Karen Lund on 1/29 reported via IBET: On my drive into work this morning I viewed 1400+ lapland longspurs in 9 flocks (and 1 still warm road kill specimen). Some birds still displayed a little breeding plumage. Oddly there were relatively few horned larks, approx. 200, and no snow buntings. Starting from the intersection of Rte. 23 & Derbyline Rd. in Genoa (DeKalb County) east to New Lebanon Rd., north on New Lebanon (crossing Rte. 72) to Allen Rd. and east to the Coon Creek Sod Farms on the west side of Hampshire (Kane County). This is roughly 9 miles total.

Pam Otto on 1/27 reported via e-mail: that a visitor to Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia spotted two male canvasback ducks swimming in the river by the Red Oak deck. This was a site record for Red Oak; none have been recorded here in 20+ years of phenology-keeping!

John Janunas on 1/26 lends photographic support to occasional reports of sightings of a Bald Eagle along the Fox River this winter season. The first photo caught an eagle gliding past the Geneva train trestle late in October. The second photo, taken this week,  found an (the same?) eagle at rest at Les Arends Forest Preserve.

The (R)Andrini Ramblers© on 1/25: roamed the rural roads of Kane County on a slow birding day to collect White-crowned Sparrows, American Kestrels, and Horned Larks among the notables.

John Heneghan on 1/24 reported via IBET: Surprisingly, I saw a Great Blue Heron on the Fox River in Batavia today just north of the police station. Don't recall seeing one at this time of year when it was this cold.

Christopher Cudworth on 1/23 reported via IBET: It took a while given this relatively warm winter we've had to this point, but it is worth noting that numbers of Common Goldeneye finally queued up below the dam in St. Charles. A reliable stretch of water to find these birds is the water between the Illinois Street Bridge in St. Charles and wherever the ice freezes over to the south, usually at the water treatment facility 1/4 mile down.
You can view the birds well from either side of the river (west: Mt. St. Mary's Park) but they are wary and swim away from you at forty yards. Photographers must be very stealthy, patient and use high shutter speeds to get good results generally.
Another good spot for Goldeneye is south of Aurora between Montgomery and Oswego. Viewing there is best from the east side and if you are cautious you can park in pulloffs here and there. Good spot for bald eagles, merganser (common and hooded) and a number of hawks (harrier, merlin, kestrel, red tail) are drawn to this area.
Other good spot for Goldeneye is south of the dam in South Elgin. You may recall there was a King Eider found at the Tekakwitha bridge a few years ago, so be alert for oddities and stragglers, especially as the seasons transition. Big concentrations of geese there also draw white fronteds, swans and occasional snows or blues.
At least you'll get one good winter bird if you track these beauties down.

Ann Holt-Harris on 1/23 reported via phone: Large flock of Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs at the intersection of Main Street and County Line roads (about 13.5 miles west of Randall Road).

Julie Long on 1/20 reported via IBET: There was a bald eagle in a tree on Boy Scout Island (boat launch) at about 9 am Saturday morning. It is the same tree that one was spotted in last year, off and on throughout the winter. It was not there at noon or 2 pm later in the day. Boy Scout Island is about a mile north of the St. Charles dam on the Fox River. It is along rt 31 and across from Pottawatomie park. Unfortunately, I did not see it, but my husband, and Denis Kania did see it.

It was the consensus of the observers that this Great Blue Heron had ice/frost on the tip of its bill. It most definitely had icicles hanging from its tail feathers. The temperature at the time this picture was taken was 10 -15 degrees. Photo courtesy of Chris Madsen

Participants on the 1/20 SEBA Park birdwalk (along the bikepath south of South Elgin): tallied 26 species, including the following of note: 2 American Black Ducks south of the bike bridge at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, large numbers of Common Goldeneyes, 1 Hooded Merganser, about 8 Common Mergansers, 1 Great Blue Heron (thoroughly chilled), Belted Kingfisher, a  quintet of woodpeckers (Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Northern Flicker, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker), White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, and a small flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Karen Land on 1/18 reported from Batavia via IBET: I haven't noticed brown creepers but I have daily visits from nuthatches in my yard. They sometimes come to the sunflower seed feeder but mostly are foraging in my trees.

Rhonda Nelson on 1/17 reported via phone: Fifty (50!) Sandhill Cranes flying southeast over the bikepath in Batavia.

John Heneghan on 1/17 reported from LaFox via IBET:In the past, I have seen brown creepers at the trees around my feeders all winter. This was at the old house which had lots of old trees. I have not seen any this winter, though I have had 2 nuthatches at the feeder the last few days. I have not seen any titmouses either.

Darrell Shambaugh on 1/16 reported via IBET: Monday afternoon I saw some Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks at Dunteman's Sod Farm in Kaneville (Kane County) on my way to work. Then it snowed an inch or so. Tuesday morning may bring the Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings up to the road.
At Dunteman's Sod Farm fields farther east, on Main Street west of Bunker Road there are several thousand Canada Geese feeding in the fields every day.

The (R)Andrini Ramblers© on 1/12: roamed the bike trail south of the quarry in Batavia. Significant species spotted included Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch and White-throated Sparrow, and Great Blue Heron. Seven Ramblers totaled nineteen species.

Karen Lund on 1/1 reported via IBET: I90 between Rtes. 47 & 59 was a happening place for red tails today. I counted 12, plus 3 kestrel. The leucistic bird was perched in a tree on the north side of I90, just east of Rte. 47.


Page last updated Thursday January 24, 2008.

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