Diane Hansen on 1/29 reported via e-mail: Yesterday I was south of the South Elgin dam when I saw a huge (looked like hundreds) flock of what appeared to be common goldeneyes. Before I could get out the camera they took off. I saw one bird still in the water far off and decided to take some pictures. When I saw the shots blown up it was my first hooded merganser. I also got an interesting shot of the bird from the back.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser photos courtesy Diane Hansen

Hooded Merganser

Chris Mussachio on 1/29 reported via e-mail: Found this Sharp-shinned hawk doing some spring cleaning a little early because of the warm weather in Carpentersville.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Chris Mussachio on 1/28 reported via e-mail: These risk-taking American Coots were spotted in Carpentersville with an adult Bald Eagle looking down at them not too far away.

American Coots

American Coots photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Chris Mussachio on 1/27 reported via e-mail: Found these two pair at Buffalo Park Forest Preserve in Algonquin this weekend.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneyes photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Barb Risner on 1/27 reported via e-mail: 1/27 Saw around 14 Eagles along the Fox River Rt. 25 in Montgomery, IL this morning.

Richard Wilson on 1/27 reported via e-mail: 1/26/2013 small group of Robins this morning in my yard [on Powers Road in rural Kane County] about 9A.M. South winds and they headed south.

Marion Miller on 1/27 reported via IBET: Rich and I did some country road birding, on Saturday, enroute to a family visit . We found a large mixed flock of approximately 250 Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks. We were fortunate enough to see one Snow Bunting in the group. There were probably more, but the group was very “flighty” and our time schedule prevented us searching longer. They were located in fields around Hintzsche Fertizer Company in Maple Park, on County Line Road, north of Main St.

Theresa LeCompte on 1/26 reported via e-mail: The Northern Shrike was still present this morning near the radio tower at Johnson's Mound.

Vernon LaVia on 1/26 reported via IBET: Counted 28 Eagles along the Fox River while driving south on Rt. 25, starting at Mill St. in Montgomery down to the Rt. 34 Bridge in Oswego....about a 5 mile stretch of road.

In my 15 years living here, I've never had more than 5 eagles at a time along this stretch. Yesterday, I counted 26 along the same stretch.

The road's a bit dangerous to stop on, so take Rt. 25 south until just before Oswego village line. You'll see a foot/bike bridge crossing the Fox River, and there's a parking lot and park along the river at that point. From there you can safely walk the bike path north to see the spots where most of the eagles tend to congregate. They seem to be eating 6-7 inch perch fish. And you're bound to see the gulls eating the same.

Anyone know why these fish are either dying or are such easy pickings for eagles and gulls right now??

Walter Lutz on 1/26 reported via e-mail: This morning, Saturday, hiked the bike trail south from the South Elgin dam to the footbridge and back. I would estimate at least 6 Bald Eagles (saw many more but I'm sure I saw some of the same eagles on the hike back), including at least 2 juveniles. I've hiked this trail for about 10 years and this is the most I've ever seen. Hundreds & hundreds of geese on the river. Barred Owl at Jon Duerr F.P

Christopher Cudworth on 1/26 reported via IBET: I was sitting on the couch looking out at the bright morning when a woodpecker whipped into our red maple out front. First year yellow-bellied sapsucker, working its way up the trunk and shedding bits of snow as it goes.

Jessica Bryant on 1/25 reported via e-mail: Saw several bald eagles fishing in the Fox River in Saint Charles this morning. Beautiful!

Kurt Frieders on 1/24 reported via e-mail: Today brought a minimum of 20 Bald Eagles (and at least that many birders) to the Fox River from Montgomery to Oswego. The mix of adult and immature was close to half and half. Anywhere there was open water, there seemed to be a Bald Eagle in a tree. Most were perched, but we were able to observe several of them hunting for fish. They were successful a good percentage of the time. There also were a lot of Common Mergansers and Goldeneyes mixed in with the large flocks of Mallards and Canada Geese.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Christopher Cudworth on 1/23 reported via IBET: During a run it was pleasing to see 6 male goldeneyes just below the Batavia Dam.

There was also a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, male and female, in the trees along shore. Guess they're going to stick it out this winter for sure.

Scott Cohrs on 1/22 reported via eBird: A Thayer's Gull at the dam in Geneva this morning.

Theresa LeCompte on 1/21 reported via e-mail: While birding country roads from the warmth of the car today, Sue Schneider & I found 4 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES along Main St. on the western edge of Kaneville.

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove photo courtesy Theresa LeCompte

Darrell Shambaugh on 1/21 reported via IBET: The Fox River from Route 38 north to the Chicago Great Western railroad bridge in St. Charles had a lot of birds today, although nothing really interesting like what's up north at Carpentersville. At least 200 gulls were on the ice. Most were HERRING GULLS, about 85%. The rest were RING-BILLED GULLS. While I was trying out a new parka out by the river at Riverside Park, two BALD EAGLES flew over, one adult and one immature, probably a second year. The adult landed in a tree on the west side of the river, and the 2nd year went on south.

From Prairie Avenue up to the dam north of Rt. 64 there were a lot of ducks. The only ones I counted were COMMON GOLDENEYE. I came up with about 100. I didn't count the MALLARDS, but I would guess 200+ were there. I didn't see any other ducks, but I wouldn't be surprised is a few others were there. They were really active, having a great time diving in the icy water. There were several hundred CANADA GEESE up and down the river. The only land birds I saw were STARLINGS and HOUSE SPARROWS.

The Fox River above the dams is pretty frozen, with a few open pools. Below the Rt. 64 dam, the river is ice-free for a half mile. That is where most of ducks were.

The parka is great.

Doug Stotz on 1/21 reported via IBET: I covered the Fox River in Kane Co. north of I-90 this morning. The most productive place by far was the dam at Carpentersville. I managed to spend about 30 minutes there around 10 AM despite being seriously underdressed for the cold. There were several hundred gulls there, about 90% HERRING. At the end of my time there, I found an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL standing on the ice with about 100 gulls just above the dam, and at about the same time, a 1st cycle THAYER'S GULL joined the swirl of gulls feeding on small fish just above and below the dam. Wouldn't surprise me if there were other interesting gulls in the mix here. Other things of interest to me here were 2 MUTE SWANS, 4 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, and 5 BALD EAGLES. I also saw eagles at Buffalo Park (just south of McHenry Co. line) and Voyagers Landing (just north of I-90; there is only a little open water here).

Diane Hansen on 1/21 reported via e-mail: I braved the cold this morning and was rewarded with this eagle fishing just below the South Elgin dam. One of a few goldeneyes present is visible.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy Diane Hansen

Chris Weishaar on 1/20 reported via IBET: Lots of eagles this morning along the Fox River from Oswego north into Aurora.

Chris Madsen on 1/20 reported: Carla and I beat the cold weather by walking miles yesterday, but our best bird came at our last stop, Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve. It was there that we saw a Northern Shrike attack and kill a vole, then fly away with its meal. The bird was sighted about 50 yards into the prairie, just beyond the radio tower.

Ken Schneider on 1/20 reported via e-mail: This is my 8 year old granddaughter's comment on this photo when I posted it on FLICKR (She only got help from her mom to spell "surprisingly.") :

"When we were coming home from Jones Meadow Park we found a Red-tail on a wire. Gramps pulled over and got his camera from the trunk. He took more pictures till he got so close he had to turn his camera sideways! Then came the flash. Surprisingly, the Red-tail didn't fly away! My grandma and sister suggested that it might fly around him and bite his butt! After what seemed like a million years, he came back. We told him what we were talking about. All he said was, 'I got some really good shots.'"

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Ken Schneider on 1/19 reported via e-mail: I made a brief visit to Jones Meadow Park, where I ran into a mixed flock of sparrows and juncos. One of the juncos appeared to be typical of the Oregon race. This is the first time I have visited Illinois in the winter so I don't know how often this subspecies is seen here.

Dark-eyed ("Oregon") Junco

Dark-eyed ("Oregon") Junco photo courtesy Ken Schneider

American Tree Sparrow

American tree Sparrow photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Mark Bowman on 1/18 reported via e-mail: Was in my office this morning and turned around to glimpse outside at the feeders and had this COMMON REDPOLL there, the first I have seen this year at the feeders. There are always 5-6 GOLDFINCHES and 5-6 PINE SISKINS around. My Pine Siskins have been looking very healthy and I have not found any dead ones so far.

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Theresa LeCompte on 1/16 reported via e-mail: I was a bit surprised to find a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Hannaford Woods yesterday.

Ann Hejna on 1/15 reported via e-mail: A group of about 8-10 Common Mergansers floating around on the Fox, just North of the dam and bridge in North Aurora, can see from both paths along the shoreline.

Common Mergansers

Common Mergansers photo courtesy Ann Hejna

John Janunas on 1/14 reported via e-mail: Found this immature Bald Eagle at Les Arends Forest Preserve this afternoon.

Immature Bald Eagle

Immature Bald Eagle photo courtesy John Janunas

Jim Gomez on 1/14 reported via e-mail: Sighted a male [Bald Eagle], he followed a flock of mallards that landed in the fox river just south of the rt. 64 bridge in St. Charles. It was about 1:30. He came in from the south, made a wide turn over the river and then flew south again.

Eric Secker on 1/13 reported via IBET: A lot of gulls are along the Fox River in northern Kane Co. right now including a first-year THAYER'S GULL. He was hanging out along the river between West Dundee and Carpentersville. When we left he could still be seen from the small parking lot on the west side of the river.

Deb Zimmerman on 1/13 reported via e-mail: During an early morning walk along the Fox River in St. Charles on Saturday morning, we saw at least 15 Common Goldeneyes (in several different groups).

Paricia Tomaso on 1/11 reported via e-mail: Went to the Carpentersville Dam today and saw three eagles roosting in the trees just south of the dam. Appeared to be a family..... mom, dad, and a juvenile.

Linda Padera on 1/11 reported via IBET: Marcia Nye and I observed an orange-crowned warbler this morning at Quarry Park in Batavia (Kane County). The bird was with a flock of juncos (20), house finches (2), white-crowned sparrows (2) and yellow-rumped warblers (2) along the black fence which surrounds the water treatment plant...

Chris Mussachio on 1/11 reported via e-mail: Lots of Common Goldeneye in Dundee/Carpentersville these days.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Diane Kispert on 1/11 reported via e-mail: We had no birds at the feeder this morning due to a great horned owl that decided to preen a little in a tree that divides our backyard with the Mill Creek golf course. Finally got him to look 180 degrees my way. This is the third time we have seen him this winter.

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl photo courtesy Diane Kispert

Tim Balassie on 1/11 reported via IBET: Just an FYI post - saw 19 Great Blue Herons congregated along the Fox River yesterday, looking south from the landing at the Sec. of State's offices in Elgin. They appeared to be no more than a few feet apart, although my scope view was surely warped to some extent. Can't recall seeing that many at one time.

I remember seeing large congregations of Great Egrets late last year as well across Kane Co., as many as 20 in one small pool at a time (Jelke Creek, Sleepy Hollow). Other birders noted the same experience, and we assumed the phenomenon was related to the drought.

Of the twelve species I saw in Elgin I will mention Mute Swan, Bald Eagle and Wood Duck. Did not see the Common Loon this trip.

Heidi Hohman on 1/11 reported via e-mail: Had 5 Bald Eagles this morning on the way to work. 3 on the west side of Fox River between walking bridge and Otto [in Carpentersville], one on west side of river near Haeger Pottery, and one on west side of river near I-90 at approx. 8:00am.

Bob Andrini on 1/10 reported via e-mail: Today (Thurs) we saw a Winter Wren on the bike path south of Quarry Park in Batavia..

Marion Miller on 1/8 reported via e-mail: Stopped along the Fox River at a few spots this afternoon. One of the notable spots was down Beck St off LaFox (Route 31) in South Elgin which leads to Chipstone Park. From here I could view 2 Mute Swans, 39 Common Goldeneyes, 10 Common Mergansers, one Redhead Duck, and numerous gulls, mostly Herring. One Bald Eagle was seen at Jon Duerr FP,

John Janunas on 1/8 reported via e-mail: Sometimes scanning those flocks of geese can pay off. This from Les Arends Forest Preserve.

Snow Goose

Snow Goose (or possible Ross' Goose) photo courtesy John Janunas

Chris Mussachio on 1/7 reported via e-mail: What a day in Dundee today. Eagles fishing, Belted Kingfisher fishing, and a fly-bye from a Cooper's Hawk, all in 2 hours time.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk photo courtesy Chris Mussachio

Chris Madsen on 1/7 reported: Carla and I stopped by the Carpentersville dam Sunday morning. Amongst the numerous Mallards and Canada Geese were three of the ubiquitous Bald Eagles on the Fox. Less common species included Northern Pintail, American Black Duck, a photo-phobic American Wigeon, and a group of Common Goldeneye that spooked when we got to within 50 feet of the river.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail photo courtesy Chris Madsen

American Black Ducks

American Black Ducks photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Bob Andrini on 1/7 reported via e-mail: We drove up river today and saw 3 Bald Eagles just south of the Prairie St. bridge in St. Charles, 4 at Jon Duerr FP, and another 5 up by the Carpentersville dam for a total of 12 eagles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jana Young on 1/7 reported via e-mail: I saw an eagle at Mount Saint Mary's Park in St. Charles perched in a tree by the river. My husband also saw one on 1/6/2013 flying in the same area.

Andy Spicer on 1/7 reported via e-mail: At our backyard heated birdbath’s in west St. Charles, on both Saturday January 5th & Sunday the 6th, we have had 6 bluebirds, robins, cardinals, nuthatches, rose breasted nuthatches, black capped chickadees, red bellied woodpeckers, gold finches, downey’s. The bluebirds were at the same time both days, just after 3pm.

Bob Andrini on 1/6 reported via e-mail: While driving the western roads of Kane county, we were lucky to see a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk. In the photo, note the dark leading edge of the underwings and the white trailing edge.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk photo courtesy Bob Andrini

John Janunas on 1/6 reported via e-mail: I have seen as many as 8 Eagles at one time along the quarry bike path. This is one of them.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle photo courtesy John Janunas

Becky DeSilva on 1/5 reported via e-mail: I also saw the Common Goldeneye on the Fox River near the Quarry today. It was a flock of over 60 during this afternoon's snow squall. Also, there were two Common Mergansers. I have photos, but they are for identification only--it was snowing hard!

Ron Dickenson on 1/5 reported via e-mail: Bald Eagles continue at quarry in Batavia. Count was up to five this morning.

Ron Dickenson on 1/4 reported via e-mail: Two Bald Eagles and these Common Goldeneye hanging out by the quarry in Batavia today.

Common Goldeneyes

Common Goldeneyes photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Brendon Lake on 1/4 reported via IBET: I was out around the Fox River Valley birding all day today and was able to add 10 birds to my year list, some of which I feel are notable or strange for this time of year.

...At the Carpentersville Dam, the Northern Pintail drake and American Wigeon drake were still present south on the walking path actively feeding with a group of Mallards. There were also Common Goldeneye mixed in, as well as some more in the Dundee area. There was a total of three Bald Eagles between the Carpentersville Dam and Dundee area. In the stretch of river near a park just south of the Route 20 bridge, the Common Loon was still present and quite visible in a small patch of open water, binoculars would suffice for good looks although a scope would be perfect to view it from the park. There were also at least three Common Mergansers mixed in with Mallards and Canada Geese, the Loon was all by itself. South Elgin Dam had two Bald Eagle flyovers, 1 adult, 1 juvenile. There were also Cackling Geese mixed in with the Canada Geese. Seba Park had well over 50 Common Goldeneyes present. While stopping to fuel up at the Citgo at the corner of 25 and Fabyan, two more Bald Eagles (1 adult and 1 juvenile) flew by over the river, all the while fighting with each other.

Julie Long on 1/4 reported via e-mail: There was an adult bald eagle circling the Fox River and slowly heading north at Ferson Creek Fen in ST Charles this morning. I do wonder how many there really are along the river in Kane Co. Maybe with the river freezing over they will all be congregated in just a few spots. Sounds like at least seven from the reports in the Carpentersville area.

Taylor Joray on 1/3 reported via e-mail: While out cleaning Kestrel nest-boxes, David Barnes and I  spotted a Northern Harrier cruising the fields near the Southwest part of Nelson Lake. The bird appeared to be a sub-adult male, with a silver/gray color above and black wingtips, and an overall light colored underbody with russet hints still present. The bird stayed in the area, sweeping lowly over the fields for approximately 15 minutes before taking off towards the Northeast side of the lake.

Then, while making a quick stop at the West Aurora Forest Preserve, two more Northern Harriers were spotted flying low over the fields on the South side of Hankes Rd. across from the barn. Here, it appeared to be a male and female.

Kathleen Wagner on 1/3 reported via e-mail: 1/3/13 Found ten bald eagles; in the area from the Carpentersville dam then North as far as the binoculars could see. Decided to drive North along the river and had three more sitings. At one time there were 7 together, in possibly the same tree that Jim N. spotted them on 1/1/13.

Kathy Benedetto on 1/3 reported via e-mail: Jan 3rd at 8:15am. My daughter and I saw a bald eagle flying over the fox river just north of the the Higgins bridge in Dundee today. It landed in a tree above the path we were standing on and we watched it for a bit then flew down the fox river. Gorgeous site to see!

Chris Mussachio on 1/2 reported via e-mail: Finding these carnivorous(?) Mallards apparently feeding on fish near the dam in Carpentersville.

Fish-eating Mallard

Carnivorous Mallards photos courtesy Chris Mussachio

Fish-eating Mallard

Bob Andrini on 1/2 reported via phone: Finding a Common Loon on the Fox River in Elgin behind the Secretary of State's driver license facility.

Kurt Frieders on 1/2 reported via e-mail: On New Years Day we figured something was up when we didn't see a single songbird in our trees or at our feeders (in Aurora township). That usually means that our resident Cooper's Hawk is around, and yet again that was the case. He sat on the bushes next to the bird bath then on the ground under the bath. Eventually after the Cooper's Hawk left, a female Downy Woodpecker was brave enough to return to our yard. Soon thereafter we also had our male Red-Bellied Woodpecker along with many Juncos. Eventually our pair of Cardinals also showed up, along with our usual flock of Goldfinches. We have seen a pair of Belted Kingfishers on our creek pretty much daily. On New Years Day it was the male that allowed himself to be photographed.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher photo courtesy Kurt Frieders

Jim Narovec on 1/2 reported via e-mail: Spotted 6 Bald Eagles (3) Adults and (3) juveniles perched in a tree north of the Carpentersville Dam on 1/1/13. Also spotted an adult and juvenile together a little earlier south of Otto in Old Carpentersville.

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles photo courtesy Jim Narovec

This page last updated Monday April 08, 2013.

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