: A visit to Sauer Preserve this afternoon produced the following:

1 Marbled Godwit
33 Greater Yellowlegs
12 Lesser Yellowlegs
4 Dunlins
5 Pectoral Sandpipers
10 Least Sandpipers
2 Upland Sandpipers
3 Spotted Sandpipers
6 Wilson's Snipe
1 American Woodcock
1 Short-billed Dowitcher
Many Killdeer
2 Soras
1 Virginia Rail
1 Northern Harrier
2 Vesper Sparrows
6 Western Meadowlarks, singing
1 Yellow-headed Blackbird
Many Rusty Backbirds
Henslow's, Song, and Savannah sparrows

Jeff Smith on 4/26 reported via IBET: Ran into Andy Sigler...Between storms we found a small group of birds [at Fabyan Forest Preserve] that included a couple of Blue-headed Vireos, Orange-crowned Warbler, Purple Finch, and a Cerulean Warbler. Andy also spotted a perched hawk through the trees and as he tried to get a better look it flew right over my head. So I got a good look at a Broad-winged Hawk .
Rain, rain go away.

Scott Cohrs on 4/26 reported via IBET: This morning I was lucky to find 4 Willets resting on the edge of the south pothole pond at Headwaters Conservation Area in Kane County. This is on Route 38 about a mile east of Elburn. They took off and flew dead west after a few minutes of watching them. I just talked to Pete Moxon and it sounds like he relocated them at the flooded field just north of the entrance to Elburn Forest Preserve, just west of Route 47.

Also present at Headwaters was an American Bittern, Virginia Rail and Sora, numerous Snipe, 3 Solitary Sandpipers, and scads of Swamp Sparrows.

On the way home, I found 2 Cattle Egrets at the small pond west of the rec center at the corner of Peck and Kaneville Roads. Sounds like they were still present as of a few minutes ago. Funny thing, this birding game. I have only seen Willets once in Kane, have missed Bittern in some years and have never seen Cattle Egrets in the county. This morning I observed all three in about an hour.

Pete Moxon on 4/26 reported via phone: There are 2 Cattle Egrets at the pond at Persinger Recreation Center at Peck Farm Park on Kaneveille Road in Geneva. These were first found by Scott Cohrs. Per Pete, Scott also had 4 Willets at the Headwaters Conservation Area on Route 38 east of Elburn. Those birds were flushed and flew west. Pete relocated them at the fluddle across from Elburn Forest Preserve along with Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers.

John Heneghan on 4/26 reported via IBET: We started out this AM with a pair of pine siskins at out feeders, the first time we had seen them here. We went to Ferson Creek Park [in St. Charles] and walked the creek from the Fox to RT 31. Lots of Yellow Rumped Warblers. We did see Yellow Warblers, Palm Warblers, Swamp Sparrows , Song sparrows and a flock of rough winged, tree and barn swallows hanging out in a tree at the confluence of the creek and the river.

We moved on to Ferson Creek Fen, where we continued to see yellow rumped warblers.

We stopped at Fox Bluff and saw more Yellow Rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers.

We made a quick stop at Jon Duerr/ Blackhawk Forest Preserve. Not much there.

...We left there and went to Tekawitha Woods. On the road into the park, we saw a leucistic robin. It had a white head and white feathers on its back with the normal rust colored breast of a robin.

Ginny Widrick on 4/26 reported via e-mail: Just got back from Florida. At Campton [Hills Park in St. Charles] there has been a Red-Headed Wood Pecker in the Oaks along the gardens that I saw with the Dupage Birding Group on 4 /25/09. My friend in Batavia has her first Hummingbird, so get the feeders out. My brother in Southern Wisconsin has a Painted Bunting along with his Goldfinches which is a rare sighting.

John Heneghan on 4/25 reported via IBET: Went to Johnson's Mound this AM.
Bluegray gnatcatchers (many)
ruby crowned kinglets
eastern towhees
field sparrows
song sparrows
gray catbird

pair of wooducks
pair of GHO's calling each other
white throated sparrows

Debbie Wisser on 4/25 reported via IBET: I took a quick walk this morning on the Fox River Trail in South Elgin. It was actually kind of quiet. However, I did see my some Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, a Gray Catbird, a large flock of White-Throated Sparrows, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, and an Eastern Phoebe. At home I still have a couple of Pine Siskins coming to my feeder.

John Heneghan on 4/25 reported via IBET: I just saw a FOY Rose Breasted Grosbeak at my feeder!!

Karen Land on 4/25 reported via IBET: Returning from shopping at Woodman's in North Aurora this morning, we spotted 2 adults and 3 goslings walking along the pond behind the building. The goslings seemed several weeks old.

Pete Moxon on 4/24 reported via phone: Went to the fluddle opposite the entrance to Elburn Forest Preserve on Route 38 looking for shorebirds. Other than a possible yellowlegs, he whiffed on shorebirds but did have the following:

Green-winged teal
Blue-winged Teal
Ring-necked duck
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
American Coot
Lesser Scaup

and, of course Mallards and Canada geese.


Christopher Cudworth on 4/24 reported via IBET: I was at Fabyan this morning as well...I would like to add that I found bluebirds engaging in nesting activity. The nest hole is in a most public spot exactly at the juncture of the east side trail and the road leading across the bridge. This is probably the highest human traffic area in the entire preserve.
The tree is on the north side of that short bit of road leading to the bridge. The nest is about 12 feet up in a dead spire. I didn't identify the bark or what tree it is. The female was carrying what appeared to be pine needles to the nest hole, and the male was present as well. I spent so much time taking pictures of the bluebirds and a band of cedar waxwings that I did not wander up the trail...and now I know I missed some great birds!

Scott Cohrs on 4/24 reported via IBET: There was a Louisiana Waterthrush along the main creek in Fabyan FP, east of Route 25, early this morning. In fact, I think there were 7 warbler species, including an Orange-crowned. A Blue-headed Vireo was also present, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have arrived in droves.

Regarding nesting House Finches, I actually have 4 young that are about a week old on my porch right now. She has been on the nest for a while, and it was rather odd to see her sitting on eggs when we actually had snow a few weeks back. Everyone seems to be doing well though, and I'm looking forward to seeing them fledge.

Darrell Shambaugh on 4/23 reported via IBET: This afternoon (Thursday) in the Les Arends Forest Preserve and along the Fox River Trail in the area were:


Mark Bowman on 4/23 reported via IBET: At Nelson lake this evening in Batavia my brother reported multiple SNIPE, a few SORA (one walked 5 yards right in front of him) and a VIRGINIA RAIL.

Debbie Wisser on 4/22 reported via e-mail: I took a late afternoon walk around Nelson Lake today (4/22/09). Birds seen included: several Great Blue Herons in flight, Green Winged Teal ( a life bird for me, with good looks as it was in the stream near the Audubon bridge), Buffleheads, Wood Ducks (fly over), American Coot, Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Phoebe, Purple Martin, Tree Swallows, Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Yellow Rumped Warbler, FOY (for me) Palm Warbler, White Throated Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow. My favorite sighting of the day was my close encounter with a Sandhill Crane. I came across one on the North side of the lake that was standing in the middle of the path about 75 feet in front of me. I froze when I saw it and then continued to walk very slowly alternating looks with the binoculars and my eyes. I got to within 20 feet, when it took a short hop off the trail. As I passed the bird, I was only 12-15 feet away. It stayed put then vocalized after I was past it. Incidentally, as I was getting ready to leave for my walk my husband, who was home sick, asked if I was going to bring the camera. I said no because the birds on the lake would be too far away, and other birds moved to quickly to get a shot of with our basic digital camera. Little did I know I would have unobstructed views of a bird almost as tall of me that could of been photographed by even a disposable camera!

Darrell Shambaugh on 4/22 reported via IBET: I bicycled a little bit on the west side of Nelson Lake late this afternoon. On the lake were BUFFLEHEAD, RUDDY DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, and NORTHERN SHOVELER. An OSPREY was over the east side of the lake. At the Audubon Bridge were a singing YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, an EASTERN PHOEBE, 7 AMERICAN COOTS, a DOWNY WOODPECKER, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and about 150 TREE SWALLOWS in a tree. The swallows took off and came back to the same tree several times. In the woods by the west side overlook a WOOD THRUSH was singing. There were also CEDAR WAXWINGS, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS.

In the grasslands a HENSLOW'S SPARROW was singing (or whatever it is they do). I also found a SAVANNAH SPARROW to go with the SONG SPARROWS, EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, and other birds.

Yeanette Johnson on 4/22 reported via IBET: Walked Bliss & Hannaford Woods today. Here is my list:


Walter Lutz on 4/22 reported via e-mail: Today, along the Fox River, south of SEBA park [South Elgin]: Yellow-rumped warblers, Black& white warbler, Kingfisher, & some type of Sandpiper at a very small mud-flat by the birdhouse that's stationed in the river. (also a few painted turtles)

Gloria Dimoplon on 4/22 reported via e-mail: Brown Thrashers and Eastern Towhee were present in good numbers throughout [Burnidge] forest preserve. Also, 1 Black-and-White Warbler, a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and a couple of Hermit Thrush. Waterfowl included two large flocks of cormorants (40+ birds in each flock) headed north, several Pied-billed Grebes, coots, Mallards, Wood Ducks, and Blue Winged Teal and 1 Great Egret (flyover). I heard a Sandhill Crane calling but couldn’t locate it.

Jack Pomatto on 4/21 reported via e-mail: Today, 4/21/09 at Jon Duerr F.P. amongst the usual suspects were a Yellow Warbler and a Bank Swallow.

Mark Bowman on 4/20 reported via IBET: At Nelson lake in Batavia, lacontes sparrow, GH owl, turkey vulture, coopers hawk, red tailed hawk, 3 sora, eastern towhee, hermits thrushes and yellow rumped warblers.


Vesper Sparrow (L) and Le Conte's Sparrow photos courtesy Mark Bowman

Christopher Cudworth on 4/19 reported via IBET: Elburn Forest Preserve is located on Route 38 1 mile west of Route 47.

Note: the horse farm opposite the entrance to Elburn Forest Preserve has a SUBSTANTIAL wetland now. Weather conditions were not conducive to long range
viewing with a scope, but there were obvious pods of bufflehead, Ring necked duck and scaup. Pied billed grebe, coot and a pair of wood duck as well.

At Elburn, in the rain:


Julie Long on 4/19 reported via IBET: Yesterday, Sat am, there was a purple finch at a friend's feeder on Dunstan rd [in Geneva], and a few blocks away there was a red breasted nuthatch on a tree in a friend's yard on Meadows Rd. Both streets are short streets between Cheever (south of the train tracks) and Fargo (just north of Fabyan Forest Preserve)

Western Meadowlark photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/18 reported via e-mail: At Sauer today, 4-18, Northern harrier cruisin around, vesper sparrow, savannah sparrow and both eastern and western meadowlarks. In the water, there were 5 yellow legs, hard to tell lesser or greater as they flew off rather quickly. A few blue winged teal, bufflehead and shovelers also present.
At Nelson lake, multiple snipe seen, a few yellow rumped warbler warblers were present and an american bittern was seen on the northeast side.

Walter Lutz on 4/18 reported via e-mail: Stopped by Burnidge F. P. for only about 45 minutes and sat by the pond: Yellow-rumped warbler, nesting Northern Flickers, Great Blue Heron, Coots, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker & some beautiful, colorful Tree swallows.

Bonaparte's Gulls photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Sue Wagoner on 4/18 reported via e-mail: While doing the annual Crane Count at Nelson Lake today, Rhonda [Nelson], Gloria [Dimoplon], and I were surprised by a about a dozen Bonaparte Gulls working the surface of a glass-top Nelson Lake. (Although it looked like twice that many at a quick glance).
Yes, we heard one very supposedly nesting vocal pair [of Sandhill Cranes] and two other quieter pairs.

Bob Williams on 4/18 reported via IBET: A Swainson's Hawk was circling over Del Webb in Huntley on Friday April 17th at 11:30. It was just west of the intersection of Rt 47 and Del Webb Boulevard.

Bill Reddinger on 4/18 reported via e-mail: April 17th: Sauer Prairie Kame: I flushed a Short-eared Owl while walking down the track that runs off of the second pull-off on Lasher Road. The owl then got into a little disagreement with a Northern Harrier. The owl went down somewhere near the smaller pond that is closest to Lasher. Also at Sauer Prairie Kame were usual species such as Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Western and Eastern Meadowlarks, American Kestrel, and others.

Bob Andrini on 4/18 reported via e-mail: We saw our first Yellow-rumped Warbler down at Red Oak Nature Center. Maybe spring migration will now begin.

Bill Koch on 4/17 reported via e-mail: Elgin Sightings. I took a short walk with my kids tonight around the neighborhood and found an Eastern Towhee in a small group of trees. First one the of Year in Illinois for me.
Also at the local pond there were 2 Spotted Sandpipers doing their little Rump shaking dance along the shore. Another first of year for me. Last year we had 2 pair of the Spotted Sandpipers at the pond that stayed the entire summer.

Christopher Cudworth on 4/17 reported via IBET: On a 27 mile bike ride from Batavia to Elburn, St. charles and back there were a couple birds of note seen or heard yesterday. A small flock of tree sparrows still present at Nelson Lake along Main Street between Batavia and Elburn.

A Savannah Sparrow in the field east of 47, across from a fluddle that yielded...

6 Lesser Yellowlegs.

Also heard on this ride: Both Eastern and Western meadowlarks (at Nelson and along Beith Road north of Route 38), chipping sparrows (at homes on Campton Hills Road) along with requisite common birds.

That fluddle along 47 is worth monitoring. I'm headed out there tonight and back to Nelson Lake for some prairie birding.

Yeanette Johnson on 4/15 reported via IBET: Made a few stops today in Kane... Co. Here is what I found:

Les Arends Kane Co:

Bliss Woods FP Kane Co:

Nancy Bent and Roger Reason on 4/14 reported via IBET: The Black-necked Stilt was still present at Orchard and Aucutt Roads around 10:00 AM on Monday. The bird was in the same location described by Joe Lill in his posting of April 10.

Blue-winged Teal photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/13 reported via e-mail: 4-12. The stilt was still there and active, there was also a lot of shovelers there and I scared up 2 snipes, those little guys are hard to see!! This blue winged teal was in a small neighborhood pond in Geneva by my brothers house and was not very skittish

Eric Secker on 4/12 reported via IBET: I had nice looks at a Swainson's Hawk flying around low just north of I-90 and east of Sandwald Rd (w. Of Rt. 47) in Kane Co. this afternoon - not far from the Huntley Outlet Mall.

Sue Wagoner on 4/12 reported via e-mail: There are several Vesper Sparrows in the Sauer Family Farm preserve (Harter and Lasher Rds)-- they seem to be not real skittish. I watched one male chase a female (at least I assume that was the order) running on the ground for quite a while.

Also seen were a couple of Savannah Sparrows. Many Eastern Meadowlarks there and at least one Western Meadowlark-- lots of singing going on.


Vesper Sparrow (L) and Savannah Sparrow (R) photos courtesy Sue Wagoner.

Christopher Cudworth on 4/11 reported via IBET: My brother and his budding birder daughter are in town from Ohio, so we did a "fluddle tour". First stop: [Montgomery for the] Black necked still and greater yellowlegs, yes.

Then a drive west on Jericho, where there were substantially flooded farm fields. At the fluddle just past the Stuart Sports Complex:

Green-winged teal
Ring billed gull

A few other fluddles turned up the same species. Lots of shovelers.

At Denny Lake (on Denny Road off Bliss, 1.5 miles east)
Ruddy duck
Wood duck
Pied billed grebe
Tree swallow
Ring necked duck
Lesser scaup
Canada goose
Red winged blackbird


At Nelson Lake
Horned grebe
Ruddy duck
Ring necked duck
Wood duck
Sandhill crane
Eastern Meadowlark
Purple martin (singing, flying around: a scout!)
Tree swallow

Our young protege got 5 new species today. A rewarding "lite" journey.


Black-necked Stilt photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/10 reported via e-mail: got this picture of the stilt today but it was not easy getting a decent photo due to the wind. Went to bliss Woods and it was active with a lot of purple finches, the Barred owl was around again along with winter wrens, hermit thrushes, YB sapsuckers, eastern phoebe and a tufted titmouse

Joe Lill on 4/10 reported via IBET: The Black-necked Stilt was still at Orchard & Aucutt Rds. in Montgomery at 3:30 pm this Friday afternoon. However, it had moved to the southeast corner of the pond at the southeast corner of the intersection. Although still visible from Aucutt Rd., I had a much better look by going around to the south side of the pond via the side streets. If you don't see the bird from Aucutt I'd try this before you leave (the southernmost area is not visible from Aucutt): go back to Orchard and make a left; make a left on the first street (Countryside) and another left at the first street (Mulberry, a quick dead-end). Hanging around with the stilt was my FOY Greater Yellowlegs.

Eric, Ethan, and Aaron Gyllenhaal on 4/10 reported via IBET: We also saw the Black-necked Stilt this morning -- two times, first at about 9:30 a.m. and again while Linda was there. During our first visit the Stilt was with two Greater Yellowlegs in the flooded field southeast of the intersection.

We posted some photos on our Neighborhood Nature blog:

Between visits to the Stilt we stopped by Sauer Family Prairie Kame Forest Preserve, also in Kane County < http://www.kaneforest.com/fp/sauer_kame.asp >. We heard WESTERN MEADOWLARKS (as well as Eastern), but the only shorebirds we saw were KILLDEER and 3 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, which landed briefly beside one of the lakes (reached by walking southwest across the fields from the developed parking area). Also present: NORTHERN SHOVELERS, BUFFLEHEAD, AMERICAN COOT, HORNED LARK, SONG SPARROW, big flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and smaller flocks of BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS.

There were also several GREAT EGRETS in the lake northeast of the intersection of I-88 with Orchard Road.

Linda Radtke on 4/10 reported via IBET: I went this morning and observed [the Black-necked Stilt] for about forty-five minutes. This was a lifer for me.. I left at around 11:30. I watched it feeding, and saw it fly when a crow got a little too close. Also heard the sound it makes. Wow!

Other birds there were about 15 Northern Shovelers, Mallards, 2 Crows, numerous Killdeer, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Starlings, Robins and Grackles. Also, one flyover White Egret.

Eric Secker on 4/10 reported via IBET: I walked through a large portion of Fox River Shores F.P. in northern Kane Co. on Wednesday late morning. You can find directions through Google Maps easily on the Kane Co. Audubon website at:


It was almost perfectly still out in the morning. The sun was out, as were all the bugs. Spring certainly feels like it is finally arriving. I walked north along the path that is east of the bike path and then cut back through the woods along an old path that follows an old railroad track bed. Then I walked south from the road down to the dam and back. About 3.5 miles in all.

Along my trek north, I got within about twenty feet of a Coyote that was so distracted as it looked for something in the grass that it didn't even hear me coming up the gravel path. He darted away very quickly once he saw me. Dozens of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were present along with about 12 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS that I saw or heard singing. BROWN CREEPERS were very common as well. Also quite a few HAIRY WOODPECKERS in the area. East of the bike path and over the steep railroad bed, I found a really nice area where a creek runs through. I had about ten YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS there, lots of kinglets, an EASTERN TOWHEE, HERMIT THRUSH, and other regulars. Walking back south along the old railroad bed, I also had another HERMIT THRUSH, a RUSTY BLACKBIRD in a small pond, and FOX SPARROWS. Walked right up on a deer in about the same location where the coyote had been previously. As I got back towards the bike path, I came across a couple really neat, large pussy willow bushes that were attracting a ton of bees. You just don't see many of these bushes around nowadays.

By the parking lot, as I crossed the road, I thought I heard a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER sing its song a couple times from somewhere down towards the river. Another HERMIT THRUSH was also singing in the bushes north of the road. On the way out I also had a WINTER WREN singing.

Walking along the bike path by the river, it was really neat to hear a bunch of Leopard Frogs all calling away during the middle of the day. Further down I stopped to watch a pair of Garter Snakes that seemed to be at home in the gravel by a small drainage culvert. Where the river opens up to a view, a DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT was sunning itself with its wings out and enjoying a perch on some dead wood out in the river. A second bird was soaring up above in the sky. You could see a band on its leg when the sun hit it. I wonder where this bird has been before it arrived here. A NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW and a couple TREE SWALLOWS were also flying around by the industrial plant east of the bike path.

Down south of the dam towards the OTTO property, I had another small group of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, many more kinglets, and a few more FOX SPARROWS.

Double-crested Cormorant - 2
Great Blue Heron - 1
Canada Goose - 1
Wood Duck - 2
Mallard - 14
Turkey Vulture - 1
Ring-billed Gull - 4
American Herring Gull - 2
Mourning Dove - 5
Belted Kingfisher - 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 2
Downy Woodpecker - 5
Hairy Woodpecker - 7
Northern Flicker - 3
Eastern Phoebe - 3
Tree Swallow - 5
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 100 (conservative / loose estimate)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 12
Winter Wren - 1 (singing)
Hermit Thrush - 4 (1 singing)
American Robin - 22
Black-capped Chickadee - 14
White-breasted Nuthatch - 3
Brown Creeper - 14
Blue Jay - 1
American Crow - 2
European Starling - 6
House Sparrow - 8
House Finch - 2
American Goldfinch - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 16
Yellow-throated Warbler - 1 (probable)
Eastern Towhee - 1
Fox Sparrow - 10
Song Sparrow - 6
Swamp Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 4
Northern Cardinal - 9
Red-winged Blackbird - X
Rusty Blackbird - 1
Common Grackle - 6

Virginia Rail close encounter photo
courtesy Bryan Hix

Yeanette Johnson on 4/9 reported via IBET: The pair of OSPREY that nested at Koehler Fields of Bartlett last year seem to be at it again! I watched as one of the birds brought in large sticks while the other bird did some nest designing!

Here is the location:
Koehler Fields of Bartlett
2255 Southwind Blvd.
Kane County
On Rt. 25 just South of West Bartlett Rd.  

The OSPREY are building on one of the baseball diamond light poles. The ball fields are to the South of the Bartlett Water Tower. [EDITOR'S NOTE: In a follow-up posting, Yeanette reports the Osprey are now building a nest on a power pole at James "Pate" Philip State Park (formerly known as Tri-County).]

Bryan Hix on 4/9 reported via e-mail: I was at Nelson lake this morning and was watching buffleheads when I heard something right in front of me coming through the cattails. This virgina rail popped out for just a few seconds and I was able to snap a quick photo. It was so close that I barely fit it in the frame. This was a first for me, so I was pretty excited.

Karen Lund on 4/9 reported via IBET: Nancy Kowalski called me to advise that as of 1 pm today, the stilt was still present at the Aucutt & Orchard Rds. location.

Black-necked Stilt photo courtesy Fran Phillips

Bob Andrini on 4/9 reported via phone: The Black-necked Stilt was still at the fluddle at the intersection of Aucutt and Orchard in Montgomery this morning. A Greater Yellowlegs was also present.

Fran Phillips on 4/9 reported via e-mail: I saw the Black-necked Stilt about 6 PM April 4 on Orchird. Thought you might like this picture. I enjoyed your meeting last night.

Bob Fisher on 4/9 reported via IBET: Just got an email from birding friend Ed Van Der Molen, who now lives in Wisconsin. He was passing through Montgomery on Orchard Rd yesterday April 8 and the Black-necked Stilt was present, in the fluddle on the northeast corner of that intersection.

Green-winged Teal photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/8 reported via e-mail: At Sauer this AM, gadwall, mallards, bufflehead, green winged teal [picture], savanna sparrow, swamp sparrow, northern harrier

At Bliss: yellow bellied sapsuckers, barred owl, winter wrens [thanks Bill][lifer] picture a little blurred, purple finches, white breasted nuthatches

When I got home, to my surprise, there was a purple finch at my feeder [picture]. I screwed up on some of my pics as they were blurred [sorry]


Winter Wren (L) and Purple Finch (R) photos courtesy Mark Bowman

Christopher Cudworth on 4/8 reported via IBET: Tonight along the south side of the Dick Young/Nelson Lake Marsh preserve there were between 200-250 rusty blackbirds at 7:00 pm.

Other birds seen during a 3 mile loop walk:

Lesser scaup (est 75)
Ring Necked duck (est 75)
Redhead (1)
Bufflehead (6)
Ruddy Duck (5)
Coot (150)
Pied billed grebe (1)
Common merganser (5)
Sandhill crane (singing)
Phoebe (5)
Fox Sparrow (est 75)
Song sparrow
Dark eyed junco
(est. 500)
White pelican (at 7pm.on north end of lake--6)
Downy woodpecker
Blue winged teal
(6 in south exit stream)

And speaking of which: I noticed there is no more beaver activity in the south exit stream.

Sandhill Crane in need of a spinal adjustment(?) photo courtesy Dennis Walz.


Dennis Walz shot this mass of American White Pelicans while there still were some at Nelson Lake.

Barb Rask on 4/8 reported via e-mail: My sightings today 4/8/09 at Tekakwitha Woods FP and Jon J. Duerr FP

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Great Horned Owl
BC Chickadee
Song Sparrow
RW Blackbird
Brown Creeper
Yellow shafted (Northern) Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Brown-Headed Cowbird
Canada Goose
Wood duck
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Cooper's Hawk
(Nesting pair on bike trail)

John Heneghan on 4/8 reported via IBET: We went to Johnson's Mound in Kane County this AM. Birds seen include Golden Crowned Kinglets, Eastern Meadowlarks, Song Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, YellowBellied Sap Suckers (I have seen few here), Flickers, and a fly over by a solitary Sandhill Crane.

Christopher Cudworth on 4/8 reported via IBET: The pine siskins in my Batavia neighborhood may be /are likely / nesting in a group of tall spruces next door to our house. I hear them daily moving up and into the trees but could never get up there to confirm a nest. I do plan to spend some time this weekend observing their behavior with binoculars.

John Heneghan on 4/6 reported via IBET: My girlfriend called me at lunch today to tell me she was watching a loon on the Depot pond in Batavia on the Fox River.

Bob Williams on 4/6 reported via IBET: On Saturday morning...I saw a Belted Kingfisher along Eakin Creek in Sun City Huntley.

Christopher Cudworth on 4/6 reported via IBET: Birded [yesterday] in from the old entrance [at Nelson Lake] to the west woods and back from Nelson Lake Road...In an hour's walk out and back on the north trail, the following species were present. Conditions: windy, 34 degrees, spitting rain.

Rusty Blackbird
BC Chickadee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Blue Jay

Bufflehead (in main pool on north end)
Sandhill Crane
Green winged teal
Ruddy Duck
Lesser scaup
American Wigeon
White Pelican
White breasted nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Red Tailed Hawk
Yellow shafted (Northern) Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Golden Crowned Kinglet
Canada Goose
Wood duck

(2) flyby Hooded Merganser
Cooper's Hawk

Darrell Shambaugh on 4/5 reported via IBET: Scott Johnson and Mark Agnor were at Aucutt Road when I arrived Sunday Morning. We saw a WILSON'S SNIPE, a couple RING-BILLED GULLS, about 15 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, and a few BLUE-WINGED TEAL, but no Black-necked Stilt. Mark had to go to work, and Scott was going to breakfast. Before he left, Scott told me about Oakhurst Forest Preserve on the east side of Aurora. Always on the lookout for new places to explore, I headed for Farnsworth Avenue and found my way to Oakhurst. On the lake were about 25 AMERICAN COOTS, a handful of MALLARDS, a pair of AMERICAN WIDGEONS, a male RUDDY DUCK, 8 PIED-BILLED GREBES, and 7 HORNED GREBES. All the Horned Grebes were in some stage of breeding plumage. A NORTHERN PINTAIL flew over, heading southeast. And, like every other place with a pond, there was a flock of CANADA GEESE. It rained for the half hour that I was at Oakhurst so I didn't walk around. This looks like an excellent birding spot.

I went back to Aucutt road to check for the Black-necked Stilt again. As I turned from Hill Ave. on to Montgomery Road by Phillips Park, the sun came out and there was a beautiful rainbow above the Phillips Park golf course. The rainbow was out as I drove from Hill Avenue to the Fox River. I hoped the end of the rainbow was at Aucutt Road and would have a Black-necked Stilt under it, but the only new birds there were a couple GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a PIED-BILLED GREBE.

Yeanette Johnson on 4/5 reported via IBET: Spent some time at Bliss Woods today between 12:30-2:00pm. Even with the wind and rain it was rather birdie. Here is my list:



Also seen in a muddy fuddle behind Herget Middle School on Deerpath Rd. in Western Aurora: 8 WILSON'S SNIPE.

Craig Taylor on 4/5 reported via IBET: I looked for the B-n Stilt this AM in Kane County from 6 - 7:45 and did not relocate the bird.

Other birders were there when I left, perhaps they found it later...???

Jason Sturner and Kelly Moran on 4/5 reported via IBET: Yesterday, April 4

Delnor Woods in St. Charles (16 species):

Brown Creeper
Eastern Phoebe
Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Yellow-Rumped Warbler 2
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Red-Tailed Hawk
Black-Capped Chickadee
American Robin 10+
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Canada Goose 2
Mallard 2

Nelson Lake Marsh/Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia (27+ species)

Ducks close enough for me to ID were Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, and Mallard.
Brown Thrasher
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Eastern Phoebe
American White Pelican 8
American Coot – many
Sandhill Crane
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Unidentified Gulls 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Eastern Bluebird
Northern Flicker
Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Black-Capped Chickadee
American Robin 10+
Fox Sparrow 10
Song Sparrow 5+
Common Grackle 2
Red-Winged Blackbird 10+
Northern Cardinal 3
Rock Dove 2
European Starling

Black-necked Stilt photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Gloria Dimoplon on 4/5 reported via e-mail: April 4. Margaret Mechtenberg and I located the Black-necked Stilt Saturday afternoon at 2:00 P.M at Orchard & Aucutt. There was also a Greater Yellowlegs foraging near the stilt.

Joe Suchecki on 4/4 reported via IBET: The Black-necked Stilt was still present at the intersection of Orchard and Aucutt Road in west of Aurora at 7 pm on Saturday. I saw the stilt on the northside of Aucutt Rd in the flooded corn stubble field. It looked like it might be settling in for the night. This field is on the east side of Orchard Rd.

Ari Shavit on 4/4 reported via IBET: There was a single Bonapartes gull at sauers near Kaneville. There were also a few lesser yellowlegs, pectoral and least sandpipers.

Sue Wagoner on 4/4 reported via e-mail: Among the many species we saw today on the Audubon walk at Nelson Lake were two Hairy Woodpeckers and 7-9 Sandhill Cranes. One seemed to be riding the thermal, perhaps to leave... and about six looked like they were just arriving. One pair of Sandhills did some sort of short aerial display (or play??)- see photo. All but one of the pelicans also seemed to be leaving, slowly soaring upward.

Hairy Woodpecker and Sandhill Cranes playing(?) photos courtesy Sue Wagoner

Barred Owl photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman on 4/4 reported via e-mail: This barred owl was a lifer for me and one of my nemesis. He was seen at Bliss Woods so thanks to the person who had reported him earlier this week or last week. Sauer farms only had a few BW teals, Gadwall and N. shovelers, there was also a few savanna sparrows

Scott Johnson on 4/4 reported via IBET: At 10:20am there was 1 Black Necked Stilt on the northwest corner of Aucutt Road and Orchard Road in Montgomery, IL

Christopher Cudworth on 4/4 reported via IBET: On a noontime walk [yesterday] in St. Charles, found a yellow-bellied Sapsucker along the north-south trail loop in Norris Woods. The forest preserve is located behind Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Route 25 north of North Avenue. Also seen:

Red Bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Dark Eyed Junco
White breasted nuthatch
BC Chickadee
Brown Creeper
(large groups of females)

I was shooting for a 4th woodpecker species as there are Hairy wp seen in these woods.

Walt Lutz on 4/3 reported via e-mail: Mid-day @ Burnidge F.P.: Hooded Merganser, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Kingbird, American Kestrel among the usual.

Gloria Dimoplon on 4/3 reported via e-mail: April 1 and 2. Since my car is in the shop I decided to bird the edges of a farm field adjacent to the Randall Ridge Subdivision in Elgin. I had a first-of-the year Swamp Sparrow yesterday. This morning I managed to flush an American Woodcock (twice!) and observed a FOY Field Sparrow and an FOY Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Other notables both days were Eastern Towhee and Northern Flicker. The usual abundance of robins, cardinals, Red-winged Blackbird and Song Sparrows were also present.

Darrell Shambaugh on 4/1 reported via IBET: This afternoon the flooded field north of Route 38 at Elburn Forest Preserve had a nice assortment of ducks.

Green-winged Teal
40 Ring-necked Ducks
4 Northern Shovelers
45 American Coots
2 Pied-billed Grebes
8 Bufflehead

Elburn Forest Preserve itself had a pair of HAIRY WOODPECKERS, about 40 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, and 4 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS in addition to the normal Juncos, robins, and whatnot. The area west of the road is flooded. The Rusty Blackbirds were in the thicket along the west edge of the park.

Along Francis Road, a mile or two west of Elburn Forest Preserve there were WOOD DUCKS, MALLARDS, and BLUE-WINGED TEAL in a couple ponds. More Rusty Blackbirds were in the pond closest to the railroad tracks.

Chris Madsen on 4/1 reported: Spring has officially begun - a handful of Yellow-rumped Warblers were flitting about along the bikepath at Les Arends Forest Preserve this afternoon. Other species of note included Eastern Towhee, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a flock of Tree Swallows feeding above the river

Walt Lutz on 4/1 reported via e-mail: Today (mid-day) @ Leroy Oaks F. P.: Lots of robins & rw blackbirds & crows, 1 eastern bluebird, 1 hairy woodpecker, a couple of hunting coopers hawks, 1 common redpoll, what I believe were some song sparrows, almost walked right by a perched large red-tail hawk (within 75') and a fly-over of 15 +/- american white pelicans (circling on a thermal and drifted off to the north). Good birding for a windy day.


This page last updated Thursday May 14, 2009.

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