August 2007 Sightings


Bob Fisher on 8/30 reported via IBET: ...We...stopped at an unnamed small sod farm in the far northwestern corner of Kane County. This sod farm is on both sides of Melms Rd, between County Line and OBrien Rds. Much more standing water and many more shorebirds here. Highlights included 5 Buff-breasted Sandpipers (a lifer for Vicky) foraging in the grass just 50 feet from the south shoulder, numerous Golden Plovers, a few Black-bellied Plovers, several Stilt Sandpipers and 2 Wilson's Phalaropes in the fluddles north of the road. Just as at many sod farms right now, many more distant but unidentifiable shorebirds were present.

Christopher Cudworth on 8/28 reported via IBET: I was (out at Dunteman Sod Farm) Sunday afternoon viewing the currently dirt portion of the sod farm from Main Street 1/4 mile east of Kaneville. There were two Semi-palmated plovers on the rim of the waterhole 75 yards north of the road. No buffies or willets there, but 119 killdeer were in the waterhole, some submerged up to their necks. There were also at least 50 horned larks including many young birds working the open dirt fields. I was checking for pipits or some other oddity but no luck.

At the Kaneland Fluddle up by Kaneland High School on Keslinger Road four miles west of Route 47, there was a pleasant mix of greater and lesser yellowlegs, all actively feeding or when not feeding, plumping themselves out to rest or preen. One pied billed grebe was swimming in the waterhole that has never been so large as after the rains in
Northern Illinois.

A healthy lot of pectorals was also at this spot, which should actually improve as things dry up a bit.

Jack Pomatto on 8/27 reported via e-mail: Yesterday, August 26 there was an Osprey perched at the top of a dead tree at the south end of Boy Scout Island in St. Charles ( on the west side of the river and north of Salerno's Restaurant). The bird was seen from Rte 31. It was an interesting sight given that the Fox River is in flood stage. It might be worth checking out this site through migration.

John Heneghan on 8/27 reported via IBET: On the way home this evening, I saw 2 young sandhill cranes on the front lawn of a house on Deerpath/Nelson Lake Rd south of Seavey. I was surprised by this as I have never seen Sandhills so close to a house. I saw another pair in the Kane County FPD field on the west side of Bunker between Hughes and Keslinger. Also on the way to work this AM, we took a detour down the road to the New Mall near Orchard Road off I-88. This is near the Target and JC Penny's. North of the road is a large wetlands area. I noticed quite a few egrets and shorebirds, which I couldn't ID as I was running a little late for work and traffic was backed up on 88.

Eric Walters on 8/26 reported via IBET: While driving on Hwy 88, I came across the Kane County Dunteman sod farms, which are bisected by this highway. I noticed a large watering hole on the north side of the road, so I stopped. There were at least 12 species of shorebirds, highlighted by 2 Willets and 11 Buff-breasted Sandpipers. I've never seen Willets in Kane County and I know that is a very rare bird there, so I was excited by that. The Buffies were also wonderful, both in volume, but also the flight shows they put on, circling around the open sod farms.

To get to this location, one could drive west on Hwy 88 about 3 miles west of the Hwy 47. You'll see the extensive shallow water pond that has formed on the north side of the road. There were BW/GW Teals and Shovelers here as well. This habitat could easily hold other unusual species.

It's worth noting that if you do go bird here, the next exit is about 13 more miles to the west (in DeKalb) and I think you have to pay a toll. On the other hand, you could then turn around and come back and park on Hwy 88 and get a better view of the south portion of the sod farm (where there were originally 4 Buffies present before they flew over to the north side). I do think this sod farm is one of the 2 largest in IL and this viewing access point isn't commonly known.

Jerry Shepherd on 8/26 reported via IBET: Went out to the sod farms (HE and Coon Creek) yesterday, the only things worth commenting on were a Black-bellied Plover and Baird's Sandpiper. Several peeps, a few Yellowlegs and a couple of Meadowlark, several that I didn't take the time to ID. Coon Creek had the bulk although Killdeer were plentiful at both sod farms).

Eric Walters on 8/24 reported via IBET: Took a trek after work to the sod farms northwest of Hampshire (Kane County), I figured the unusual weather and volume of rain could create habitat for unexpected species and I wasn't disappointed. I was very surprised to come across at least 16 species of shorebirds with a few other species that could easily be present (I missed Baird's). There were about 600 total shorebirds along with other unexpected birds. Some puddles were more like shallow ponds. Highlights were:

22 American Golden Plovers
7 Black-bellied Plovers
8 Stilt Sandpipers
2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers
2 Wilson's Phalaropes (seemingly a pair)
3 Common Snipe
1 Short-billed Dowitcher
12 Semipalmated Sandpipers
17 Black Terns (10 were juveniles)
40 Northern Shovelers (early migrants)
95 Blue-winged Teal
25 Green-winged Teal
3 Western Meadowlark
1 Bobolink (southbound migrant)

The best location was the Coon Creek sod farm along Allen Road east of Walker (12 species). The terns, phalaropes, Shovelers and some of the plovers, Stilts and 1 Buffy were there. The landholder drove up and talked to me. He wasn't bothered by me parking along the side of the road to bird, but indicated he didn't want any driving into the sod
farm roads. I mentioned to him that the birding community had been informed of this and I would re-emphasize it again. You would be trespassing if you did drive into the sod farm roads, so please honor his request here.

All in all, there were many strange sights. Seeing shovelers, teal , Black Terns and some of those shorebirds feeding on the sod farms was unexpected. The landholder indicated the amount of water has never been present before. The shorebirds are obviously benefiting from all the flooding and harsh weather. Many feed options this year in N. IL for their southbound migration.

Jon Duerr on 8/21 reported via IBET: IMPORTANT I met the owner of the Coon Creek sod farm today and he is upset that people have driven onto the service roads of the farm. I got the impression he is not happy with the attention his property is getting. Please stay on the right-of way and preferably in your car. Birds today were L. Yellowlegs and Killdeer. I suggest the same for Melm Rd. sod farm (different owner).

Darrell Shambaugh on 8/20 reported via IBET: The roads to Coon Creek had full ditches, and the fields had lots of standing water. Shorebirds seen in a couple fields included a Semipalmated Sandpiper, about 35 Pectoral and 15 Lesser Yellowlegs. And lots of Killdeer. I found a sod farm on Melms road in Kane County that had around 200 shorebirds and about 75 ducks. The shorebirds were the same species seen earlier. The ducks included Mallards and Blue-winged Teal.

Karen Lund on 8/18 reported via IBET: This morning there was an immature little blue heron on Route 47 about 1/2 mile north of Route 72. This was in a flooded field on the west side of the street across from the vegetable stand.

Bob Montgomery on 8/18 reported via IBET: Sods farms NW of Hampshire: Coon Creek Sod on Allen Road - 100+ Killdeer; Nissen Sod on Melms Rd (west of Walker Rd) - had over 100 shorebirds (does not include Killdeer). Flooded fields north of Melms yield the following: 3-Blackbillied Plover, good numbers of Yellowlegs and Pectorals (mostly Lesser but a couple of Greater), peeps including 1 Baird's. Birds were a long distance from road but the largest number I have ever observed there. Nissen Sod on Melms Rd (east of Walker) Killdeer and 1 Lesser Yellowlegs.

Jon Duerr on 8/17 reported via e-mail: 3 Tennessee Warblers at Blackhawk FP this AM and a Tennessee and 2 Magnolia Warblers in our yard in St. Charles.

Karen Land on 8/17 reported via IBET: Two sandhill cranes were spotted at 7:30 this morning feeding in the pumpkin patch/fluddle between Windy Acres and the cemetary on Fabyan Parkway just west of Randall Road in Batavia.

Darrell Shambaugh on 8/14 reported via IBET: There is a new soccer field/ athletic field complex north of Kaneville Road across the street from the Peck Farm park that has a pond. Shorebirds have been using this pond since July fourth. Yesterday, August 13, there were 9 Lesser Yellowlegs and a pair of Sandhill Cranes. I've checked this pond several times since the Fourth of July and found shorebird every time and Sandhill Cranes the last two times. No great numbers of shorebirds, and no rare species so far, but it is someplace worth checking. You don't have to get out of the car to see it. It is west of the intersection of Kaneville and Peck roads, north of Peck Farm, west of Geneva and Batavia.
Also, the Turkey Vultures are sitting on the Geneva Watertower again this summer. I've seen as many as 8 sitting on the watertower. I've been watching it since mid-July and they are there in the mid mornings and early evening/late afternoon. It is at East Side Drive and Route 38.

Karen Lund on 8/12 reported via IBET: Drove by Coon Creek sod farms on Allen Rd. (Kane County) this morning around 7:30. Talked briefly with another birder who had seen a black bellied plover, some lesser yellowlegs and the buff breasted sandpipers. Since I was to be in Barrington by 8, I couldn't stop to look. However, I did stop this afternoon on my way home. Found a couple buffies, but that was it.

Jerry & Yolie Shepherd on 8/12 reported via IBET: Drove out to Coon Creek and HE Sod Farms this morning. Both had the same or should I say lacked anything unusual. Lots of Kildeer, Horned Larks and Meadowlarks plus the usual robins and starlings.

Bob Fisher on 8/7 reported via IBET: Karen, Vicky Sroczynski and I made our 1st Swainson's Hawk late summer survey run on Tuesday. While out that way, we stopped at the Coon Creek Sod farm. Due to the heavy overnight rains, Coon Creek is out of its banks and is flooding some of Allen Rd and much of the sod farm.
We did get looks at distant Buff-breasted Sandpipers (more than 1 but hard to tell how many as they moved around). As Karen Lund reported, they were in the field on the north side of Allen Rd closest to the farmhouse. This was the only sod field not extensively flooded.
There's a gravel road pull off on the north side of Allen Rd which we used to park safely; the owner came out shortly after we arrived and very cordially asked that we not go any further down this gravel road and we of course complied. Leo Miller joined us as we all strained to study and ID various distant birds.
Numerous Killdeers, a lone Lesser Yellowlegs, a couple of Spotted Sandpipers, a single Solitary, some unidentifiable peeps and a few Horned Larks were in the partially flooded muddy field on the east side of the creek. There were 2 birds also present in this field which possibly were Am. Pipits (this of course would be an extremely early fall date for this species). A quick check of the Bohlen and Mlodinow references indicate this would be 2 weeks earlier than their earliest date of 8/21. I did not review past issues of the Meadowlark to see if any earlier dates have been reported.
In case you're wondering, we did not see any Swainson's Hawks as we drove various farm roads in northeastern Dekalb and northwestern Kane Counties. A few Am. Kestrels, 4-5 Red-tailed Hawks, and 10 or so Turkey Vultures were the only raptors sighted as we drove among the 8 feet tall cornfields - which made it seem as if we were driving in the bottom of a ditch.

Bob Montgomery on 8/5 reported via IBET: Sorry for the late post. Three Buff-breasted Sandpipers were found on the Coon Creek Sod farm in extreme NW Kane County. Coon Creek Sod farm is located on Allen Road just east of Walker Rd. and NW of the village of Hampshire.


This page last updated Friday March 12, 2010.

Copyright 2006 - 2015 for all content of
Kane County Audubon, 513 S. 13th Ave., St. Charles, IL 60174
Please report problems to kca webmaster