DECEMBER 2016 SIGHTINGS
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.
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.
Al Stokie on 12/27 reported
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.
Al Stokie on 12/26 reported
via IBET: Hello Bird People,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
A Whooping Crane flyover today at Judson University.
Heading south for the winter.
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
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.
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.
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