JANUARY 2014 SIGHTINGS
Chris Madsen on 1/31
reported: Working on a tip that the Andrinis had seen 4 Purple
Finches while bird monitoring on Thursday, I visited their site, Norris
Woods Nature Preserve in St. Charles. Saw nary a finch, but did see a TON
of Northern Cardinals, a handful of Downy Woodpeckers, 4
White-breasted Nuthatches, one Blue Jay, and this lone
Red-headed Woodpecker, who despite much coaxing, refused to provide a
profile shot. In addition, a little further north on the bike trail,
I had a solitary coyote strolling up the middle of the frozen Fox River.
Demetri Lafkas on 1/31 reported via eBird: The Harlequin Duck continues at the Kimball Street bridge in Elgin.
Jon Duerr on 1/31 reported via eBird: Seeing the Townsend's Solitaire at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve on Friday morning. That means the bird has been at that site for almost two months on one of our roughest winters in memory.
John Heneghan on 1/31 reported via e-mail: I had a Rusty Blackbird show up yesterday (1/30) at the feeders. First at the house. It is still here this AM and I suspect will hang around (word has gotten out we put out a nice spread!) . We had a Carolina Wren and YellowBellied Sapsucker early this month, have not seen them in a while. A few Fox Sparrows continue to frequent the feeders. It will be interesting to see what shows up with the projected snow over the next 5 days.
Mark Bowman on 1/29 reported
via e-mail: In Montgomery today along the Fox river, there was a group
of 7 BALD EAGLES hanging around one area, a few COMMON MERGANSERS
were along the same area and tons of MALLARDS along with a group of
deer hanging out with the ducks.
Ben Haberthur on 1/29 reported via e-mail: I stopped by the Elgin dam at noon today, and was surprised to see that both the Harlequin duck and Red Breasted Merganser are STILL hanging out there.
Diane Hansen on 1/28 reported
via e-mail: When the weather is so cold birding gets a bit limited. I
did venture out yesterday morning to capture the sun dog phenomenon we have
been experiencing early in the morning when the sun reflects on the frost
in the air to form little side rainbows. I was at the South Elgin dam. You
can see a few goldeneye flying by. The rest of my birding was from
my dining room looking out to the feeders to see a pair of goldfinches.
Julie Long on 1/26 reported via e-mail: I had a male and a female hooded merganser this afternoon, 3 pm near the footbridge across the Fox River, just south of the dam in St Charles. There were also many goldeneyes and quite a few common mergansers in the same area.
Rich Miller on 1/25 reported
via e-mail: Marion and I braved the elements today and found this
handsome HOODED MERGANSER at the Rt 64 bridge in St. Charles this
Ben Haberthur on 1/24 reported via e-mail: This might be the group that was spotted in North Aurora. I stopped on 25 just south of the Prairie St bridge in St. Charles today around 3PM to look at about 125 Common Goldeneyes on the Fox.
Jon Duerr on 1/23 reported via eBird: An immature Northern Goshawk in his yard in St. Charles.
Robert Johnson on 1/21 reported via e-mail: 1/21 @ 8:20 am. Common goldeneyes on the fox river at 56 bridge south of dam in North Aurora ..same location two bald eagles looking for breakfast ..fox river trail south of bridge seen a fox sparrow ..off to see the Harlequin in Elgin ?
Nathan Goldberg on 1/20 reported via IBET: Today my mom Lynne Remington and I took a quick jaunt out to Elgin for the Harlequin Duck that has been there for over a week. We were successful in finding it thanks to the help of Frank Fahey. We also saw the adult male Red-breasted Merganser as well as the Pied-billed Grebe. Thanks for all the updates about this bird, it is a great addition to my ever growing Kane County list!
Roger Hotham on 1/20 reported via IBET: I found the solitaire this PM [at Jon Duerr FP] perched at the very top of a large tree. About 20 ft. below was a merlin. After 15 minutes or so the solitaire flew out maybe 200 ft. then dropped into foliage. The merlin remained even as I approached closer. It was still there when I left. This took place on the ridge to the right of the main pit. Margaret Mechtenberg observed a ruby-crowned kinglet in this area early this AM.
Diane Hansen on 1/20 reported
via e-mail: Since my Sunday morning outing yielded only the fox and no
birds I went back out in the afternoon over to the islands to look for our
2 fabulous visitors and was able to locate the Harlequin right away
diving at the west side of the dam. It took a while longer to locate the
red breasted merganser. Once I found him I was able to observe and
photograph him for a long time. He caught a fairly large fish and downed it
plus I saw him bite a goose in the behind! Much better than watching
Doug Stotz on 1/20 reported via IBET: Started this morning at Kimball St Bridge in Elgin to look for the HARLEQUIN DUCK. It was very obvious just below the dam there in the water by the west shore. Otherwise there 2 BALD EAGLES were the only thing of note. I headed north on ILL Rte 31 from there. I stopped at Tyler Creek FP, just south of I-90 on the west side. Highlights there were a male PURPLE FINCH, a FOX SPARROW, a YELLOW-SHAFTED FLICKER and a pair of CAROLINA WRENS.
Next I stopped at the Carpentersville Dam. Not many gulls there, but at least 4 CACKLING GEESE mixed into the 1000 or so CANADA GEESE. One BLACK DUCK was with the MALLARDS. 3 more eagles and a BROWN CREEPER here. I went back out to 31. Just north of Main St/Huntley Rd. a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD flew across 31 and landed in a shrub by the 2nd or 3rd house north of the intersection, east of 31. I parked in a lot a little north of there and came back and looked at it for about 5 minutes, before it flew back west of 31. On the way back south just before noon, I saw the mockingbird flying west of 31 by a nursery maybe a quarter mile north of my initial sighting.
A stop at Buffalo Park added another Black Duck, and a BELTED KINGFISHER and 3 more eagles...
Michael Ryan on 1/20 reported
via e-mail: My wife and I were fortunate enough to see the eagles
out at the Carpentersville dam. Such an amazing bird. I was able to get
this photo by luck as it went above our heads and landed on a tree top
close by. There were quite a few people out there viewing and taking
pictures as it is a sight to be seen.
Diane Hansen on 1/19 reported
via e-mail: Sometimes you don't see any birds but you do see an
unexpected fox. Coming home from shopping this morning a fox crossed
in front of me on Highland near McLean in Elgin, crossed back, saw me and
Joe Lill on 1/19 reported via IBET: The Elgin Harlequin Duck was present this afternoon at the Kimball St. Bridge in Elgin, feeding at the foot of the falls.
Nolan Lameka on 1/19 reported via IBET: Finally after three tries I got the Townsend's Solitaire in the Jon Duerr F.P., with the help of a birder from Charleston, Illinois. The Harlequin Duck was at his usual spot in the Fox River off the Kimball St. Bridge.
Randy Shonkwiler on 1/19 reported via IBET: ,,,[on Saturday] afternoon Jeff Skrentney took me to Kane Co. to try for the Townsend's Solitaire. We had no luck with the solitaire but I had some nice birds for the day. Jeff and I looked for the solitaire at John Duerr Forest Preserve from 1:02 to 4:13 pm without success. We were joined by Josh Engel and friend (sorry I forgot your name!) for the last hour. We did see 2 adult BALD EAGLES, one of which did a nice circle giving me a great view. There were a few other species here: 1 adult RED-TAILED HAWK, 2 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS, 1 DOWNY WOODPECKER, 4 BLUE JAYS that kept fooling us into thinking they were the solitaire, 2 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, 10 A. ROBINS, 29 CEDAR WAXWINGS, 3 A. TREE SPARROWS and 2 A. GOLDFINCH.
Josh said he was going to look for the Harlequin Duck in Elgin and we followed. We found the HARLEQUIN DUCK on the west shore just below the dam. This is the first Harlequin that I've seen away from Lake Michigan in Illinois. The only other birds around were ~80 C. GEESE, 25 MALLARDS (plus a domestic Mallard) and 5 C. GOLDENEYES.
Keith Johnson on 1/18 reported via IBET: We had given up and started back to the parking lot then heard the Townsend's Solitaire and we were able to locate. 8:30am.
Joan Norek on 1/18 reported
via IBET: For anyone who has not seen the Elgin Dam Harlequin,
it was well seen this morning (1/18/14) feeding/diving at the edge of the
dam's whitewater on the east side.
Joshua Little on 1/18 reported via IBET: Hey All, I had a nice morning out in Kane County yesterday. One of the highlights was a mixed flock of blackbirds along Seavey Rd between Deerpath and Bliss, which included 15 Rusty Blackbirds!...
Chris Mussachio on 1/17
reported via e-mail: While eagle hunting along the Fox River at Buffalo
Park, I spotted this Great Blue Heron coming in for a quick pit
stop. I've seen 5 in the last couple of days.
Diane Hansen on 1/17 reported
via e-mail: Today in South Elgin I saw a female Hooded Merganser
hanging out with the geese.
Michael Ryan on 1/16 reported
This Red tail Hawk was spotted on Burlington
Rd just north of rt. 47. I saw it a week ago in low in some trees just off
the road. Did not get a chance to take a picture due to the weather.
Luckily today it was there again in the snowfall. No one was behind me so I
stopped rolled down the window and got this shot of it. Been wanting to get
up close like this for a while. There are 2 that have been hanging around
that area in particular and they are usually too far away in the distant
trees to compose a great shot.
Karen Lund on 1/16 reported via IBET: After seeing the harlequin [at the Elgin dam], Vicki Buchwald, Mike Andrews and I headed over to Jon Duerr F.P. We did hear the solitaire (that one note call of theirs), but didn't see it. Mike had to leave, but Vicki and I headed in S. Elgin for lunch. Then we returned to look for the solitaire again. We heard him again in the same spot as before. Finally he landed in a tall tree far back from the tracks, sat there for a minute and took off. He re-appeared about 5 minutes later in the same tree line, but it was a brief look. I'm glad he was vocalizing; otherwise, we may have never found him. The snow was coming down pretty good at times.
Marion Miller on 1/16
reported via e-mail: One
American Black Duck was spotted among a group of Mallards on the
Fox River in St Charles by the Main Street bridge.
Al Stokie on 1/16 reported via IBET: Took a former co-worker to see if we could locate the Kane Co Harlequin & Solitaire as both would be lifers for him. Had to settle for 1 out of 2! Started at Jon Duerr F.P. where we saw Pete M & 2 others but they had already been looking for almost an hour without seeing the Solitaire.
After they left we took the next shift with equal success or lack of the same. So through about 10 a.m. the Solitaire was a no show. But 2 other birders started to look as we left & others that we talked to later were also going to look even later so someone may yet find that bird & report in.
While here I finally got to hear
& then see the RUBY CROWNED KINGLET that I had missed on my other
visits & we saw 4 BALD EAGLES flying overhead. Robins kept
landing in the tall trees on the ridge but no Solitaire joined them before
10 a.m. or so.
Brendon Lake on 1/15 reported via IBET: Harlequin Duck was still present and actively diving in the rapids below the Kimball Street Dam, loosely associating with a male Common Goldeneye as of 3:04 p.m. on. Also, at the Carpentersville Dam were three American Black Ducks viewable from the end of the paved walking path looking south.
John Janunas on 1/15 reported
via e-mail: There was a pair of bluebirds along the trail south
of the Batavia quarry.
Gloria Dimoplon on 1/15 reported via e-mail: The Harlequin Duck was still present this morning (10:45 am) near the dam in Elgin just south of the Kimball Avenue bridge. Good views of the the Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneyes as well. My thanks to Tim Balassie for reporting this sighting.
Michael Ryan on 1/14 reported
via e-mail: I just happened to look up when I turned onto Burlington Rd
and saw this
American Kestrel feeding on something. It was windy and cold but had to
get a shot in. Luckily I had my camera with me and was able to zoom in on
it. They really don't like their pictures being taken as they always seem
to fly away as soon as they notice someone looking at them.
Mark Bowman on 1/13 reported
via e-mail: In Elgin today, 1-13-14, the sun was out most of the
afternoon and several birders were present on and off. The HARLEQUIN
was still there but hanging out exclusively in the rapids by the dam so
photography was difficult. The
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER was still there. A number of BALD EAGLES
flew over but did not land in any of the island trees. There are a lot of
COMMON GOLDENEYES present and if you have never had a picture of
one, this is a good place to get one as they are not "too" shy.
On 1/12: Numerous reports
today of our four exceptional birds in the county. Our latest stars, the
Harlequin Duck and Red-breasted Merganser, continue to delight
birders on the Fox River below the Kimball Street dam in Elgin. They were
first spotted on Saturday morning on a Kane County Audubon walk led by Tim
And Snowy Owl reports
continue this winter. These birds have been seen in town in St. Charles(!),
sporadic reports from northwest areas of the county, and numerous sightings
at and near the Aurora airport in Sugar Grove. The snowy sightings tapered
off after the snow storm of last weekend but intensified again north of the
airport in the last few days.
Diane Hansen on 1/11 reported
via e-mail: I started the morning at SEBA Park where there were several
Bald Eagles. I moved up to the S. Elgin dam where a gentleman told me
of the news he had heard from Jon Duerr about the harlequin and
red-breasted merganser so I headed up there...with the help of another
birder named Bill I got to see the Harlequin and the Red-breasted
Merganser. We also saw a
Pied-Billed Grebe and a Peregrine Falcon (pointed out by
Brendon) bathing in the water. A Belted Kingfisher flew by too. I
met several other birders today on the same quest.....what a wonderful
Eric Secker on 1/11 reported
via IBET: After seeing the Harlequin Duck, [Sally and I] checked
a few other sites along the river.
Al Stokie on 1/11 reported
via IBET: Unable to join Dave J, Andy S & Bob E on their search for Lee
County Snowy Owls since I had to be home by noon I decided to see if my
luck would be better trying to actually see the Solitaire at Jon Duerr F.P.
Arrived at about 8:15 a.m. to see that Keith Mc was already looking but had
not seen the bird yet from the tracks. I tried the path going west from the
tracks also with no success & on my return there was Dan W & Larry B from
Rockford along with 3 other birders & soon Keith arrived as well. The
others started down the tracks while I looked west again & saw a bird land
in a tall tree on the high ridge to the north. It flew to the tree in a
very "jerky" fashion which is just what our target bird is supposed to do &
sure enough it was the TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE that had given me so
much trouble last weekend. Keith was right over & we called the rest back &
everyone had good looks as it flew closer into the Junipers. It also did
the single note call that I have heard it do previously. Later it flew to
the south & we lost it.
Now for a tough choice! Two very good birds but Bird-Of-The-Day goes to the Harlequin as that's a bird I would never expect in the Fox River whereas I've seen the Solitaire 3 times now & never had a great, close look today. Runner-up to the suddenly more cooperative Solitaire.
A fine day indeed!
Bob Andrini on 1/11 reported
via phone: A young male Harlequin Duck and a Red-breasted
Merganser were seen this morning on the Fox River just south of Gail
Borden Library in Elgin on the KCA walk led by Tim Balassie.
Marion Miller on 1/11
reported via e-mail: Despite the foggy Friday morning, a Northern
Shrike, stood out beautifully on the small trees and low shrubs at
Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin. FYI: During the winter months only the
Coombs Rd entrance is open.
Pete Moxon on 1/10 reported via eBird: Spotted a Snowy Owl approx 300m Ī S of Scott rd.- approx 1.4mi W of Harter rd.- & approx 1/2 mi W of Dugan rd.& approx 1.5mi E of Dauberman rd. - she is actively looking around, and in an upright posture. Conditions are overcast and misty / foggy and presumably she is hunting.
Julie Long on 1/10 reported via IBET: A group of us watched a Northern Pintail today about 10:30 am. It was in the Fox River south of the dam and the road, at SEBA park. It was among the many goldeneyes, common mergansers, geese and mallards. We also had at least three bald eagles in the area. No merlin or hooded mergansers were seen.
Jackie Bowman on 1/10
reported via e-mail: This morning we had a new backyard lifer at our
feeders - a beautiful Oregon Junco! His black hood and rufous sides
definitely made him stand out amongst his peers. Photo of him is slightly
compromised by the overcast skies, foggy weather and our dryer vent and
shooting through the window.
Adam Hodge on 1/9 reported via e-mail: Everyday this week I have seen a pair of swans in the Fox River at Buffalo Park on the southern edge of Algonquin. Iíve also spotted up to three Bald Eagles perched on the trees along the banks of the river at the same location (they can be seen in the trees from Route 31). Iíve also been seeing Eagles soaring and perched in trees along the Fox south of the Carpentersville Dam. I know this is sort of a late notification, but on New Years Day my wife and I spotted two Eagles on the Fox River at the newly opened Brunner Family Forest Preserve.
Sue Wagoner on 1/9 reported
via e-mail: While searching for the Snowy Owl on Meredith Rd. and near
the Aurora Airport (no luck)-- I did see groups of Snow Buntings and
Horned Larks, a Northern Harrier male, an American Kestrel
who hovered for a long time and a few other Kane County birders.
Brendon Lake on 1/9 reported via IBET: ...I was out and about again today, and found 3 Rough-Legged Hawks (one dark morph, two light). The dark morph on Peplow Road south of Burlington, and the light morphs on Meredith Road south of Virgil and Dauberman Road, north of I-88. Notable birds along the Fox River included two Mute Swans, a Redhead drake, an American Coot, two Hooded Merganser hens and a Merlin. The first three listed were in St. Charles, near Illinois Street, and the last two were at the South Elgin Dam and Seba Park...
Bob Andrini on 1/8 reported
via e-mail: Being president of Kane County Audubon isn't all bright
lights and glory. I also retrieve dead birds. This Red-tailed Hawk was
found near the Holmstad in Batavia, frozen with its wings outstretched. The
body was in such pristine condition that scientists at the Field Museum
decided to add it to their permanent collection.
Joshua Little on 1/8 reported via IBET: Hello Birders! I had a heck of a time finding it, but the Townsend's Solitaire [at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve] did eventually show ever so briefly after a couple hours of searching. So glad it survived the madness of the last few days, and to have it on my 2014 list!
Sue Wagoner on 1/8 reported
via e-mail: Every year I have Cooper's Hawks in my backyard. This
immature Cooper's Hawk I spotted just after he killed one of the
birds at my bird feeder. He took about 30 minutes to eat it, while I shot
away from the warmth of the back room of my house. Then he flew into this
tree, preened for a while and took off. A pile of black feathers were left,
which may have been a Starling or Cowbird, both of which have been at my
Theresa LeCompte on 1/8
reported via e-mail: Between the Montgomery Dam in Kane County and the
Kane/Kendall Co. boundary line (traveling south on Rt. 25), there were 25
BALD EAGLES spotted on the Fox River this morning.
Lara Scharlow on 1/8 reported
via e-mail: I saw this eagle around January 1st in Batavia south
of the Wilson Street bridge on the east side of the river.
Diane Hansen on 1/8 reported via e-mail: Saw a pair of Bald Eagles this morning just below the dam in South Elgin.
Candy Kresmery on 1/8 reported via e-mail: My husband Marc and I spotted two bald eagles flying together above the Fox River just north of the Elgin Library last weekend (Jan 3/4). I have seen one since flying solo over Duncan Ave. near 90 and again by the dam in Elgin.
Fran Morel on 1/3 reported via IBET: Townsend's Solitaire present at Jon Duerr about 1/4 mile down the tracks. Also seen Rough-legged Hawk, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, Am Kestrel, and an adult Bald Eagle.
Marion Miller on 1/3 reported
via e-mail: Rich and I spotted a Rough-legged Hawk hunting the
fields on both sides of Hankes Rd near Aurora West.
Mark Bowman on 1/3 reported via e-mail: Was looking out my back window this afternoon when I noticed a bird that looked a little different by my feeders. Looking with my binoculars, it was a CAROLINA WREN which I have never seen in my yard before. Also have regular WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS.
Diane Hansen on 1/3 reported
via e-mail: Yesterday we were driving around the river and happened to
catch a shot of an eagle just as it took off from the branch it was
sitting on. The branch must be a popular perch as it seems worn down at the
spot where the eagle had been. This was a tree on the west side of the
river near Hemmens.
Rich Miller on 1/3 reported
via e-mail: Finally - dramatic and graphic proof of the effectiveness
of using plastic owls to scare pigeons away. Note in the attached photo
that live pigeons on the left side of photo remain, BUT all plastic pigeons
on the right side have been scared off!
Lynn Hill on 1/2 reported via
e-mail: I saw three swans floating down the Fox River in St
Charles today at 1:30pm. I am not a birder and I don't know what type they
were. From my car the bills looked dark to me. Beautiful sight!
Brendon Lake on 1/2 reported
via IBET: Hello all, the Townsend's Solitaire was indeed present
this morning as it came out of nowhere and landed in a tall bare tree about
30 feet from me while I went out looking for it at Jon Duerr FP. This was
at about 9:27 am. As I walked around the area more, I was pleasantly
surprised to hear it singing, as it was the only bird that wanted to be
vocal. Also there were two Yellow-Rumped Warblers, one along the
train tracks and one by the river feeding on berries. A Cooper's Hawk
and 98 vocalizing(!) Common Goldeneyes also made the trip
worthwhile! Other birds of note in Kane was a large mixed flock of
Horned Larks, Snow Buntings and Lapland Longspurs on Meredith Road,
near McNulty Road. The flock was mostly Snow Buntings, something I'd never
seen before! And finally, a gorgeous adult dark-morph Rough-Legged Hawk
sat roadside and gave a small flight show on Peplow Road south of
Burlington, near Godfrey Road.
Scott Cohrs on 1/2 reported via eBird: Relocating the Townsend's Solitaire Thursday morning at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve.
Bob Andrini on 1/2 reported
via e-mail: Here's a photo of the Merlin that was seen on the
Saturday, 12/28 KCA walk at SEBA Park in South Elgin.
This page last updated Friday March 28, 2014.
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