January 2008 Sightings


Jon Duerr on 1/31 reported via e-mail: A flock of Redpolls were spotted at Elburn Forest Preserve on Sunday. They were at the south end in a stand of Black Alder.

John Heneghan on 1/28 reported via IBET: Thanks to Jon Duerr and all who posted of the redpolls at Binnie Woods in Kane county. We went there yesterday and arrived just as a couple of cars of birders were leaving. We hiked the trail to the North of the lot and found the redpolls feeding in alder behind some houses on the East side. I was excited to see them, my first time. Saw one redpoll that could have been a hoary, but it was hopping around so much I didn't get a good picture. We did a little tromping through the hardwoods hoping to catch a glimpse of the evening grosbeaks, but see not see any. Saw lots of cardinals.

We stopped at Elburn Forest Preserve to check the alder thicket there for redpolls ect, but saw lot sof chickadees, juncos and both redbreasted and whitebreasted nuthatches. We were going to tromp through the woods hoping to see/hear a barred owl, but had to get home. It was a beautiful day to be out!

Bob Fisher on 1/27 reported via IBET: ...some of us travelled back east on Chicago Rd (aka Galena Rd) south of Rte 30. A couple of hundred feet east of the intersection with Little Rock Rd (aka Granart Rd) we were startled to see an adult PEREGRINE FALCON feeding on a kill on a roadside telephone pole. Important to the county listers in our group, the bird was in Kendall County while on the pole. When it flew off with its prey and landed in a snow covered field to finish eating, it was in Kane County.

Not very often do we get a Peregrine in 2 counties during one sighting! And we all wondered whether this is a wintering bird in the area. Not much out there except cornfields, though the Fox River is 5+ miles south.

Dan Williams on 1/27 reported via IBET: A Northern Shrike was singing this morning along the trail (at Binnie Forest Preserve) that loops west and northwest of the parking lot past the alders and tamaracks. The Common Redpolls were flying around, with 1 flock that came overhead with ~ 20 birds. No sight or sound of Evening Grosbeaks. Enjoyed seeing Roger Hotham, his wife Margaret and their friend, Gloria, all of whom enjoyed these birds.

John Heneghan on 1/27 reported via IBET: This morning while observing the birds at my feeders, I noted a set of tracks much larger than the others. I went to fill the feeders and noted the tracks went off in front of my neighbors house. After filling the feeders, I grabbed my camera and followed the tracks around my neighbors side yard and along the railroad tracks to the back of the lot where the birdtracks led to a big brush pile. Pheasants have a habit of waiting till you are on top of them before they will fly. Sure enough at the brush pile I stood for 5 minutes looking and when I took a step, a beautiful male cock flew up and away. I hope he will stick around for another meal!!

I had the usual juncos, chickadees, red and white breasted nuthatchs, tree sparrows, a white crowned sparrow, cardinals and the recent coopers hawk looking for an easy meal!!
Have a good day!!

Christopher Cudworth on 1/26 reported via IBET: To follow Karen's post, I also found a healthy number of snow buntings and longspurs on Scott Road west of Sugar Grove. To reach Scott Road, take Route 47 north of Sugar Grove and turn left at the intersection of Bliss and Route 47. This road bends to the northwest and then turns west. There were good flocks of horned larks on Scott at the farms just before Dauberman Road, which cuts north to Kaneville. There were birds feeding on the road shoulders scraped by the plows. Their habits are quite consistent: fly away when cars in either direction approach, then return to feeding. Sometimes they queue up in the fields a bit. There was also a flock of perhaps 40 snow buntings, larks and longspurs (some with elegant dark winter plumage) on Dauberman 1 mile south of Kaneville Road. This road can be quite busy at times, I was surprised to learn.

You can also get to this spot by taking Main Street west from Randall Road/Batavia, cross Route 47 to Kaneville and turn south by the purple general store. But stop for some chocolate Ruger cookies first. :-)

Sulli Gibson on 1/26 reported via IBET: Dick Paulson and I led the (Evanston North Shore Bird Club) field trip today to the fields out in Hampshire along with 10 participants. We had total success and saw all three target birds in good numbers. We saw almost all the birds on Allen Road and Walker Road in Hampshire. Here are our totals:

165 Horned Lark
350 Lapland Longspurs
110 Snow Bunting

There was very good side scrape and manure spreads this morning.

Then we went to look for the Redpolls that had been seen at Binnie FP. We only found 3 COMMON REDPOLL flying around. We would have LOVED to see the Evening Grosbeaks reported earlier today but did not.

You can find my best picture from this morning at:

Jon Duerr on 1/26 reported via IBET: We returned to Binnie For. Preserve Sat. morning and found the Common Redpolls again (only 50-75 today). As we were leaving the preserve 4-5 Evening Grosbeaks flew in front and above the car into the denser oak woods near the entrance. We could not locate them. This would be an ideal location for them since low density subdivisions are on all sides of the preserve and Sycamore trees are the abandoned nursery as I described yesterday ( four years ago when the Grosbeaks were at Hampshire F P, we found them opening the fruits of Sycamores).

Jon Duerr on 1/25 reported via e-mail: Found a flock of 150-200 Common Redpolls at Binnie For. Pres. Kane Co. at 11:00 Friday 1/25. The Preserve has an abandoned nursery where Black Alder, Larch and River Birch are maturing and the cones and catkins are the attraction for the Redpolls. This planting is west and northwest of the parking lot.  Binnie F P is on Binnie Rd. which is one mile north of Ill. Rt 72 and one mile west of Randall, W. Dundee.

Karen Lund on 1/23 reported via IBET: I've received a few e-mails regarding the Walker Rd. (Kane County) snow buntings. They were still there this morning with longspurs & horned larks mixed in... After driving by the Walker Rd. site, I continued north to Melms Rd. where Walker Rd. ends, turned east to Harmony Rd. where Melms Rd. ends and south back to Allen Rd. There were 75+ snow buntings on Harmony Rd.

Chris Madsen on 1/21 reported: Took a quick walk in the morning freeze today on the bikepath beside the Batavia quarry. Among the thousands(?) of Canada Geese were Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye. Flitting in the tress along the shore were Black-capped Chickadees and a solitary White-breasted Nuthatch. Patrolling the river, a noisy Belted Kingfisher. And just south of the south dam, the highlight of the day, a Bald Eagle perched high in a tree on the point of the island.

Karen Lund on 1/21 reported via IBET: On the way to work this morning, I drove by the Walker Rd. farm to check for the snow buntings. Zilch - not one bird. I turned around in a driveway just north of the farm to get back to Allen Rd. and 100+ buntings were in or still flying into the barnyard. Moral of the story - patience. If they're not there, either wait or check out the nearby fields.

There was also an eurasian collared dove perched with some mourning doves at a farm on Allen Rd. just west of Walker Rd.

Karen Lund on 1/20 reported via IBET: In Kane County on Walker Rd. between Allen Rd. & Melms Rd. (west of
Hampshire) was a flock of 100+ snow buntings. This is in a barnyard with a manure slick.

Karen Land on 1/19 reported via IBET: We have been refilling the feeders daily for the last 5 days.

Red breast nuthatch - 2
Cardinals - one male, one female
Bluejay - at least one
Downy woodpecker - male and female
Red bellied woodpecker - male
Numerous juncos
Numerous finches
Sharp shinned hawk - 1
Coopers hawk - 1

I know there has been some minor disagreement over wether it's a sharp shinned or a coopers however we have seen both at the same time, usually in some sort of face off or chase. Both were observed yesterday at the corner of North and Van Nortwick with the coopers following the sharp shinned. The size difference is very evident. I see the sharp shinned often, he likes to perch on a branch above the feeder so I can easily see his square tail.

Jon Duerr on 1/16 reported via e-mail: I saw a flock of 150+ Snow Buntings along Swanberg Rd south of Silver Glen Tuesday.

Darrell Shambaugh on 1/12 reported via IBET: The back yard of the Big Rock Grade School is flooded right now, and there were 1000 to 1500 Canada Geese there today. I could find only one other species, a blue morph SNOW GOOSE, with them. This area was flooded last spring when and had about 30 Wilson's Snipe one day last April. Any time there is lots of standing water, the Big Rock Grade School is probably worth checking if you are in the area. If school is in session, you won't be able to, but it is easy to check on days when school is out.

The Sauer Farm prairie, between Kaneville and Sugar Grove on Lasher and Harter Roads also has a lot of standing water. This looks like it will be a great prairie wetland area in the spring. It should attract huge flocks of waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. Today there were about 2000 Canada Geese and ~30 MALLARDS. An AMERICAN KESTREL was hovering out over the prairie. I've checked this place on my way to work several times since the Whooping Cranes were reported. There has been a NORTHERN HARRIER hanging around, and I saw a few SNOW BUNTINGS before the warm spell.

I drove down Seavey Road, past that private golf course between Route 47 and Bliss Road, and as usual, saw nothing interesting. I've checked this place a few times over the past few years and, although it looks like harriers and short eared owls should like it, I've never seen anything interesting there. Have any of the Kane County birders ever birded around here? What's the story on this place? I think there is a 9 hole, links-style golf course there. The guy has an oil well in front of his barn too (not working).

At Nelson Lake I could see one SHORT-EARED OWL flying around in the grasslands west of the lake. I watched it for a couple minutes from Seavey Road.

There are thousands of Canada Geese between Big Rock, Sugar Grove, and Batavia. They are everywhere there is corn stubble and water standing in the fields. I haven't seen any neck bands since the cold snap around Christmas. I suppose that means most of the migrants have moved on.

Ann Haverstock on 1/12 reported via e-mail: A female Great Horned Owl on the courthouse nest at 9 AM.

Scott Cohrs on 1/6 reported via IBET: I'll add to the redpoll sightings, since Kane County seems to be a bit left out thus far. I had 2 Common Redpolls at Campton Hills park, a couple hundred yards west of the garden area. Many will remember this site as the home of the Blue Grosbeak/Summer Tanager/Northern Mockingbirds from this past summer. Unfortunately, I saw none of those today. The redpolls flew off to the northwest after a brief stay. Otherwise, the walk was pretty quiet. I was a bit surprised I didn't find a shrike, as the area on the west side seems to be pretty good habitat. Seems any decent acre of habitat has a shrike this winter. Maybe next time.

Sulli Gibson on 1/5 reported via IBET: KANE COUNTY - Allen Rd. had 114 SNOW BUNTING and 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (light morph); Walker Rd had 85 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (!!) The general area had 24 HORNED LARK.

Rhonda Nelson on 1/4 reported via phone: A large flock of snow birds were spotted today on Seavey Road about 1/2 mile west of Bliss Road. Half of the birds were Horned Larks and the other half were Snow Buntings.

Jane McMillan on 1/2 reported via phone: On a New Year's Day afternoon walk from South Elgin's S.E.B.A. Park to Jon Duerr Forest Preserve she had 2 adult Bald Eagles, Eastern Bluebirds, Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, and American Robins along with more common birds.

Mike Tartaglia on 1/1 reported via e-mail: A friend of mine told me he saw a bald eagle two consecutive days (12/29-30) along the Fox River just north of the Sullivan Road bridge in Aurora, and said he got some decent photos.  I went looking but did not find it there yesterday, but I looked again today starting from downtown Batavia and heading south.  I got lucky and spotted one in a tree on the west side of the river directly across the river from the Funway (where there is a kind of natural dam - not sure if this is the "south dam" mentioned in your recent sightings web page) at about 13:30 today. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the car in the Funway parking lot, and when I returned with it, the eagle took off and flew south. I was not successful finding it again after that (tried Red Oak, park on Rt 56 in North Aurora, and near Sullivan Rd). 
Happy New Year - (a good way to start it out !)

Bryan Hix on 1/1 reported via e-mail: I thought I would let you know that I was looking out the window today in my backyard after the big snow and saw a bird drop down onto another one from a higher branch on my river birch.  Once I got my binoculars out and looked, I about fell over when I was fortunate enough to see that it was a northern shrike.  I tried to get my camera quickly, but ended up missing the opportunity.  However, I did get to see the shrike take off with the house finch in its mouth.  It was fantastic.  I just saw the same bird (I assume) chasing another finch in mid-air right over my back yard.  I live in the Timber Trails subdivision in Gilberts off of Big Timber near Burnidge Forest Preserve.  What an awesome bird and experience that was.


This page last updated Tuesday March 18, 2008.

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