Ethan and Aaron Gyllenhaal on 7/30 reported via IBET: We...checked the spot where the probable Mottled Duck was, but were unsuccessful. We then went to Nelson Lake, which had normal birds and awesome numbers of Pearl Crescents (a type of butterfly). At Saur Family Preserve, there were Dickcissels galore, Western Meadowlarks, Sedge Wrens, and Marsh Wrens. Also there are plenty of butterflies, including an Eastern Tails Blue and a bunch of bright Black Swallowtails.

Jackie Bowman on 7/28 reported via IBET: On our way home tonight, my husband, Chris, and I stopped by the floodle just west of the University Horicultural Gardens at Peck Rd. and Rt. 38 in Kane County. We observed 16 Mallards in the far Northwest corner of the floodle and what appeared to be the MOTTLED DUCK in the Southeast corner approximately 20 yards from Rt. 38.

Please note that there is a large pond on Peck Road just South of the Campton Hills Athletic Fields and there were no waterfowl seen there. This floodle is further south of the pond and is visible from Rt. 38. There is a pull off area on the shoulder of the Rt. 38 just West of Peck Road with execellant viewing.

Additionally we noted many shorebirds(including peeps) in the mud surrounding this floodle. Too bad we didn't have our boots to go in for a closer look.

Greg Neise on 7/28 reported via IBET: Jeff Skrentny and I were at the spot indicated this evening at about 5pm, and did not see anything that could be called a Mottled Duck. There were two barnyard ducks present...but nothing that even came close to looking like a MODU.

Maybe it will be back in the morning.

Bob Fisher on 7/28 reported via IBET: Using Scott Cohr's excellent map and directions, I relocated the [Mottled] duck among some Mallards in the flooded field northwest of the intersection of Peck Rd and Rte 38 (Roosevelt Rd). The buffy face and throat made it easy to separate from the Mallards, and I was able to get a good scope view of the black spot on the gape. The bill is grayish green in color, suggesting a female? As Scott mentioned, the white edging on the speculum is very narrow and hard to see..

I stayed scope distance away, but the ducks and shorebirds were skittish; the Mallards and the Mottled Duck flew twice, but only moved from the north end of the fluddle to the south end along Roosevelt Rd, and then back again.

Scott Cohrs on 7/28 reported via IBET: Last evening I had long views of a dark dabbler that seems pretty consistent with Mottled Duck. I got Jon Duerr on the location and bird this morning and he confirmed that it is still present and noted the same field marks. Quick summary of the field marks below:

* Darker duck, noticeably darker than the Mallards present. Dark, warm-brown coloration.
* Head and neck were a different color than body (much lighter) and there was a line of demarcation between body and neck.
* Speculum was much darker than the Mallards. Depending on the light angle, it looked almost like a deep purple, but varied with the lighting.
* The bordering white on the speculum was much narrower than that of the Mallards.
* Bill was a very dull olive/yellow, solid in coloration. Perhaps indicative of a female/immature?
* Looked a tad smaller than the Mallards present.

The bird was fairly lethargic as I was watched, and also for Jon this morning. It sat on the side of the flooded area and didn't move much at all. It did not associate with the Mallards that were present.

The bird is located just south of Campton Hills (West Side Park) on Peck Rd. in St. Charles/Campton Hills. I have created a Google Map with the best parking/viewing locations and a pinpoint of where the bird is hanging out. The bird is actually on private property, so please follow the suggestions on my map. I think the flooded area is on some type of University of Illinois farm research plot, and I don't want to anger my alma mater. It will make sense when you get there, but park in the large lot and walk south across the soccer/football fields to view the flooded area. It is south of the large retention pond.

I have seen one IL Mottled Duck and several in Florida, but I know they can be tricky. Thoughts on the bird would be appreciated. Let me know if you have any questions.

Ron Dickenson on 7/27 reported via e-mail: More eagle photos from the Mooseheart nest.

Eagle and eaglet

The child appears to be larger than the parent in this photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Eaglet in flight

Eaglet in flight photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Ron Dickenson on 7/26 reported via e-mail: The [eaglets] are still here and the adult eagles are still feeding them. The eaglets did a lot of flying around today until one of the adult eagles brought them a fish and dropped it in the nest.

Mooseheart eaglets

Mooseheart's eaglets photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Mooseheart eagle and eaglet flying

Mooseheart eagle and eaglet flying photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Nandu Dubey on 7/24 reported via IBET: I went to Nelson Lake Marsh Nature Preserve/Dick Young Forest Preserve for an ILYB trip (didn't know it was canceled because of the rain) in Kane County. I took the trails with my family and I saw Northern Harriers, Coopers Hawks, and, Red-tailed Hawks. I also saw many Eastern Meadowlarks and Northern Flickers.

Here is my full list For Nelson Lake

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Least Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Kingbird
Blue Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Marsh Wren
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

Good Birding!!

Mark Bowman on 7/24 reported via e-mail: A pair of RUBY THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS have been coming to my flowers and feeder more frequently lately. It is the first time I have seen the male this year [past few days]

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird photo courtesy Mark Bowman

Marion Miller on 7/23 reported via e-mail: Enjoyed watching the male cardinal feed his chick in the plum tree in our front yard (Batavia)

Cardinal and chick

Cardinal tending to young photo courtesy Marion Miller

Ron Dickenson on 7/19 reported via e-mail: Here's a pictorial update on the Mooseheart eaglets. Ron reports that both are now flying in and out of the nest tree.

Mooseheart eaglets

Mooseheart eaglets photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Mooseheart eaglets

Mooseheart eaglets photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Rich Miller on 7/18 reported via e-mail: Marion and I saw at least 4, possibly 6 Green Herons on the evening of July 16th at the pond in Batavia, behind the Kohlís. One of the green herons was near the pondís edge close to the sidewalk area. On Sunday afternoon, July 18th we were successful in locating the marsh area at Prairie Green in Geneva and saw 2 Yellow-headed Blackbirds. During our walk out to the marsh we saw 2 Ring-necked Pheasants, an Indigo Bunting, Dickcissels, Song Sparrows and a Great Blue Heron. Along the shore we identified many Killdeer, a Spotted Sandpiper and 2 Meadowlarks. Also saw three groups of American Coots on the water. One group consisted of the 2 adult birds and 6 baby chicks which displayed the bright red bills and red bald heads.

Green Heron

Green Heron photo courtesy Rich Miller

Yellow-headed Blackbird photo courtesy Rich Miller

Marion Miller on 7/13 reported via e-mail: Rich and I went to the observation deck off Fabyan Rd at Peck Farm on July 12th in the evening and immediately saw cedar waxwings, common crackles, red-winged black birds, common yellowthroats and song sparrows.

The evening of July 13th we decided to pass by our favorite Batavia neighborhood small pond/marsh behind the Kohl's for a quick look at the Green Herons and Ducks and noticed a thick white object at the far end of the pond. We didn't bring our scope and only had our binoculars which didn't provide us with a real clear view. We did have our digital camera and just zoomed out and took a few shots of it. When we got home and downloaded the pictures we were amazed to see we had spotted our first Black-crowned Night Heron.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow photo courtesy Marion Miller

Sue Wagoner on 7/11 reported via e-mail: Pat Prieditis and I explored Prairie Green July 11 and were pleased with the gorgeous wildflowers as well as the birds. Seen and heard were Dickcissels (many), Indigo buntings, Savannah sparrows, Meadowlark, Yellow-headed blackbirds defending their territories, Kildeer, Spotted sandpipers and Coots, mature and immature.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Savannah Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow photo courtesy Sue Wagoner

Sue Wagoner on 7/11 reported via e-mail: This photo was taken by my boss, June Podjasek (perhaps a budding birder!) at Eaglebrook Golf Course [in Geneva] where she golfs regularly. She has seen this Sandhill crane family for weeks, and first saw the "colt" when it was about a foot tall (but she was without her camera). So nice to see successful Sandhill nesting!

Sandhill Cranes with colt

Sandhill Cranes with colt photo courtesy June Podjasek

Bryan Hix on 7/10 reported via e-mail: I had an exciting sighting right in my Gilberts backyard yesterday. I was out deadheading some flowers and heard quite a ruckus in a large tree behind our house. There were easily 20 robins swarming a bird sitting high up on a branch. I figured it was just the Cooper's Hawk that frequently visits to grab an unattentive bird. However, I stopped to check it out and it looked different so I grabbed by binoculars and I clearly, without a doubt saw it was a Peregrine Falcon. Eventually it flew off the branch and began to fly in large circles as all the birds chased him. Then it flew higher up and dove very quickly on some of the birds in mid-air directly above me where I could clearly see it was a Peregrine. It was unbelievable as I have only ever seen one live in downtown Chicago on a building.

Bob Andrini on 7/8 reported via e-mail: He and Kathy had this House Wren performing in their backyard.

House Wren

House Wren photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Ken Schneider on 7/6 reported via e-mail: Mary Lou and I once again tried to find the Clay-colored Sparrows at Aurora West Forest Preserve, to no avail. Arriving around 7:15 AM, we spent over an hour scanning the area around the model airplane field. We did see a Yellow-breasted Chat that was calling, flying up and singing on the way down, about 100 yards east of the field. I photographed the chat for documentation purposes, but it was back-lit and too far away for a decent image. There were a few Song Sparrows present, and we heard Field Sparrows singing in the open areas, one Brown Thrasher and a Great-crested Flycatcher.

There were several non-vocal flycatchers present in the open habitat east of the flying field. Their wings had two fairly bright bars, they lacked conspicuous eye rings, had pale loral lines and their wings looked shorter than those of a wood-pewee. Undertail coverts were clear rather than smudged as in wood-pewees, pointing to Traill's complex, but I believe the relatively dry habitat favors Willow Flycatcher.

We saw no bobwhites in the area to the west of the parking lot where we flushed the covey and the pheasant yesterday morning.

Probable Willow Flycatcher

Probable Willow Flycatcher. Photo courtesy Ken Schneider.

Ron Dickenson on 7/5 reported via e-mail: The bigger Eaglet of the two was off flying around the nest today. It flew around the nest three different times while we were there this morning. Here is a picture of the eaglet taking off, flying, and landing with a red winged black bird right on his tail when landing. Could have had more sun light - would have had better pictures but at least I got these.

Mooseheart eaglet

Mooseheart eaglet returning to nest with a Red-winged Blackbird in pursuit.
Photo courtesy Ron Dickenson.

Mark Bowman on 7/5 reported via e-mail: Yesterday, I was standing in my neighbors backyard talking when I saw a bird fly from my yard across his backyard about fifteen feet up in front of us. I thought it was a blue jay at first given its size and shape. As it got closer I thought it was an odd looking blue jay and then I saw the long tail and could tell it was dull colored. Thats when I realized it was a black-billed or yellow-billed CUCKOO. It went into one of my neighbors trees and I tried to look for it but could not find him. It was certainly an unusual site since I live in the middle of town. The nearest woods to me is Delnor and Norris woods

Ken Schneider on 7/5 reported via e-mail: Mary Lou and I visited West Aurora Forest Preserve for the first time this morning, in search of the Clay-colored Sparrows. Started by walking the undeveloped path to the west from the parking lot, and, at the top of the rise, encountered a covey of 6-8 quail, going away fast (presumably Northern Bobwhite, but I do not know whether exotic quail may have been introduced by local hunters). A female pheasant flushed up along with the quail.

We then took the main path to north and found the airplane field and walked the perimeter, but neither heard nor saw any Spizella sparrows. Next, we walked the grassy path at the east of the parking lot. To the north, along the power lines, near the termination of West Indian Trail, we saw what looked like an immature Clay-colored Sparrow. Photos show it was accompanied by an adult that looks very much like a Field Sparrow, so we dipped on the Clay-colored. Maybe we can try again tomorrow before going back to Florida!

More photos on my Flickr page.

Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo photo courtesy Ken Schneider

Rich and Marion Miller on 7/5 reported via e-mail: After enjoying the July 3rd walk around Nelson Lake led by Terry Murray, we decided to revisit the Audubon Bridge area on the path on Sunday July 4th around 7pm. We spotted an Eastern Phoebe, Bobolinks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Song Sparrow, Sandhill Crane, Great Blue Heron and many Barn Swallows. Viewing the feeding of some young barn swallows that were perched on a shrub was the highlight of this walk. We also spotted a deer laying in the field.

Tom Lebryk on 7/3 reported via e-mail: 18 or so people showed up for the morning Lake Nelson Loop walk led by Terry Murray. In the group was a photographer from Daily Herald which may run a birding story. Seen on the 3 mile walk were Indigo Bunting, way too many Cowbirds!, the usual Red-Wing Blackbirds, Sparrows, and Grackle, 2 Caspian Terns over the lake, a Green Heron resting on a stream log, Great Blue Heron, 2 Wood ducks, Cormorant, Barn and Tree Swallows, Bobolink, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Meadowlark, House Wren, Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat. Seeing the Green Heron through Terry's spotting scope was a great highlight!

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat photo courtesy Tom Lebryk

Ron Dickenson on 7/2 reported via e-mail: They were busy going from branch to branch today. Should be flying soon.

Mooseheart's eaglets

Mooseheart's eaglets photo courtesy Ron Dickenson

Mark Bowman on 7/1 reported via e-mail: At Aurora West Forest preserve a few days ago, the CLAY COLORED SPARROWS were very active and vocal. HENSLOW SPARROWS were also active but a lot farther out toward the north part of the preserve. the clay colored were east of the airplane field.


 Clay-colored Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow photo courtesy Mark Bowman


This page last updated Thursday October 11, 2012.

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