Eric Secker on 1/31 reported via IBET: After checking a bunch of spots with Nick and then a couple more on my own (covering every spot between Algonquin and Carpentersville), I also checked out the river down at Judson.

There's a very large group of gulls north of there and south of I-90 as well as some birds where Tyler Creek empties into the Fox River.

Highlight was a nice adult ICELAND GULL with completely unmarked white wingtips.

These birds can also be viewed from the lot by treatment plant off Slade Ave. east of the river or areas south of Trout Park.

Nick Barber on 1/31 reported via IBET: I tried to send an email from Carpentersville earlier but it bounced back. As of 1 p.m., the gull had not been relocated.

Not long after arriving at the dam around 10 this morning, I saw a robust dark-backed gull circling around the dam area. It seemed large (similar to a large Herring Gull) with fairly broad wings. Mantle dark gray with black wingtips, medium pink legs, and a moderately streaked head. Primaries looked like a largish white mirror on the outer primary and 2-3 white spots further in on the primaries, set in from the tips. However, the white trailing edge of the wing did not strike me as particularly broad. I'm certainly not 100% sure on the ID. Hopefully this bird wasn't just passing through and someone else can get some pictures of it.

I watched it for a few minutes and called Josh (thanks, Josh, for getting the word out). While talking to him, it began moving upstream, and after getting off the phone I lost it in the fog. A few minutes after that the eagles scared all the gulls up, and almost all of them moved upstream from the dam (there had been 200-300 gulls flying and sitting on the water and ice). The fog was getting really thick, making it harder to see distant birds.

Eric Secker showed up, and he and I checked some spots upstream where some gulls were sitting. The only dark-backed gull we found was an adult Lesser Black-backed. It or another had also been near the dam when I saw the larger gull. By 1:00, several birders were at the dam. The adult Lesser Black-back came by, and an adult Thayer's flew around pretty close for a while, but no sign of it.

Josh Engel on 1/31 reported via IBET: Nick Barber reports that he is currently watching a good candidate for Slaty-backed Gull at Carpentersville Dam. It's flying around feeding with the other gulls. He doesn't have a camera, so it would be great if somebody could get out there to check it out and take some photos.

Justin Wrinn on 1/30 reported via IBET: This afternoon I easily found the continuing Barrow's Goldeneye along Lincoln Ave. between the gazebo and the foot bridge with a raft of about 30 Common Goldeneyes.  Then I had a nice but slushy walk from Carpentersville Dam down to the Otto plant. My target Great Black-backed Gull was a no show, but I did come up with 29 species.  

Better birds included American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Coot, Thayer's Gull (one adult and probably one 2nd cycle), Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-throated Sparrow, and Pine Siskin.  An adult Iceland Gull was seen by others while I was down river.  You can see the full list here.

Gordon Garcia on 1/28 reported via e-mail: Photographed one Peregrine Falcon roosting on the east side of the Leland Tower building in downtown Aurora on January 26th at about 3:30 p.m. It had a green band on its left leg but I could not get a good photo of the band. Mary Hennen from the Field Museum is trying to determine where the falcons were banded. If you are able to get a clear look at the band please report to Mary at mhennen@fieldmuseum.org. From the photos I sent her she was able to determine I photographed the female and she indicated it is actually a bicolored band with the top being black and the bottom being green. A nesting box was installed recently on the top of the building (east side) hoping they will nest this year.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon photo courtesy Gordon Garcia

Andrew Aldrich on 1/28 reported via IBET: Hi, all. The gull gods must have felt guilty about me missing the Black-tailed Gull, because I have one more gull for you.

While birding the Fox River this morning (1/28), I had multiple Thayer's, a possible Kumlien's, one of the adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and the continuing Barrow's Goldeneye between Carpentersville and West Dundee.

After combing through the birds at Kimball street in Elgin around 11am, the upper dam had about 150-180 Herring Gulls with a few Ring-billed and one Thayer's I could pick out on the ice. Below the dam was more of the same but one gull in particular stood out.

I first thought it was Thayer's because of the minimal black in the primaries but when it banked I could see that the entire length of the outer web was gray, yet the primary spots were more in line with Herring Gull. The heavy brown mottling on the head, the pale iris, and the long bill made me think immediately of Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull. Glaucous (Nelson's) would be much paler over all with less streaking, and Western (Olympic) would have a dark iris and other things I haven't quite pin-pointed yet but will update my checklist after some more research.

Amar agreed with the ID (phew!) so here's my eBird checklist.

Julie Long on 1/17 reported via e-mail: I stopped today in Aurora to check for the peregrine falcons that were reported earlier in the week by Vern LaVia at the Leland Tower. I did not see any from 11 to 1130 am but did finally spot one when I went back at 4:30. It came in from the northwest and flew briefly around the tower and over the river before heading off to the southwest. That was about 4:40. I waited until 5 to see if it would return or if the other would one come in but neither one made an appearance. I was not able to look directly into the new nest box but I think I should have been able to see inside it alright. I parked in the parking lot next to the east side of the river that was accessed from E New York Ave. It took me a while to figure out the one way street situation in that area of the casino and the theater.

Al Stokie on 1/26 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

I am short on time today so I'll just list some of the birds seen today at [various stops in Kane County]...with Andy Sigler...

Carpentersville Dam (7:30-8:30 & 10:15 a.m.)

Here we were joined by John L on our 2nd visit. Birds seen were:

Canada Geese (~350)
Mallard (~65)
Common Goldeneye (~25)
Common Merganser (6-8)
Bald Eagle (10-11)
Ring Billed Gull (only1)
Herring Gull (75-85)
Thayer's Gull (1-1st year)
KUMLIEN'S ICELAND GULL (1-AD)(Seen on 2nd visit)

Kimball St Bridge/Elgin (8:45-9:15 a.m.)

Here we saw Pete M & Paul Q who just arrived a few minutes before us. Birds seen were:

Canada Geese & Mallards
Ring Billed Gull (only 2)
Herring Gull (~90)
Thayer's Gull (2-AD together)

South Elgin Dam

The only gulls were Herring but we had another 8 Bald Eagles & more Canada Geese.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the 2 (or 1 moving around) Kumlien's Iceland Gull(s) & Runners-Up to the adult Lesser Black Backed Gull & the 2 adult Thayer's Gulls.
We checked briefly for the Barrow's but did not see it.

Kevin Sheely on 1/25 reported via e-mail: While walking the Fox River Trail north of Les Arends Forest Preserve in Batavia on Sunday (01/24/2016), I observed 3 Juvenile Bald Eagles in 1 tree. I was able to quietly watch for almost 30 minutes, from about 50 feet away on the trail.

Bald Eagle, immature

Bald Eagle photos courtesy Kevin Sheely

Bald Eagles, immature

Matthew Schmidt, Jason Newton, and Brendon Lake reported via eBird: An Iceland Gull at the Carpentersville dam.

Kenneth and Maryann Bluett on 1/24 reported via e-mail: Saw this Barred Owl on Saturday, January 23rd, west of St. Charles.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl photo courtesy Kenneth and Maryann Bluett

Brendon Lake on 1/24 reported via e-mail: This afternoon, I went to West Dundee and Carpentersville to try to re-locate the several good gulls seen in the morning. At John Hill Park just before 2:30, the adult Great Black-Backed Gull was present, as was a continuing 3rd cycle Lesser Black-Backed Gull. Up at the Carpentersville Dam, the Great Black-Backed Gull was later seen above the dam, standing side-by-side with an adult Lesser Black-Backed Gull, making for awesome comparisons! Great to the left, and lesser to the right.

Great & Lesser Black-backed Gulls

Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls photo courtesy Brendon Lake

Justin Wrinn on 1/24 reported via IBET: I headed down to the southern half of Kane County this morning after receiving a tip on the secret location of the Long-eared Owl roost. I think I found the spot, but unfortunately I didn't find any owls or even any sign of them. But since I was down there I figured I'd bird a few preserves in the area. I didn't find anything extraordinary, but I did find a couple of year birds (White-crowned Sparrow & Yellow-rumped Warbler). Highlights below.

Nelson Lake:
Cackling Goose (flyover)
Brown-headed Cowbird
19 total species

Aurora West:
American Kestrel
White-crowned Sparrow
20 total species

Bliss Woods:
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-rumped Warbler
17 total species
Missed the Hermit Thrush seen this morning on the Kane Co Audubon outing

Ferson Creek Fen:
Northern Flicker
Song Sparrow
Belted Kingfisher

13 total species

Chris Madsen on 1/24 reported: Participants on the walk led by Mary Ochsenschlager this morning at Bliss Woods Forest Preserve saw a Barred Owl, Tufted Titmouse, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Harrier, and a Hermit Thrush along with the more mundane.

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Vern LaVia on 1/24 reported via IBET: ........there's a pair of Peregrines that roost every night (for the past several years) on the white-cement ledge about 2-3 feet below the top parapet wall of the Leland Tower bldg. in downtown Aurora ( 7 South Stolp Ave, Aurora, IL 60506). They roost on the east side of bldg, so a good place to look for them from dusk to first light in the morn is from directly across the street from the Paramount Theater, near the steps of 8 East Galena Blvd.

The building's east side makes a small "L" shape about 3/4 of the way down the east face, as you head south with your scanning. The female (larger bird) always is in the same spot on the east wall, just before the 'L" notch. The male (smaller) bird sits on the foot of the "L" facing north. I should say I "presume" they are male and female based on clear size difference. But...only time...and fledglings...will tell.

I had my scope set up last night at 11 pm when crowds were letting out of the Paramount Theater's showing of HAIRSPRAY (awesome show, by the way....showing through Feb. 21st....and I'm NOT affiliated with the Paramount in any way...but how often can you tie THEATER and BIRDING into one evening!!!!!????), and several folks were shocked to be able to see them. There's enough City glow light to see them pretty well at night with 10x binos or a scope.

We also erected a Peregrine Falcon nesting box on Saturday, 1/23/16...on the east parapet wall of the Leland Tower. The nesting box is about 25 feet north of the location where the birds tend to roost. ......thank you to Mike Campbell and his friend Jim for doing that for the "good" of the City of Aurora. The pair has been hanging out for 3+ years, but no young have arrived....yet. Hope this box will provide the aid & privacy they need to be successful.

Nick Barber on 1/24 reported via IBET: I had no luck with the Barrow's Goldeneye, but nice gulls along the Fox River today:

Elgin, Kimball St. spillway: 2 Thayer's Gulls - 1 adult (literally the first bird I saw when I got out of my car) and 1 first-year.

Carpentersville Dam: 2 adult Lesser Black-backed, 1 adult Iceland, 1 3rd-year Thayer's, 1 2nd-year Thayer's/Iceland.

Bill Lanning on 1/23 reported via e-mail: Backyard in Wayne 1-23. Banded on right leg. He is here year around.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk photo courtesy Bill Lanning

Vern LaVia on 1/23 reported via IBET: 3 Eagles total: Had an adult eagle in downtown Aurora, perched in tree on Fox River /east bank, just south of SciTech museum....actually saw it from inside SciTech...toasty warm! Also had a 2nd adult and an Immature further south, perched near the metal bike trail bridge. Peace....good birding!

Pete Bertoncini on 1/23 reported via IBET: This morning, around 10AM, we saw a pair of bald eagles, one mature, in the trees across the river from the Gail Borden library in Elgin, Kane County.

John Heneghan on 1/22 reported via e-mail: Came home to 4 Rusty Blackbirds in the yard this evening in Big Rock.

Rusty Blackbirds

Rusty Blackbirds photo courtesy John Heneghan

Sulli Gibson on 1/22 reported via IBET: I've got the continuing male Barrow's Goldeneye at 10:30am, viewing from the Otto Engineering parking lot on the east side of the river. This is just north of the Main St. bridge in Dundee (Kane Co.).

Mark Bowman on 1/21 reported via e-mail: Today at 1:15, I spotted the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at the Carpentersville Dam. It flew around for about 5 minutes and then I did not see it again. I saw Scott Cohrs and Andrew Aldrich at the Elgin Dam off Kimbal St and there were a few THAYERS GULLS present. I did not see the barrows goldeneye at any section that I viewed. There were a few BALD EAGLES around at both places. A pic of the LBB attached: One way that I was able to readily tell him from the other gulls was not only the black back but also the left wing damage that you can see.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Justin Wrinn on 1/21 reported via IBET: I stopped by the West Dundee/Carpentersville area of the Fox River the past two mornings before work from around 7-7:30, hoping to see the Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls that have been reported this week. Both days combined I saw a total of one gull sp. and it was definitely neither of the two targets. So I would advise anyone going gull hunting to wait until later in the day. Now I'm just hoping they will stick around until the weekend. My consolation prize this morning was watching an adult Bald Eagle swoop down and snatch a fish from the water in the middle of a group of very uneasy Canada Geese.

Brendon Lake on 1/20 reported via e-mail: Today, the Fox River in Carpentersville and West Dundee rivaled the lakefront with its gull diversity. Both a Lesser Black-Backed and an adult Great Black-Backed continued in West Dundee today. They were both seen from John Hill Park along Lincoln Avenue at different times. The Great Black-Backed spent a lot of time soaring sky-high while I watched it. A 1st cycle Thayer's Gull gave killer looks while it fished at the Carpentersville Dam as well! Other highlights included three American Coots, four American Black Ducks, and a Sharp-Shinned Hawk all at the dam.

Great Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull photo courtesy Brendon Lake

Thayer's Gull

Thayer's Gull photo courtesy Brendon Lake

Eric Secker on 1/20 reported via IBET: The GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was still present today in Dundee at the Lincoln Ave. parking lot. It wasn't there when I arrived but had returned when I made a second visit. Brendon Lake also had a third cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull at that location and at least one Thayer's Gull up by Carpentersville Dam.

Carl Giometti on 1/20 reported via IBET: ...the continuing barrow's goldeneye was about 150 yards south of the carpentersville dam this morning.

Chris and Jackie Bowman on 1/19 reported via e-mail: After reading Keith McMullen's report on Sunday and Paul Mayer's report Monday, we took off for a Fox River Dam Tour this morning. Starting in Geneva and following Rt 31 North, we were happy to re-locate the Lesser Black-backed Gull in Carpentersville, just south of the Otto Plant at 11:00am, Tuesday, 1/19/16.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull photos courtesy Jackie Bowman

Paul Mayer on 1/18 reported via e-mail: Today at the Kimbel Street bridge in Elgin were four species of gulls. Many Herrings, a few Ring-billeds, one Lesser Black-backed and one Thayer’s. And it was cold!!! (-13F wind chill). Unfortunately I was not able to get pictures of the Lesser Black-backed but the Thayer was very cooperative.

Thayer's Gull

Thayer's Gull photos courtesy Paul Mayer

Thayer's Gull

Marion Miller on 1/17 reported via e-mail: Rich and I enjoyed watching the 15 Eagles perched and fishing in the waters by the water treatment plant in South Elgin on Sunday late afternoon. Trumpeter Swans and Mute Swans continue there. An unexpected pair of Pied-billed Grebes swam from the warm waters near the outlet. Towards the end of our observation many Gulls came flying in, with Herring Gull being the majority but we did pick out one Thayer's. Many Common Goldeneyes were also flying in for the evening.

Trumpeter Swans

Trumpeter Swans, above, and Mute Swans, below, photos courtesy Marion Miller

Mute Swans

Keith McMullen on 1/17 reported via IBET: Barrow's Goldeneye feeding with Commons in Fox River, south several blocks of Otto Building spot, along Lincoln Avenue at pull off overlooking River at John Hill Park. This appears to be the spot Jeff Sanders mentioned from the other day! Lots of Commons at the Otto spot and 100+ big gulls, mostly Herring but an adult Lesser Black-backed was nice as was a near adult Thayer's.
All 4 now!

Chris and Jackie Bowman on 1/16 reported via e-mail: We continue to enjoy views of a visiting Common Redpoll under our backyard feeders since Wednesday, 1/13/16.

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Tim Balassie  on 1/15 reported via e-mail: Stopped by the Secretary of State's offices in Elgin today, and observed an impressive 28 Bald Eagles south along the River. This exceeds by 10 the largest number of Eagles I've seen at this location. Also included were 2 Trumpeter Swans, and 1 Mute Swan.

Rich Miller on 1/15 reported via e-mail: Marion and I strolled through the woods along the creek at Gunnar Anderson FP this morning. Good activity and good looks. Here are two cuties we saw. The WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and WINTER WREN.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow photo courtesy Rich Miller

Winter Wren

Winter Wren photo courtesy Rich Miller

Ted Hartzler on 1/15 reported via eBird: Seeing a Thayer's Gull Friday morning on the Fox River at Otto Engineering in Carpentersville.

Diane Hansen on 1/15 reported via e-mail: I am fully enjoying my new camera which gives me more zoom and have been checking the Fox River in South Elgin just above the dam everyday this week. Most days I have observed 2 bald eagles, one adult and 1 immature. Today I was only able to find an adult perched in a tree on the west side of the river. Yesterday I saw both so the picture of the immature bird is from yesterday.
My new zoom power proved helpful in yesterday's success in seeing the Barrow's goldeneye from quite a distance in a group of common goldeneye. Luckily he gave one good profile so I could make the identification.

Bald Eagle, immature

Bald Eagles, immature above and adult below, photos courtesy Diane Hansen

Bald Eagle

Jeffrey Sanders on 1/14 reported via IBET: ...after missing the barrow's 3 times I finally found it at jack hill park on the south edge of Carpentersville.
it was there from 12:00----1;00 p.m.

jack hill park is at Lincoln ave and 6th street.

Julie Long on 1/11 reported via e-mail: The very cold weather finally brought in a Common Redpoll to my feeders [in St Charles] this morning along with American tree sparrows, a white throated sparrow, many pine siskens, plus the usual feeder birds. Purple finches haven't reappeared yet.

Chris Madsen on 1/10 reported: Carla and I braved winter's chill this morning for a walk at Jon Duerr Forest Preserve. Given the temperature, the birds were more active than anticipated. We hoped to find one of the reported Winter Wrens, but whiffed. Most of what we saw was what one would expect, including one perched adult and a flyover juvenile Bald Eagle. Most fun were our first-of-year Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We came upon these busy-as-a-bee birds about five times, one of those times we had two on opposite sides of the path. This guy was both displaying his ruby-ness and posing nicely.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Later in our walk, we came across an example of life imitating art - Nature's take on Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

"The Scream"

"The Scream" photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Marilyn Bell on 1/10 reported via IBET: The Barrows Goldeneye was with Common Goldeneyes in the usual spot on the Fox River in Carpentersville this afternoon. It was seen from the small parking lot just north of the factory about 3 p.m., north off of Lincoln Avenue.

The raft of ducks was not there at first try. Sighting was on a return trip and after some good viewing, all took off north but low.

Justin Wrinn on 1/8 reported via IBET: This morning instead of my usual Burnidge morning, I decided to go to Binnie FP to look for Redpolls. I only got poor looks at a small flock flying away, so I plan to go back at some point to try and see the large feeding flocks others have been reporting. But on the way there, I got a nice surprise. As I was driving past Advocate Sherman Hospital on Randall Rd around 7AM, a Short-eared Owl flew west across the road right in front of my car. It looked like it was heading towards the small wooded area on the west side of Randall opposite the hospital.

Besides the Redpolls, other highlights at Binnie were Pine Siskin, Fox Sparrow, and Snow Bunting (1 of each).

Julie Long on 1/5 reported via IBET: I thought I would verify that there was a varied thrush for a week in ST Charles in late Nov/early Dec. It was at a friend of mine's house and was first seen by a teenage daughter who thought it was a weird robin. That was on Friday, Nov. 27. I was out of town until Sat night so was not able to get there until Sunday, Nov. 29 although Chris Cudworth saw it on Sat. Nov 28 to verify its ID. The home is on a private street with limited access and parking. They generously allowed us to view it from inside the house since it was not visible from the street. It was eating seeds under the bird feeders, close to the house. I visited with limited numbers of birders until Friday, Dec. 4 when it was last seen that morning and it has not been seen since.

The yard was perfect habitat, with very large evergreens, fruit trees, shrubs, native grasses. It is a large property that abuts Ferson Creek.

Eric & Sally Secker on 1/4 reported via IBET: We had a productive afternoon checking the Fox River in West Dundee and Carpentersville.

At the Carpentersville Dam, the gulls were far more scattered, feeding and flying high during the middle of the day, but there were at least two THAYER'S GULLS present at times below the dam including one nice adult and also a fairly pale first cycle bird. A flock of about 210 AMERICAN ROBINS flying by was a surprise and beats my previous highest winter tally from the western suburbs (185 at Hidden Lake F.P., 17 Jan 2004). I've also had as many as 80 AMERICAN ROBINS at Judson University along with flocks of CEDAR WAXWINGS.

At the parking lot east of the river by the OTTO factory there were about 40 COMMON GOLDENEYE, 1 female HOODED MERGANSER, and a GREAT BLUE HERON. The first cycle THAYER'S GULL also appeared here with a large group of gulls that were flying down from the dam area.

After a stop at the Starbucks on Rt. 31 up the hill, we headed over to look for the Barrow's for my 2016 list. At the usual lot along Lincoln Ave. between the OTTO factory and Rt. 72, the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was still present and came right in front of our car close to shore which was a nice treat (within about 40'). If you stay in your car, you'll greatly improve your chances of these birds coming in close and getting better views than even in your scope. I've watched a lot of photographers and birders scare them to the far shore as soon as they get out. Other nice birds included a male GREEN-WINGED TEAL, an AMERICAN COOT, and a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS.

We then went back to Carpentersville Dam to see if there was any turnover in gulls or birds starting to come in for the evening. There were fewer gulls unfortunately. I did spot a perched SHARP-SHINNED HAWK in the bushes across the river. Later, a nice adult BALD EAGLE flew by in the sun - flying right behind a photographer who had been there for quite some time but was walking away with his back to the river right when it came through. Later, a huge swarm of gulls took up to the air from somewhere up river out of sight - presumably stirred up by the eagle. It was neat to watch the tornado of gulls circling in the sun against the dark clouds behind. Thanks to that lighting, within that group I was fortunate to pick out an adult ICELAND GULL in the scope that was circling with the group.

Justin Wrinn on 1/3 reported via IBET: There was an adult Iceland Gull at Carpentersville Dam late this morning, flying around the dam with many Ring-billed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls. It was pointed out to me by Oliver Burrus (who posted a couple of photos on eBird) and his father. I relocated what I thought was the same bird around 2PM, but it didn't look quite the same - mainly I couldn't see any dark in the primaries like I had earlier. It looked more like a Glaucous. But i can't say for sure at this point. It landed on the ice just south of the island north of the dam with a bunch of other gulls. I took some digiscope pics, and I will post tonight if I looks like it may have actually been a Glaucous or a second Iceland rather than the same Iceland. And then I slipped on the ice on the way back to my car, cutting my nose and breaking my tripod (fortunately not my scope). But it was still worth it to see the bird...

Bob Andrini on 1/3 reported via e-mail: Here's one of the highlight birds seen on the KCA New Year's Day walk at Hickory Knolls Natural Area.

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Chris Madsen on 1/2 reported: On a swing out west after lunch today, Carla and I came across 15 Common Redpolls feeding in the alders on the south end of Elburn Forest Preserve; a flock of about 100 Snow Buntings (and to our observations, only snow buntings) in a field at the northwest corner of the intersection of Meredith and McNulty roads; and maybe 12 Horned Larks on Seavey Road, close to Route 47.

Al Stokie on 1/2 reported via IBET: Main target today was the returning Goldeneye in West Dundee. Bob Erickson & I arrived at 7:10 a.m. to find no Goldeneyes near the Rt 72 bridge where I had seen the Barrow's the previous 2 years. Next to the footbridge area where we saw 12 Goldeneye but no Barrow's. Then we found another group of 10 Goldeneye farther north but no Barrow's. After looking for 35 min we decided to check by the dam & then return if need be. Bob was closing up the scope tripod when 2 Goldeneye landed right in front of us & one was the male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE. Two minutes later & we would have been gone so once in a while I have good luck & today was that kind of day. We then checked the dam area & found another 25-30 Goldeneye, even more than in the area with the Barrow's. The Barrow's was seen by us right by that small parking lot north of the footbridge.

Other Highlights:

Half a block from the Barrow's Bob heard & then we saw a YELLOW BELLIED SAPSUCKER. One adult BALD EAGLE flew by near the Rt 72 bridge. At the Carpentersville Dam area we saw 2 more adult Bald Eagles fighting & along the trail were 2 Brown Creepers & in the river was 1 BLACK DUCK.

Nothing at the South Elgin Dam except Ring Billed & Herring Gulls a few Mallards.

At the Jon Durr F.P. we found 1st 1 & then a 2nd WINTER WREN, a Flicker & 4 Creepers. Bob kept hearing G.C. Kinglets but we never saw them. But he did find a RUBY CROWNED KINGLET which I see on ebird that someone else saw as well. All I saw was that bird flying away! A young Bald Eagle flew by here as well which was #4 for the day. We heard but did not see a flying Eastern Bluebird.

In the Fox River at St. Charles we saw a D.C. CORMORANT, a male Common Merganser & 1 Swan which seemed to be a young MUTE SWAN. This was across from a Boy Scout building off Rt 31.

Regina McNulty on 1/2 reported via IBET: [At 1 PM] Barrows goldeneye is still along the fox river. Easily seen from the parking lot of the sheet metal company on lincoln avenue west dundee. With a bunch of common goldeneyes and mallards

Rich Miller on 1/2 reported via e-mail: Just two of the birds spotted during the first of 12 monthly [KCA Nelson Lake] walks. We're off to a good start.

Red-tailed Hawk/Great Horned Owl composite

Red-tailed Hawk/Great Horned Owl composite photo courtesy Rich Miller

Joe Lill on 1/2 reported via IBET: The Fox River Barrow's Goldeneye was present at 10:00 this morning, easily viewed (from the car!) from the sheet metal company parking lot just north of the apartments on the west side of the Fox River in West Dundee. A fine lifer for my daughter, Caitlin!

An immature Bald Eagle flew south just over the river, seen from the Village Squire parking lot.

Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Walter Lutz on 1/1 reported via e-mail: I discovered yesterday Binnie Forest Preserve just west of Randall Road (in unincorporated Dundee I think) is a great place to find Common Redpolls. Saw many feeding on the seeds of different trees in a couple areas. Per Ebird in past years they've also been seen there in large numbers.

Joan Norek on 1/1 reported via IBET: A further comment on the Barrow's Goldeneye. Today it was a very easy find. It is associating with the Common Goldeneyes and there are only about 25-30 of them. So if it is not with one small group it will be seen with the other small group.

Today within about a half hour it was viewable from the Main Street bridge, from the small park along the west side of the river north of Main St. and from the small parking lot north of the small park. It was hard to miss despite the moving up and down the river.

Scott Latimer on 1/1 reported via IBET: There is a N Shrike along the entrance road from the west entrance [of Fermi]. It was seen in trees along road about 1/2 way from entrance and the guard gate. Actively flying from tree to tree. Happy New Year

Joan Norek on 1/1 reported via IBET: Barrow's [Goldeneye] present this morning in West Dundee.


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