FEBRUARY 2009 Sightings

John Duerr on 2/28 reported via e-mail: Saturday afternoon I stopped at Elburn F P. The Wh-wing Crossbill flock was picking thru the Alder tree cones next to the FP drive. They were also on the ground picking over the fallen cones. At one point the birds flew within 10 feet of me! There was a small flock of C. Redpolls on the west end of the Alders. Also, 2 flocks of Sandhill Cranes, one with 10 and 4 in the other, flew low over the preserve.

Walter Lutz on 2/28 reported via e-mail: Friday middday @ Nelson Lake: Beautiful Northern Harrier at the west side of the site. Small flock of Pine Siskin at the east side near the road and just minutes later a nice, big Great Horned Owl.

Gloria Dimoplon on 2/27 reported via e-mail: A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen along the bike path this morning between the railroad bridge and JJDuerr FP. Two Bald Eagles were seen just south of SEBA. Above the dam in South Elgin we located a Redhead, a Hooded Merganser, a Common Merganser and a pair of Lesser Scaup. We did not see the Greater White-fronted Geese were reported earlier in the week.

Ann Holt-Harris on 2/26 reported via IBET: There was a flock of nearly 100 cedar wax wings in the trees on the corner of 7th and James St in Geneva at 10:00 this morning + one robin!

Claire Dassy on 2/25 reported via IBET: For the past few weeks there have been good numbers of Goldeneyes and Mergansers in the little bend of the Fox River that is my "front yard", but today I had the surprise of two Bufflehead and a lone male Redhead duck. A snapshot of the Redhead: http://www.flickr.com/photos/quietnature/?saved=1

Debbie Wisser on 2/25 reported via e-mail: I birded along the Fox River in South Elgin today. I started above the dam and was able to find eight Greater White Fronted Geese (life birds for me) among the hundreds of Canada Geese. The Canada Geese were fun to watch as they were seemingly enjoying the warm sunshine by rolling side to side and upside down and even diving all the way under the water to bathe. Ducks in this area were Mallards, Common Goldeneye, two Northern Shoveler, and a Redhead. I also saw a Great Blue Heron on the shoreline. At SEBA a Bald Eagle soared overhead. Down stream there were three pair of Common Mergansers. Closer to JJ Duerr was a flock of thirty or more Cedar Waxwings filled the air with their high pitched buzz. Four Red Wing Blackbirds were also in this area--it really sounded like spring!

Eastern Bluebird photo courtesy Gerda Boone

Gerda Boone on 2/24 reported to Bob Andrini via e-mail: Picture taken during the snow storm Saturday, February 21 [in Campton Hills]. We have never seen bluebirds in our area before. They were sighted again Sunday but haven't seen them since.

Chris Madsen on 2/23 reported: Carla and I scouted the river yesterday looking for Barrow's Goldeneye and White-fronted Geese that had been previously reported. We struck out on both of those but did have an adult BALD EAGLE fly over the dam in South Elgin and a first-of-year (for us) WHITE-THROATED SPARROW near Quarry Park in Batavia. The highlight of the day, however, was spotted at Jon Duerr FP - against a backdrop of slushy ice flowing down the river we saw an EASTERN BLUEBIRD at the parking lot along the shore. Since none were reported in the county for Christmas Bird Count and only one for the Great Backyard Bird Count, perhaps a harbinger of Spring?

Eric Secker on 2/23 reported via IBET: Also, for what it's worth, I've seen a BALD EAGLE flying over twice this week while driving across the Fox River on I-90 in Kane County. I also had three GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE at Potawatomi Park in Kane Co. on the same day that a larger group was seen up at SEBA Park in South Elgin.

Dan Williams on 2/20 reported via IBET: Around 4:00 p.m. today, I found 51 White-fronted Geese above the dam in South Elgin. They were mixed in with hundreds of Canada Geese.

Demetri Lafkas on 2/20 reported via IBET: After checking Elgin and various spots along the Fox all the way south to Geneva I could not find a Barrow's. I did however find at least three Greater White-fronted [Geese] among all the Geese above the dam in South Elgin and three more at Pottawatomie. Another highlight was seeing an adult Bald Eagle debating on whether or not he was feeling lucky this afternoon as I watched him soar back and forth above the Grand Victoria. Finally just south of Island Park in Geneva there were 6 more Greater White-fronted Geese and two more adult Bald Eagles. This is also where there was the greatest concentration of Goldeneyes but still no Barrow's.

Tim Balassie on 2/20 reported via IBET: I birded the Fox yesterday (2/19) from S.E.B.A. Park in South Elgin south to the pools below the RR trestle looking for a Barrow's. Last week I encountered a large raft of Goldeneye, and thought I saw a suspicious male, but couldn't determine without a scope.

Did not see a male Barrow's (although I did catch a swan species in formation with Canada geese). Admittedly some of the females present looked interesting, but nothing determinative.

Michael Retter on 2/19 reported via IBET: For what it's worth, I got the following report via eBird today:

"[BARROW'S GOLDENEYE observed 18 Feb] on Fox River [in Elgin, Kane Co]. Frequently diving. Under water for 20 -30 seconds. Continued down river until I could no longer follow. Clearly noted was the crescent shaped white patch on face."

That is all the information I have at this time. Just wanted to put it out there for the locals.

Mark Bowman on 2/19 reported via e-mail: stopped briefly at campton [park in St. Charles]  today and on the iced pond by the soccer fields were tons of canadian geese and probably 3-4 greater white fronted geese that I could pick out in the frigid cold. To hard to get pics

Tim Balassie on 2/17 reported via IBET: Given the interest in Greater White Fronted Geese thought I would mention the drainage pond near the corner of Peck Rd and Rt 38 - in the Campton Park area. Yesterday at about 4pm the pond was holding perhaps 500 Canadas of various sizes, as well as a nice display of the aforementioned geese, probably 20 to 25 individuals, or more.

Heather Secker on 2/16 reported via IBET: Highlights at Les Arends Forest Preserve in Kane County today included:

60 Common Goldeneye (including many males displaying to females)
1 Hooded Merganser
3 Common Merganser
1 Snow Goose (dark phase), which was on one of the islands in the river along with a large flock of Canada Geese.

White-winged Crossbill photo courtesy Bob Andrini.

Bob Andrini on 2/16 reported via e-mail: On today's ramble we went to Elburn Forest P. and found C. Redpolls, Pine Siskins, DE Juncos, but no Townsends Solitaire that had been reported. We also had a single flyover Greater White-fronted Goose. We then headed to see if we could find the reported White-winged Crossbills at Sunset Park in Geneva and to our delight two males appeared in the trees just as we entered the parking lot - the suggestion to go there was Jon Duerr's. All together we saw 17 different species.

"Tadas" on 2/16 reported via IBET: Drove past a smattering of RWBlackbirds near mm 102 on I-88 this morning (b/n Aurora & DeKalb). All perched treetop along roadside doing there "Here I am " thing.

Pete Moxon on 2/15 reported via phone: On Saturday evening at Nelson Lake, a fly-over flock of blackbirds included Red-winged, Rusty, Cowbirds, and Grackles. On Sunday at Big Rock Forest Preserve, there were White-fronted Geese traveling with a fly-over flock of Canada Geese. And east of the preserve near the intersection of Jehrico and Ashe was a group of Snow Geese feeding in the stubble of a corn field.

Doug Stotz on 2/15 reported via IBET: I went out to Elburn Forest Preserve this AM (Sunday, 15 February). At just after 9 AM, I found a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE in the residential area, immediately west of the reserve. I first saw it in flight while driving out of the preserve. I lost it behind vegetation, but it reappeared about 5 minutes later for about 3 minutes perched on top of a large oak. It flew down and seemed to disappear into the residential area to the west. I unsuccessfully searched that area for the bird for a bit. The preserve is a bit less than a mile west of the intersection of St. Rte 47 and St. Rte 38. It is on the south side of 38. From the north entrance the bird was west and a little north of a small parking area on the east side of the road before you get to the picnic shelter. I have to say it is not obvious to me that there is any food supply that might hold this bird in the area for any significant period. I did not see any other frugivorous birds, and didn't notice any fruiting plants, but I suppose there could be ornamentals in the residential area and probably buckthorn and honeysuckle in the preserve. I went to Elburn in search of redpolls. I found a group numbering 56 COMMON REDPOLLS in the alders in the SW corner of the preserve. Didn't see any Hoary candidates. 2 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS flew over by the picnic shelter. I also saw an adult SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and a total of 17 PINE SISKINS.

Karen Land on 2/13 reported via IBET: Saw my first red winged blackbirds this morning in the corn stubble at the southwest corner of Randall Rd. and Sullivan Road on the north edge of Aurora this morning. Backyard birds in the last few days have been brown creeper and red bellied woodpecker amongst the usual. As a side note, I was woken by the very strong smell of a skunk at 4:30 this morning.

Jon Duerr on 2/12 reported via e-mail: Approximately 6 White-wing Crossbills were in the Blue Spruce lining the drive into Sunset Park Recreation Center-Geneva at 10:30 AM Thursday.

Also, at least 7 Brown Creepers were found from Arends F.P. north along the bike path Thursday AM. None were seen Monday.

Bill Reddinger on 2/11 reported via e-mail: I'm a non-member of Kane County Audubon, but I have met a few Kane County Audubon birders from time to time.

I wanted to report a few things I saw at Nelson Lake on 2/10.

I walked the loop around Nelson Lake during the afternoon. My best birds were a Northern Shrike (it was noisy; I had never heard a northern calling before), a Northern Harrier, and a few White-Fronted Geese.

The Shrike was perched on a tree on the northern portion of the marsh.

Darrell Shambaugh on 2/9 reported via IBET: The only good thing about going to work at 2:00 AM is getting off at 10:30 AM. I birded my way home, finding several first of the year birds, and seeing other signs of spring. First I stopped at St. Charles' Riverfront Park (Kane County) and saw my FOY BUFFLEHEAD and AMERICAN COOT. A BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE and a NORTHERN CARDINAL were singing.

The road into Big Rock Forest Preserve was still closed, so all I did was drive through the parking lot. Two RED-TAILED HAWKS were flying over, heading south.

Red-tailed Hawk with Cooper's Hawk kill photo courtesy Judy Miller

Judy Miller on 2/9 reported via e-mail: Was quite a surprise to see that the Red-tail hawk was busy having a meal of a recent kill of a Coopers hawk [in our front yard right next to Peck Farm].

Heather Secker on 2/9 reported via IBET: I took advantage of the February thaw (and warmer temperatures!) this weekend to look for waterfowl along the Fox river in Kane County between North Aurora and Wayne. Highlights included:

12 Common Goldeneye
21 Common Merganser
2 Bufflehead
7 Redhead

Scott Cohrs on 2/8 repoorted via IBET: There was still a flock of approximately 20 Snow Buntings on Seavy Road in Kane County. Even though the snow has mostly melted, they were present on the shoulder of the road near the entrance to Black Sheep Golf Course.

Also, the Common Redpoll flock is still at Elburn FP and seems to have grown to close to 100 birds. The last report of the Hoary from Elburn is from this past Thursday, 2/5.

Julie Long on 2/7 reported via IBET: Sorry to have posted the street name in ST Charles incorrectly. The birds were on Babson Le, just west of Leroy Oakes, not Bittersweet which is the street just east of Leroy Oakes. My friend who did drive down Bittersweet did not see crossbills, but there are large evergreens there also, she said.

Julie Long on 2/6 reported via IBET: I spotted three ww crossbills this afternoon sitting at the top of an evergreen on Bittersweet Le in ST Charles. There may have been more, but my husband, the driver did not want me to take the time to get out to look. They were on the Leroy Oakes side of the street (east). There are several trees on the street with many small pine cones under them. which is what led me to look there again today. Bittersweet is just west of Leroy Oakes, north side of Dean ST.

Mark Bowman on 2/6 reported via e-mail: Went to get the paper this AM before I took my daughter to school and 6 WW crossbills flew over my head and into the spruce 2 doors down [in St. Charles], could not get a picture because she was late for school [as usual]. First its the woodpecker and now its the kids!!

David Johnson on 2/5 reported via IBET: Today, observed 4 WW Crossbills in Geneva, W of the courthouse and S of Rte 38 along South 7th St. on the W side of the road between Fulton and Franklin St, about 4 blocks from where A. Sigler and M. Madsen had them a day before at Meade Ct and South Ave. All birds were feeding on Colorado Blue Spruce cones along with several siskin in the same tree. Then they moused right into the spruce and disappeared! There was a long line of spruces on 7th St. on the W side.

Mike Madsen on 2/4 reported via IBET: Andy Sigler and I located several WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in Sunset Park in Geneva this morning. There was a parking area at South St. and Mead Ct. where we were able to observe the birds. Scott Cohrs had suggested this part of town as being as good place to look based on a sighting he had a few days ago.

Christopher Cudworth on 2/4 reported via IBET: A group of 10 wwcrossbills was feeding lazily in the white pines out front of our house [in Batavia] this morning. There are pine cones all over our driveway as a result of their efforts.

Bill Koch on 2/4 reported via e-mail: On 2-2 around noon I was driving through Downtown Elgin and viewed a juvenile Bald Eagle soaring way above the Riverboat. Continued to South Elgin and stopped at the dam. Immediately saw two Bald Eagles (one full adult and one 2nd year Juvenile) soaring in circles high above the dam. One Minute later another juvenile Eagle came from the North to join them. Possibly the same bird I saw over the Riverboat. Pretty impressive seeing three eagles at once soaring over South Elgin.

Mark Bowman on 2/3 reported via e-mail: 2 common redpolls were at my thistle feeder this morning. went to get a picture and that goofy downey woodpecker came down to the suet feeder and scared them away

Cooper's Hawk photo courtesy Sandra Olsen

Sandra Olsen on 2/2 reported via e-mail: My husband and I walked the Fox River Trail in Batavia this weekend looking for the Bald Eagles we heard of. We had just about given up and were heading back to the car when I saw one land in a tree south of the Wilson Street Bridge. It didn't stay very long and I just got my binoculars up before it took off! Also saw a great horned owl perched on top of the Kane County Courthouse on January 24th. Any sign of Mama owl on the nest yet? I have been checking for a couple of weeks and nothing so far.

Also this [Cooper's Hawk] beauty has been visiting my back yard in Geneva (in the middle of a Mill Creek Subdivision!) regularly this winter. I don't think he's the same one that visited last year but they come to my yard regularly!

Karen Land on 2/1 reported via IBET: Our local newspaper has carried several reports of 2 adult bald eagles seen along the Fox River in Batavia plus my one neighbor hikes the Fox River Trail and has seen them frequently from the trail during the last few weeks. We tried to find them last weekend without much luck. This morning about 9 am we spotted them both in a tree on the east side of the Fox across from Batavia's Sewage Plant on the road that ends in Hall Quarry Pool. The water is open for a long stretch from the Batavia Dam to about where the VFW is on Rte. 25. A large number of waterfowl where in the same area as the eagles but were hard to see though the underbrush between the trail and the River. The eagles perched in the tree for quite a long time but then flew off west towards the back of the cemetery on Rte. 31 where we lost sight of them. We returned about noon and did not see them again.

Mark Bowman on 2/1 reported via IBET: I live in St Charles and had 5 common redpolls and 1-2 hoary redpolls at my thistle feeder, the most I have had this year


This page last updated Tuesday March 31, 2009.

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