Barb Rask on 2/27 reported via e-mail: First of year, two Turkey Vultures circling overhead yesterday also still have a Redpoll (could be a Hoary??) and sweet little Carolina Wren at my feeders.

Common Redpoll - possible Hoary

Above and below, Common - possible Hoary - Redpoll photos courtesy Barb Rask

Common Redpoll - possible Hoary
Carolina Wren

Carolina Wren photo courtesy Barb Rask

Walter Lutz on 2/27 reported via e-mail: There was a White-winged Scoter on the Fox River at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin this morning.

Patricia Tomaso on 2/26 reported via e-mail: Sat we decided to drive up to Elgin area to see what we could see.

We sighted 7 eagles perching in a tree on the west side of the Fox river, just north of dam at Spring & 31.

In that same area we saw 6-8 hundred Canadian geese (with wave after wave flying in).

There were also about 60 golden eyes there too.

Christopher Cudworth on 2/25 reported via IBET: This evening over the parking lot near McDonald's and Best Buy in Geneva a killdeer was flying and singing.

This morning the resident Cooper's Hawk showed up in our sycamore tree the first time this year. They breed in trees up and down the block but use the sycamore as their calling and territory post.

That first year male Sapsucker that hung around all winter is transforming into a resplendent adult bird.

Chris Mussachio on 2/25 reported via e-mail: This lucky little Belted Kingfisher caught this fish at Buffalo Park...

Belted Kingfisher

Belted kingfisher photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Kurt Frieders on 2/25 reported via e-mail: This morning was the earliest I have ever had a Killdeer sighting on my property (in Aurora township). There were four Killdeer foraging in the grass and in the field. It's nice to see these guys so early, and hopefully there isn't enough snow tomorrow to cover up their food.


Killdeer photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Joy and Jon Duerr and Margaret Mechtenberg on 2/25 reported via phone: A White-winged Scoter along with 2 Hooded Mergansers in the river along the Tekakwitha Forest Preserve shoreline at 9:50 AM.

White-winged Scoter photo courtesy Scott Cohrs

Michele Fairall on 2/24 reported via e-mail: Spotted several [Bald Eagles] perched south of the Prairie Street bridge today in St. Charles

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Michele Fairall

Andrew Aldrich on 2/24 reported via e-mail: Did some back road birding in Kane county on Saturday and saw many flocks of Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings on the move. Just west of Big Rock there was a pair each of Greater White-fronted Geese and white morph Snow Geese mixed in a flock of 300 or so Canada Geese. At Big Rock FP, a Merlin was hunting near the entrance.


Merlin photo courtesy Andrew Aldrich

Margaret Myers on 2/24 reported via e-mail: Out hunting for eagles this afternoon and saw this juvenile on the West bank of the Fox River just North of the North Aurora dam.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Steve Myers

Walter Lutz on 2/24 reported via e-mail: Had some Pheasant tracks in the large evergreen stand in Hampshire Forest Preserve but never heard it or saw it.

Chris Mussachio on 2/23 reported via e-mail: Spotted this Red-Shouldered Hawk in Dundee while out searching for eagles. Soon after got this Immature Bald Eagle flying my way.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Robin Moseley on 2/23 reported via e-mail: Spotted 6 bald eagles, 5 with white heads, flying south along the Fox river at the Elgin train station at 6:50 am [on Friday]. Spotted the same group on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at about the same time this week at this location.

Diane Hansen on 2/23 reported via e-mail: It was Eaglepalooza this morning. I saw more eagles than I could count along the Fox near the border of Elgin and South Elgin. A beautiful sight indeed.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Mark Bowman on 2/22 reported via e-mail: After several days of not being present, the common redpoll was back at my thistle feeder. My usual 5-7 pine siskins were there also

John Heneghan on 2/21 reported via IBET: We had the first Red Winged Blackbirds at the feeders this AM, 4 males. We also had 2 male and 1 female bluebirds in the yard today. Spring is just around the corner- after this snowstorm!!

Julie Misirian on 2/21 reported via e-mail: Spotted a bald eagle at 5:15pm on 2/20/13 flying over the Fox River as I was driving home westbound on I90.

Christopher Cudworth on 2/21 reported via IBET: Probably old news to some, but this morning the calls from [Red-winged Blackbirds] were all over our neighborhood in Batavia.

Chris Mussachio on 2/19 reported via e-mail: Great day at the Carpentersville Dam today. Sandhill Cranes heading south. Red-Tailed Hawk going after a Bald Eagle in a tree. Common Goldeneye being swept away under the dam. And, a fly-by Northern Harrier.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Karen Land on 2/19 reported via IBET: Today I have been visited by redpolls and juncos! I hadn't been sure about the redpolls because they have been going to the feeder area by my back fence and I can't see them well but today they are at the feeder about 10 feet from where I am sitting.

Most unusual today is a singular starling. A week ago I had about 15 but I don't think I have ever seen just one. He has been going from the ground to the suet but for quite awhile he would hunker down on the ground while the juncos hopped about them.

Bob Andrini on 2/19 reported via e-mail: in spite of the winter weather this morning we had 8 Red-winged Blackbirds at our feeders - along with the spring calls of the Cardinals - must be spring

Kurt Frieders on 2/18 reported via e-mail: We have had daily sighting of American Kestrels on our property lately (in Aurora township). Finally this morning I found one that was willing to cooperate for a picture. Our resident Red-Tailed Hawks have been working very diligently on their nest. We are assuming that these are the same two that successfully raised two eyases last year on our property. The past two mornings have brought a first of the year Red-Winged Blackbird to our yard feeders. All of our usual yard birds have been around including our single male Red-Bellied Woodpecker (we are still trying to find him a girlfriend).

American Kestrel

American Kestrel photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Richard Prather on 2/18 reported via e-mail: Witnessed from the new bike path bridge into Island Park a immature Bald Eagle fishing just south The Herrington Inn. Caught one but lost him about 3 feet out of the water, fish looked to be about 12 inches long.

Spotted 5 eagles on 2/15 from the Government Center in Geneva to Fabyan park on about 9am. 3 mature and 2 immature.

Marion Miller on 2/17 reported via eBird: Spotting 2 Rusty Blackbirds at Batavia's Nelson Lake.

Paul Procaccio on 2/17 reported via e-mail: As I was cycling north on the Fox River Trail in Geneva, a pedestrian stopped me and pointed out a couple of Bald Eagles perched up high in a tree across the Fox River. I sped home and returned with my DSLR and photographed [them] in a tree near the Herrington Inn.

Eric Secker on 2/16 reported via IBET: My wife and I drove almost the entire Kane Co. stretch of the Fox River today, from Carpentersville down to Oswego. We tallied 560 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 63 COMMON MERGANSERS, 24 BALD EAGLES, 63 AMERICAN COOTS, 6 REDHEADS, 1 THAYER'S GULL, 9 SCAUP SP. and 1 AMERICAN BLACK DUCK.

At Carpentersville Dam we had a group of about 120 COMMON GOLDENEYE fly in right by the dam. There were also more upstream as well as at least 16 COMMON MERGANSERS. In Dundee we had one BALD EAGLE and about 30 AMERICAN COOTS. The best eagle spot was between Rt. 72 and I-90 where we saw 12 BALD EAGLES including 7 all flying over the water at once and 5 perched together in one tree (they were all distant so more may have been perched or around the bend). Over 150 ducks were also present including 130 COMMON GOLDENEYE and about 20 COMMON MERGANSERS. These were distant as well so that's a very loose and conservative estimate and other ducks may have been present. There's no great spot to view this stretch of the river.

At Judson down by the river, we had a first year THAYER'S GULL (probably the same bird that has been present this winter). I was pretty sure I had an adult Thayer's as well but it quickly hunkered down where I couldn't see it. A BUFFLEHEAD and a COMMON GOLDENEYE were also swimming close offshore. At Walton Island near the Hemmens in Elgin, we enjoyed seeing 5 AMERICAN COOTS walking around in the grass about six feet away from us. At the South Elgin Dam there were at least 9 BALD EAGLES in the trees far to the north and a group of 6 REDHEADS that flew over. I also enjoyed seeing a group of 15 AMERICAN COOTS standing a foot away from Rt. 25 along the Fox River in St. Charles.

Below is a breakdown of our highlights by location. We ended the day with a drive along the river in Oswego and dinner along the Fox River at Harner's Bakery in North Aurora where we watched the Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers fly by while we ate.

Carpentersville Dam:
Common Goldeneye - 160
Common Merganser - 16

Dundee (Carpentersville Rd. - Rt. 72):
Common Goldeneye - 40
Common Merganser - 2
American Coot - 28
Bald Eagle - 1

Dundee (Rt. 72 - I-90):
Bald Eagle - 12
Common Goldeneye - 130
Common Merganser - 20

Judson University:
Thayer's Gull (1st year) (looked like the same bird that's been in Dundee this winter)
Common Goldeneye

Slade Ave. Treatment Plant:
Common Merganser
Common Goldeneye

Slade Ave. to Gail Borden Library:
Scaup sp. - 3
Common Goldeneye - 10
American Coot
Common Merganser - 2

Gail Borden to Casino:
American Coot - 19
Common Goldeneye - 4

South Elgin Damn:
Bald Eagle - 9 (far to north)
Redhead - 6
Common Goldeneye - 60

Tekakwitha Woods area:
Bald Eagle
Common Merganser - 6
Common Goldeneye - 10

St. Charles to Geneva (Rt. 25):
Common Goldeneye - 45
American Coot - 15 (standing by the road in St. Charles by the river)

Fabyan F.P.:
Common Merganser - 3
Common Goldeneye - 20

Batavia Riverwalk:
Common Merganser - 5
Common Goldeneye - 40
American Black Duck

Glenwood F.P. area:
Common Merganser - 8
Common Goldeneye - 3

North Aurora:
Common Goldeneye - 20

Marion Miller on 2/16 reported via IBET: Two Ross's Geese were with a group of Canada Geese on the Hughes Creek Golf Club property located across from the corner of Pouley Rd and Hughes Rd at 1:30pm today. Thanks Brendon for the find!

John Janunas on 2/16 reported via e-mail: A Brown Creeper creeping along the bike trail in Batavia.

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper photo courtesy John Janunas

Diane Hansen on 2/16 reported via e-mail: Every morning after Jazzercise this week I went to the Fox River for a while. My favorites from this week are the eagle I saw in South Elgin Wednesday morning south of the dam and bridge and the coots and ducks grabbing some bread on the bank near Hemmens Auditorium.

Bald Eagle

Bald eagle photo courtesy Diane Hansen

American Coot

American Coot photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Brendon Lake on 2/15 reported via IBET: Hey all, I found two Ross's Geese with a group of Canada Geese at the Hughes Creek Golf Club on Hughes Road in Elburn at about 3:20pm, they were still present in the corn field to the east an hour later.

Mark Neville on 2/15 reported via e-mail: On a bike ride home on 2/14 a blue bird flew across Weber Dr. in St. Charles Township. A group of 8 coots were on the east shore of the Fox River about 200 yards north of the Illinois Ave. bridge.

Kathy McGinley on 2/14 reported via e-mail: I saw a bald eagle on Tuesday morning, February 12, 2013, around 8:05 a.m. during my morning walk. I had been walking north on Dunham from North Avenue and then walked west on Squire Lane, just south of Country Club Road. (This area is between the Royal Fox Country Club and St. Charles Country Club.) I was on Squire Lane when I saw the bald eagle. It was flying right above the tree tops! This was my first bald eagle sighting in the wild! Amazing!

Kathy Foulkes on 2/14 reported via e-mail: On Thursday, February 14, 2013 at around 2:00 p.m. Mike and Kathy Foulkes saw a bald eagle perched in a tree at the entrance to Batavia Quarry. The majestic bird spread its wings and swooped along the banks of the Fox River. Accompanying the eagle in its flight we could hear the robins singing and a beautiful very colorful pair of cardinals chirping. We were very excited to see these birds!!!

Barb Rask on 2/13 reported via e-mail: We had a couple of surprise visitors today. A male and female Red Crossbill snacking on sunflower seeds.

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill photos courtesy Barb Rask

Red Crossbill

Marion Miller on 2/12 reported via e-mail: We have had 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches at our feeders since October. This is the first year they have stayed throughout the winter.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Marion Miller

Kurt Frieders on 2/11 reported via e-mail: The snow brought us a group of Horned Larks to our yard (in Aurora township). There about 14 in the group and they were seen as recently as today. We also have a group of 8 American Tree Sparrows visiting our feeders. Other birds hitting our feeders on a daily basis are Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, Cardinals, Pine Siskins, and our lone male Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

Horned Larks

Horned Larks photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Julie Long on 2/10 reported via IBET: Yesterday was the first time this winter that 2 common redpolls appeared at my feeders [in St. Charles]. I have consistently had pine siskens, red breasted nuthatches, carolina wren, fox sparrow and the usual feeder birds. The numbers of goldfinches have increased this week from about 6 to 20 average. Perhaps the birds are on the move.

Marion Miller on 2/10 reported via e-mail: Rich and I drove Seavey Rd around 12:30p from Bliss Rd to Nelson Lake Rd. Highlights were: 8 Snow Buntings on the roadside, Horned Larks, American Tree Sparrows, 21 American Robins at the top of one tree and a Ring-necked Pheasant walking in the corn field. The rainy and cloudy weather prevented clear photography but it was a first time Pheasant photo capture.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant photo courtesy Rich Miller

Tim Balassie on 2/10 reported via IBET: Wanted to mention a Goldeneye I observed on Friday at the Carpentersville Dam park (Lincoln St/Ave) in Kane Co.

I was scanning the Goldeneyes for Barrow's when I spotted an extensively black backed bird. The bird retained the lined wing pattern of Common, but I kept coming back to it as the black on it's back was obviously more extensive than that of the near-by Commons.

I was able to get scope views of head shape and, although the cheek patch did not resemble Barrow's, the head shape certainly did. The skull line from beak base to head top was vertical, rather than curved.

Seems to be a candidate for Barrow's X Common hybrid. Visitors there may want to keep an eye out.

Darrell Shambaugh on 2/9 reported via IBET: Friday after work I checked a few places on the way home.

Glenwood Park, Batavia, Kane County
2 Great Blue Heron
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
1 immature Bald Eagle
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Brown Creeper

Red Oak Nature Center, between North Aurora and Batavia
1200 Canada Geese
2 Common Goldeneye
3 Common Merganser
2 American Coot
1 American Goldfinch
1 Brown Creeper
1 Belted Kingfisher
5 White-breasted Nuthatch
5 Black-capped Chickadee
4 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hariy Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker

Laura Werner on 2/9 reported via IBET: I don't know if this is common knowledge already or not, but today I confirmed a Barred Owl nest at Big Rock Forest Preserve in Kane County. Adult was on the nest (staring right at me!)...

Karen Land on 2/9 reported via IBET: I maintain several feeders [in Batavia]. I have 2 sunflower oiler feeders, a peanut suet cone and a regular suet. I just get the normal birds, juncos, nuthatches, woodpeckers, cardinals, finches but suddenly I got an attack from about 15 starlings! They went for the peanut and the suet cake. I never get starlings! They have left and come back 3 times now. Just a surprise to me!

Bob Andrini on 2/8 reported via e-mail: At the end of our country roads ramble today, we found this Tundra Swan in the field next to the parking lot at Hickory Knolls. We also had Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings. They were discovered on roads in the western part of the county.

Tundra Swan


Chris Mussachio on 2/7 reported via e-mail: Spotted these 6 Mute Swans at the Carpentersville Dam today through the rain and fog.

Mute Swans

Mute Swans photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Barbara Bernard on 2/6 reported via e-mail: 2 adults 1 juvenile Bald Eagles at Boy Scout Island 7am 2/6

Mark Bowman on 2/6 reported via e-mail: Got home from taking pics of the varied thrush in Evanston and there was a COMMON REDPOLL on my thistle feeder. Keep your eyes open !!

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Diane Hansen on 2/4 reported via e-mail: I decided to walk the 3 miles from the dentist on the east side of Elgin to home on the west side. Of course as I approached and followed the river I saw 8 eagles without a camera. At the Elgin dam I saw gulls catching fish still cursing my luck of no camera. At Walton Island I watched a bird I later looked up to learn was a common loon. It didn't seem to be going anywhere so I called home for a camera!

Common Loon

Common Loon photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Sean Fitzgerald on 2/4 reported via e-Bird: Spotting 2 Thayer's Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Geneva dam on Monday morning. Other birds of note included 10 Redheads, 45 Common Goldeneyes, and 2 Bald Eagles.

Marion Miller on 2/4 reported via e-mail: Saw 6 Eagles (5 Adults, 1 Immature) sitting in the same tree at the entrance to Quarry Park this morning.

John Janunas on 2/3 reported via e-mail: I think this guy was telling the others a fish story about the one that got away south of the Batavia quarry.

Domestic Goose

A Snow Goose impersonator (a domestic goose) and Canada geese photo courtesy John Janunas

Andrew Aldrich on 2/3 reported via IBET: Hi, everyone. I was all over the place this weekend and managed to get some good birding in. Just wanted to share a few highlights.

Saturday, 2/2

I started at Big Rock Forest Preserve in Kane county, despite the snow & wind. The road to the west parking lot is closed for the season, but I walked back to the quarry pond to find a sizable flock of geese. Mixed in were a dozen CACKLING GEESE, 2 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 6 GREATER SCAUP, 3 AMERICAN COOTS, and 2 COMMON GOLDENEYE. There were 2 more distant Scaup that were probably Lesser but couldn't call it without a scope. A flock of about 40 LAPLAND LONGPSURS flew over with a few trailing SNOW BUNTINGS. Sparrows of note were 3 FOX, 3 WHITE-THROATED, and 2 SWAMP. A pair of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were hunkered down, and I flushed a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS...

I ended at Sauer Prairie in Kane where again I was hoping to find a Short-eared Owl but all I had was a pair of NORTHERN HARRIERS...

David Philips on 2/3 reported via IBET: There were 3 Fox Sparrows near the first driveway on Seavey Rd. after turning off of Nelson Lake Rd. around 1PM. They were with a few dozen American Tree Sparrows. Luckily there was a break in westbound traffic for a few minutes.

After crossing Bliss, there were 40+ American Tree Sparrows at the house near the corner and about the same amount of Horned Larks a bit further down. I took Seavey to Route 47, but didn't see anything else of interest.

Brendon Lake on 2/3 reported via IBET: Hey all, the Carpentersville Dam didn't have much but at the end of the walking path there was a group of Common Goldeneyes with one Bufflehead drake mixed in. The Dundee area just south of there had one American Coot. South Elgin Dam was rocking today with Scaup (greater and lesser are both possibilities) and a female Canvasback.

Chris Madsen on 2/2 reported: We figured last night's snow would help drive some "snow birds" toward the roadways. We were partly rewarded with this one Lapland Longspur found among about 30 Horned Larks on Seavey Road west of Bliss late this afternoon.

Lapland Longspur

Lapland Longspur photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Richard Wilson on 2/2 reported via e-mail: At Freeman Kame, many Red wing blackbirds today at 1:30.They were staying low along the edge of the wooded Kame. Very early sighting in this part of the county for me.

Brendon Lake on 2/2 reported via IBET: Today there hasn't been much traveling, but I have been keeping a lookout for Common Redpolls at my feeder [in Burlington], which have disappeared since the warm-up. There have been many American Tree Sparrows, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, House Sparrows, and a few Black-Capped Chickadees. Today at about 1:17, I found the first Common Redpoll I have seen in a week, feeding on the thistle seed feeder, and then three minutes later had a large raptor flying over the back yard. I was able to put my binoculars on it and see that it was an adult Bald Eagle, the second I have seen fly over or through my backyard in the past three years. It surprised me, since the nearest river system is 30 minutes away!

Jon Duerr on 2/2 reported via e-mail: Stopped above S Elgin dam and found Lesser Black-backed Gull with the Herrings and a few Ring-billed Gulls Saturday morning.

Diane Hansen on 2/1 reported via e-mail: Braved the cold this morning and saw some eagles south of the South Elgin dam and bridge. One wanted to do some fishing but the gull in pursuit had other ideas. The other flew over for a while then left.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photos courtesy Diane Hansen

Bald Eagle

This page last updated Monday April 08, 2013.

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