December 2007 Sightings


Eric Secker on 12/29 reported via IBET: These sightings are from about a week ago, but I thought they would still be of interest. I went out with John Thomton on Christmas eve while he was visiting from Florida and we birded the roads out in Kane Co.
Along Swan Rd. (south of Main St. and east of County Line Rd.) we had a BREWER'S BLACKBIRD at the farm along the road where it curves east-west for awhile. We had a number of flocks of SNOW BUNTINGS but they were very "flitty". We also had a number of HORNED LARKS and a couple small flocks of LAPLAND LONGSPURS. Most of these birds were along Main St. / McGirr Rd. and some of the gravel roads just to the north.
We also had a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flying around the prairie at Hannaford Woods along Merrill Road (east of Route 47 just north of Waubonsee College)

Rhonda Nelson on 12/27 reported via phone: Two mature Bald Eagles at the south dam in Batavia.

Darrell Shambaugh on 12/20 reported via IBET: Since it snowed a couple weeks ago I've seen some good birds on my commute (between Somonauk and St. Charles). I leave home about noon and have to arrive at work by 2:00. This leaves me an hour or so to to bird on the way. I've been seeing SNOW BUNTINGS almost every day.  In Kane County I've seen them along Main Street from Swan Road west to the DeKalb County Line. Main street is the east west road that crosses Randall Road at the south edge of the strip malls in Batavia/Geneva/St. Charles.
The number of Snow Buntings I see ranges from 5 or 6 to over 100. I've seen good numbers of HORNED LARKS in the same area, up to about 85 on some days. I've seen very few LAPLAND LONGSPURS. Most winters there are a long more longspurs than Snow Buntings, but not this winter.
There are also usually a lot of raptors along this route. I see at least one COOPER'S HAWK almost every day, and multiple AMERICAN KESTRELS and RED-TAILED HAWKS. I've seen NORTHERN HARRIERS twice. Tuesday I changed my route, going to Big Rock on Route 30 and north on Swan Road to Main Street. On Swan Road I found two ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, along with 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS. One of the Rough-leggeds was a dark morph bird. Wednesday a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was in a little tree north of Main Street between Swan Road and Kaneville. It was a dark-morphed bird, and was likely the same one I saw Tuesday.

Jack Pomatto on 12/18 reported via e-mail: Today, 12/18/07 a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk (what I consider the most beautiful North American raptor) was seen at Fox River Bluff East F.P. in the Valley View area of unincorporated St. Charles, at 12:30 P.M. The bird flew up from the ground and soared, and eventually headed south toward St. Charles proper. The eastern population of this hawk has somewhere between 10% and 20% of its total in this dark phase. This bird may not be rare, but for me a truly special sighting that I only see on an irregular basis.

Bill Koch on 12/17 reported via e-mail: I stopped by Burnidge FP today and while driving on my way out a Northern Shrike was sitting on top of a tree right across the road from the frozen front pond. He let me observe him for about 10 minutes. Finally flew away to the field to the north when a car came from the opposite direction.
Finally spotted one of these birds. I have been looking for the Shrike that Karen Lund has been posting on IBET out by the Hampshire FP and thought I would just run in to Burnidge for a quick look. Success! In the short time there I also saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Tadas (no last name given) on 12/16 reported via IBET: Yesterday morning Vernon LaVia, his 9 yr old daughter Veronica & I were drawn to a singing Purple Finch @ Oakhurst F.P. Minutes later a group of them came together revealing 6 females & the 1 male. Check suitable habitats in the SE portion of the F.P. Merry Christmas and Good Birding,

Alexandra Schroeder on 12/14 reported via e-mail: I can’t remember the date, but it was sometime in September. I was riding north on the bike path when I stopped to view the “cave” along the Fox River in, I believe, North Aurora. While stopped, I looked up at a large bird that was flying overhead.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a bald eagle.  I didn’t think we had bald eagles in this area.  It made my day.

Darrell Shambaugh on 12/14 reported via IBET: Today, at the Kane County line, where McGirr becomes Main Street, there was a flock of ~200 SNOW BUNTINGS. No other species were in this flock, something I can't remember seeing before. I've switched back to working second shift, and I can do a little birding on the way to work again. Since it snowed last week I've been seeing Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks, and Snow Buntings almost every day. I usually take Governor Beverage Road north from Somonauk all the way to McGirr Road. I take McGirr Road east to the Kane County line, where McGirr becomes Main Street, and then take Main to the Tri-cities. This is an excellent route for the above-mentioned species.

Karen Lund on 12/13 reported via IBET: There was a northern shrike near Hampshire F.P. this morning. This time it was perched in an area about 1/2 block to the east of the entrance along Allen Rd.

Christopher Cudworth on 12/7 reported via IBET: I neglected to post an observation from two days ago related to SHOVELERS at Peck Farm Park lake in Geneva. There was a mixed group of male and female ducks circling tightly in the stretch of water on the south side of Peck Lake. They appeared to be feeding by stirring up nutrients. The circe they were swimming in couldn't have been more than 3 feet across. Rather resembled the techniques of pelicans, only shovelers don't eat fish.
I'll be by that lake later today and will be interested to see if those birds are still there. No other duck species, not even mallards on the lake. But there were approximately 500 Canada Geese perched on the rim of ice which runs transversely SW to NE on Peck Lake. Peck Lake is on mile west of Randall Road on Fabyan Parkway on the border of Batavia and Geneva.  

Karen Lund on 12/6 reported via IBET: For those of you keeping tally of this year's sightings, this morning there was an adult northern shrike perched near the entrance of Hampshire Forest Preserve on Allen Rd. in Hampshire. A little farther west on Allen Rd. by the grainary there were 2 eurasian collared doves perched on telephone wires.

Christopher Cudworth reported on 12/5 via IBET: 5 minutes after John moved past on the trail I was finishing up some pictures of both male and female downy woodpeckers when the Northern Shrike appeared again, hunting from the deadstick trees 100 yards out from the northernmost part of the trail that runs "east/west" at Nelson Lake. Very striking, cleanly plumaged bird. But too far out at twilight to get good pics. If it clears and isn't too cold this afternoon I'm planning to try to get photos of the shrike.

Bob Andrini reported on 12/4 via e-mail: A Trumpeter Swan has been sighted at Carson Slough (Denny Road Marsh). This bird has been there for a few days and may be weak/sick. (You can get to the marsh by going south on Bliss road, and after you cross over the expressway, turn left on Denny Road - follow the road to the marsh.

John Heneghan on 12/4 reported via IBET: Thanks to Julie Young for her post about the Northern Shrike, I stopped at Nelson Lake/Dick Young nature Preserve in Batavia. The Shrike was sitting in the top of a tree on the North Side of the lake. I returned later and saw Chris Cudworth who had seen it earlier also and was back to try to get some pictures. Did not see it on the 2nd trip.
On a side note, I met Dick Young, whom the Preserve is named for. He has authored a wonderful book, Kane County Wild Plants and Natural Areas, the latest update of his book should be available soon!!. He also is partly responsible for the Cleanup of the Fox River. He has spent a good part of his life working towards making sure there are places such as Nelson Lake for us to bird and enjoy and is certainly an inspiration for us all!!

Karen Land on 12/3 reported via IBET: Friday night at about 5:30 pm, I could hear a single Great Horned Owl somewhere close and just to the west of my house (in Batavia). This morning at about 6:20 am, I could hear two Great Horned Owls calling back and forth, again close by but to the east of my house. We have heard owls every year for the past 10 that we have lived in this neighborhood and have seen them a few times as well.

John Ball on 12/2 reported via IBET: The two whooping cranes were still present at 4:30 this (Sunday) afternoon at the Sauer Family FP near Sugar Grove. They were at the back pond (farthest from Lasher Road) in the wetlands reclamation area.

Julie Long on 12/1 reported via IBET: The Kane county Audubon group found the Northern shrike today at Dick Young (Nelson Lake) forest preserve in Batavia. It was on the far north end of the lake area. It has also been spotted on the far south end of the lake recently.

Jon Duerr on 12/1 reported via IBET: Two Whooping Cranes are at the Sauer Family For. Pres. Sugar Grove Twp Kane Co. (DeLorne page 27 B-6-7) This is the intersection of Harter Rd and Lasher Rd. This is treeless country and the Cranes were seen from Lasher Rd at 8:30 AM Saturday. They have been were four days but I only learned of them last night. At least one of them is banded. NOTE Best viewing is a crossed a mowed portion of the preserve approx 1/3 mile west of intersection. NOTE 2 DeLorne map shows Sauer F P north of Lasher but in fact it is south of Lasher. CAUTION Whereas Lasher Rd is a lightly traveled road, the shoulders are poor to nonexistent, however, there are pulloffs into the property. Also, this is farming country where owners are suspicious of strange cars.

Jon Duerr on 12/1 reported via phone: Two Whooping Cranes were reported at Sauer Prairie Kame Forest Preserve on Harter Road just north and west of the Waubonsee College campus in Sugar Grove. Click here for a map.


This page last updated Thursday January 24, 2008.

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