July 2007 Sightings


Karen Lund on 7/31 reported via IBET: I was unable to relocate the avocet Eric reported yesterday. I was there from 1 to 1:30 this afternoon. However, it was nice to learn there is a way to get a better view of that area. I've always checked it from the Trout Park River Trail on the east side of the river.

Eric Secker on 7/31 reported via IBET: We went to Big Rock F.P. on Sunday afternoon. There weren't any unusual birds, but we had SCARLET TANAGER, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, and other regulars.
More notable were all the unusual butterflies at the preserve. We had FOUR Giant Swallowtails in different areas of the preserve and TWO Pipevine Swallowtails. I have seen Spicebush Swallowtails in northern Illinois, but I can't recall ever seeing Pipevine Swallowtails in the Chicago area before. I
know that I had only seen a Giant Swallowtail once before this year in the Chicago area (one that flew through our yard about ten years ago). I have also had Giant Swallowtails this summer at... Trout Park in Kane Co. (Elgin). It has also been a fairly good year for American Snouts (last year was also a good year).

Eric Secker on 7/30 reported via IBET: I'm up at Judson College in Elgin right now and just came across an AMERICAN AVOCET on the mudflat down by the Fox River. To get there use the side entrance to the college located on Rt. 31 just north of Big Timber Rd. and south of I-90. (not the big entrance at the stoplight.) Follow the road down and just past the stop sign and then take the curve right down the hill to a parking lot by the baseball field. At the west end of the ball field is a trail that will take you down to the river where the Avocet is located.

Ari Shavit on 7/30 reported via IBET: I saw a yellow billed cuckoo at lone grove forest preserve saturday evening. The mosquitos at lone grove are fierce and there are many.

Darrell Shambaugh on 7/11 reported via IBET: I made my fourth foray to Campton Hills to try and find a Blue Grosbeak and a Summer Tanager, but the coolest thing I found was a family of five flickers. They were in a tree along the prison fence south of the trail intersection. Even without the Sumer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak, I had a nice late afternoon walk. Campton Hills is a wonderful place to bird. Other birds seen were EASTERN KINGBIRD, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, INDIGO BUNTING, WOOD THRUSH (heard only), COOPER'S HAWK, PURPLE MARTIN (Lots of martins. There are several houses near the gardens, and martins are zooming around all over the place) COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, GREY CATBIRD, and NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD. I've seen a mockingbird at Campton Hills on three of my four trips, always in the garden area. I wish the Summer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak were this easy to find.
I checked the Kaneland High school pond on the way home, but there were no shorebirds, only Mallards and Barn Swallows.

Christopher Cudworth on 7/11 reported via IBET: I was able to locate a female BLUE GROSBEAK at Campton Hills this morning. There are obviously multiple pairs here as the bird I located was 3/4 way west through the preserve where the trail enters dense vegetation next to a soybean field. I observed the bird and moved away to avoid disturbing any nesting.
Also seen at this spot however were a number of other species, including ORCHARD ORIOLE, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, EASTERN KINGBIRD, TREE SWALLOW, RED TAILED HAWK.
A very productive walk (8:30-11:00 a.m., 68 degrees) in along and back the trail that starts at the gardens and heads up and over the prairie covered hill. Veer left at bottom of the hill and the trail goes in an out of oak forest. Here I found WOOD THRUSH and a singing SCARLET TANAGER but alas, no Summer Tanager as yet. Many, many INDIGO BUNTING and a special treat, a family of very active and singing BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER. I found this family of six birds cavorting in a little
dropoff from the main trail. The trail is coated with cinders and lined with sumac and berry bushes. But you can look right in at the family 20 feet away. A ROBIN was anting or something in the dirt/gravel. It sat with its eyes droopy open and preened. I could not see it holding ants but I've seen this behavior before and it resembled that closely.
Further up the trail I found an actively feeding YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. What a hunter this bird was. The cuckoo was seen in an open glade where a grassy trail leads north. Here I found a surprising array of butterflies. Bring your cameras. I had buckeye, fritillary, question mark, mourning cloak, (red) banded skipper (someone email me, I'll send you a pic for confirmation) and viceroy along with wood nymphs and more. Really, even us novice butterfliers have a field day here. Whoever mentioned the number of butterflies in a previous post was sure right. When the birding gets slow, look down, don't you know.

Roger Reason on 7/10 reported via IBET: The Northern Mockingbird and Male Blue Grosbeak (at Campton Hills Park) were observed on 10 July late AM in the same areas as described in previous postings. The Summer Tanagers were not seen.

Bob Andrini on 7/9 reported via e-mail: Kath and I went out Monday morning at Campton Hills Park. Thanks to Chris Madsen's comment about the metallic chip note, after about 45 minutes (when we were getting ready to leave) we heard the note and the female Blue Grosbeak flew for some good observation.

Female Blue Grosbeak at Campton Hills Park.
Photo courtesy of Bob Andrini.

Jeffrey Sanders on 7/7 reported via IBET: I was at Campton Hills Park from 7:30 am until 2:00 pm. no blue grosbeaks or summer tanagers were seen. Below were the highlights:
orchard oriole--6
yellow throated and warbling vireos
blue gray gnatcatcher-- 2 pair
rose-breasted grosbeak--2 pair
scarlet tanager-pair
turkey vulture
red-tailed hawks--making lazy circles in the sky.

Scott Cohrs on 7/3 reported via IBET: The string of success at the Campton Hills gardens and surrounding woods continues. I ran into Mike Madsen this morning in the parking lot, and we walked the trails west of the picnic pavilion. We were able to relocate most of the birds from yesterday, including 1 Summer Tanager and the Blue Grosbeak pair. Again, it appears they are nesting so use caution when trying to relocate the Grosbeak. With patience, you should be able to stand near the trail intersection and eventually see them. The call note is distinctive; it would help to try and key in on that. The female perched twice in a dead snag and preened, so she is somewhat cooperative. While walking back to the parking lot, we stopped briefly in a clearing hoping for a cuckoo. I happened to look up and see a strange shorebird circling overhead. It turned out to be an Upland Sandpiper. I know of no breeding locations near by, so tough to say where this bird came from. Al Stokie called me last night to tell me he had 2 (Northern) mockingbirds in the yard across from the entrance to Campton Gardens. Mike and I were able to see both of them in the yard again this morning. It appears that they may be nesting in a spruce. I happened to meet the man who lives there while he was walking his dog, and he mentioned that the birds have been around most of the summer.

Scott Cohrs on 7/2 reported via IBET: The "Camptagonia" Gardens (ed: Campton Hills Park) just west of St. Charles continue to produce some great birds. This morning I had more time available and decided to head back and explore the area some more. I walked the trail west from the picnic shelter for about a mile as it paralleled the north side of the boys detention center. Dan Williams had indicated he had both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos there on Saturday, and I was able to pick those up fairly quickly as I walked through the open woods (thanks Dan!).
I had 3 (!!) Summer Tanagers along the way. The first was singing in the first grove of trees west of the picnic shelter. The other 2 were along the fence line heading west. One bird seemed to be on the prison grounds, while the other seemed to be just north of the fence.
I had taken the trail west past the prison property and was walking south along a soybean field when some loud chip/scold notes caught my attention. When I finally got on the bird it turned out to be a female Blue Grosbeak. As I watched her, I heard a male sing a partial song just to the east. I never was able to see the male, but I watched the female for a good 5 minutes. I told Jon Duerr about these birds when I returned to the parking lot. He was able to relocate the female in the same spot about an hour later.
If anyone attempts to relocate these birds, please use common sense. They appear to be very territorial and I would assume nesting in the hedges near by. This is a pretty uncommon breeding species for the county so I don't want to infringe on their success in any way.
Other species present were approximately 5 Orchard Orioles and 2 Wood Thrushes. I did not see the mocker, but I only gave a half-hearted look.

Christopher Cudworth on 7/1 reported via IBET: There has been an ORCHARD ORIOLE singing at the trailhead to the Great Western Trail at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles. The trailhead is located one-half mile west of Randall Road on Dean Street west of St. Charles. Dean Street is located one-half mile north of Route 64 on Randall Road. From Route 31 go one-half mile west on 64 and turn north to find Dean. The bird is singing more than one-half its song, however.


This page last updated Thursday October 11, 2012.

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