MARCH 2014 SIGHTINGS
Brendon Lake on 3/31 reported
via IBET: I just got back home from a short walk at my neighborhood
park, the Burlington Park, and had a small flock of shorebirds in the corn
field adjacent to the eastern border of the park. There were 2 Lesser
Yellowlegs, several Pectoral Sandpipers, several Least
Sandpipers, the usual Killdeer and a lone Wilson's Snipe
between a shallow fluddle near Burlington Road and a slightly bigger
fluddle visible from the east end of the park. Northern Shovelers,
Mallards and Wood Ducks were in a larger fluddle further out.
Pat Asher on 3/31 reported via IBET: This afternoon, while driving home on Rte. 72 (Higgins Rd.) in East Dundee near Rte. 25, traffic was stopped ahead of me just before the left turn to Walmart (westbound). As I peeked around the cars I could see a brown and white longer necked bird cross the road and go into the brush on the other side. The cars in my lane crept ahead slowly and I could finally see why. There was a male ring-necked pheasant on the median looking at traffic.
This was probably the last bird I'd expect to see in that location! I hope he got across safely.
I haven't been able to see the Sandhills the last few days but have been hearing them as they pass.
Eric Secker on 3/31 reported via IBET: There's a steady stream of Sandhill Cranes and hawks flying over right now. Also just had a group of about 20 American White Pelicans fly over along the Fox River in Dundee.
Scott Cohrs on 3/31 reported via eBird: A Thayer's Gull in "Excel pond" off Indian Trail east of Orchard Road.
Chris Mussachio on 3/31
reported via e-mail: Found this Great Horned Owl near Gilberts
to keep me busy this spring.
Brendon Lake on 3/30 reported
via e-mail: With nice, steady southerly winds today, I thought it would
be conducive to migration of raptors, cranes and hopefully, pelicans. I was
right! I was joined by the Millers for nearly two plus hours spent watching
the skies over the Fox River in St. Charles, which produced 86 migrating
American White Pelicans! In addition to the pelicans, over 200
Sandhill Cranes were migrating, four Cooper's Hawks flew past in
various directions, and it seemed like Red-Tailed Hawks and
Turkey Vultures could be seen in the sky at any time in almost any
Marjorie Pries & Paul Baker
on 3/30 reported via IBET: Others have beaten us to the postings but we
saw the BARROW'S GOLDEN-EYE in West Dundee on the west side of the
Fox River by the Village Squire restaurant about 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Sunday.
Thanks to Al & K (Ken or Kevin?) who pointed the direction. Great looks
were available to all. The duck appeared to have a mate with him... They
had a habit of drifting down-river to the Main St. bridge and then flying
north to just below the dam. So be prepared to wait or survey the whole
stretch if you try for them this week.
Kathy Benedetto on 3/30 reported via e-mail: As I enjoyed a hike with the family in burnidge forest preserve today, overhead I could hear and see many groups of sandhill cranes. Probably close to 100 or so!
Keith McMullen on 3/30 reported via IBET: Al Welby found the BARROW'S GOLDENEYE at 9:15 and I was lucky to arrive and meet Al and a couple others who were on the bird just off the parking lot for The Village Squire. Nice bird and displaying for a female COMMON.
Brendon Lake on 3/29 reported
via e-mail: A sighting of Greater Yellowlegs at Jelke Creek Bird
Sanctuary yesterday meant that I had to go there today. Two were still
present today, along with Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Green-Winged
Teal, Turkey Vulture and Red-Tailed Hawk. A stop at Gunnar-Anderson
Forest Preserve produced a Hermit Thrush and two Golden-Crowned
Kinglets at the woods on the south end of the preserve. I was also able
to make it over to see the Trumpeter Swan at the location Chris
Chris Madsen on 3/29
reported: Acting on a phone tip from Pete Moxon, Carla and I, late this
afternoon, scooted over to the pond west of the parking lot at Persinger
Recreation Center on Kaneville Road in Geneva to catch a Trumpeter Swan.
Also present among the Canada geese was a Cackling Goose.
Cary Hillegonds on 3/29 reported via IBET: Did not find the Barrow's Goldeneye in West Dundee. There was a BALD EAGLE flyover. I was there between 11:15 and 12:30.
Brendon Lake on 3/28 reported via e-mail: Today I had three new year birds in Kane County, with the highlight easily being the first one, a Common Loon this morning at Boy Scout Island. I had caught a glimpse of something diving south of Boy Scout Island while driving by that I had to check out. I turned around, and found it to be a Horned Grebe along with 3 Pied-Billed Grebes at the far south end of the cove. I then found the loon immediately when I began searching the river. From there, I ended up at Gunnar-Anderson Forest Preserve, behind the Kane County Government Center in Geneva, and found a single Golden-Crowned Kinglet in the woods at the south end. Finally, I needed American Wigeon for the year, so I headed down to Mighell Road where the Millers reported having seen some, and found two in addition to Redhead, Ring-Necked Duck, Blue and Green-Winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, many Northern Pintail and Gadwall.
Chris Mussachio on 3/28
reported via e-mail: 1st Great Egret of the year stopped in
Carpentersville for a photo shoot and hope many more will follow soon.
Also photographed my first ever Common Loon in St. Charles, but that
was only possible thanks to Brendon Lake for giving me the tip where to
Chris Madsen on 3/28 reported: I chased Marion's loon post early this afternoon and struck out. Went back to Boy Scout Island in St. Charles at 5 and was more lucky. Besides seeing the Common Loon, I also saw a pair of Horned Grebes, at least a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Buffleheads, 40 - 50 American Coots all in the cove, a pair of Wood Ducks, 10 (?) Greater Scaup, 3 Pied-billed Grebes, and many Common Mergansers.
A caution: although I saw the loon, I was on the island for an hour and the bird was visible for only about 5 minutes. It was not evident when I first arrived. After about 15 minutes it appeared in the middle of the river. I snapped a few handheld photos (good enough for verification, not for posting), then returned to the car to retrieve a tripod. I never saw the bird again.
Diane Hansen on 3/28 reported via e-mail: I saw the Millers post on IBET this morning about Northern Pintails which is on the top of my "to see" list since I got my first field guide with a photo of one on the dust jacket.
We drove out to Sugar Grove and from a great distance did see some and I could also make out some Northern Shovelers. The rest of the birds in my shots are a bit more difficult to identify but hopefully contain some of the other birds the Millers saw. We got a much better look at some Redheads, a first for me, as we were heading back north on rt. 47 not too far from Jericho Road.
Also saw my first Killdeers
of the year.
Scott Cohrs on 3/28 reported via eBird: Four White-winged Scoters, presumed to be continuing birds, on the river at the Japanese Gardens in Fabyan Forest Preserve.
Vince Moxon on 3/28 reported via IBET: [Barrow's Goldeneye] Still present around noon opposite Squires restaurant [north of the Route 72 bridge].
Marion Miller on 3/28 reported via text message: A Common Loon off the southern tip of Boy Scout Island in St. Charles at 12:36 PM.
Bill Koch on 3/28 reported via e-mail: At 12:30 pm a Common Loon was present above the South Elgin dam. At least three each of Hooded, Common and Red Breasted Mergansers were there. 7 Ruddy Ducks and 1 Great Blue Heron were the only other birds viewed.
Bob Meierhans on 3/28
reported via e-mail: While neighbors spotted four Sandhill Cranes
across Rt. 47 from our Nottingham Woods subdivision nearly two weeks ago,
today is the first time that "Sandy" has been back knocking at my office
window. This makes the sixth year in a row the bird has exhibited this
Marion Miller on 3/28 reported via IBET: Large fluddle south of Jericho and east of Mighell Rd. Over 100 NORTHERN PINTAIL! Also at least 10 AMERICAN WIGEON, REDHEAD, GADWALL, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, loads of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, N. SHOVELER, RING-NECKED DUCKS and of course MALLARDS. Scope a good idea. Be careful, although traffic is light on Mighell Rd, the shoulder is narrow and the terrain is hilly.
Theresa LeCompte on 3/28 reported via e-mail: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in my back yard [in Aurora] this morning!
Chris Madsen on 3/27 reported: Eight Red-breasted Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe on the Fox River just above the dam in St. Charles at 1:30 this afternoon.
Marion Miller on 3/27
reported via e-mail: Saturday's KCA outing to Oakhurst in Aurora led by
Terry Murray was attended by 9 birders. Highlights were the double owl
sighting, Great Horned Owl and Barred Owl. Additional first of year
sightings for some were: Eastern Phoebe, Turkey Vultures and
Chris Mussachio on 3/25
reported via e-mail: Saw my first Eastern Bluebird at Freeman-Kame
Patrick Ricketson on 3/24 reported via eBird: The Barrow's Goldeneye was "seen at 6PM mingling with a group of Common Goldeneye. It was swimming just north of the Rt 72 bridge for at least a half-hour. It was still there when I left at 6:30PM."
Jan Hutchinson on 3/23 reported via e-mail: March 23, 2014 10am- a pair of sandhill cranes in the cornfield on the corner of Hughes & Fabyan by Mill creek subdivision.
Diane Hansen on 3/23 reported via e-mail: I stopped briefly at Nelson Lake yesterday. There were 2 Sandhills on the ice and 6 circling above. I observed a large number of gulls flying at the west side of the lake in addition to many on the ice. I also saw 1 Great Blue Heron and a few Mallards and Canada Geese.
Margaret Myers on 3/22
reported via e-mail: Spotted an Eagle in the Mooseheart nest. So
glad they have returned.
Sue Wagoner on 3/22 reported
via e-mail: Several of us observed the Barrow's Goldeneye
yesterday, still in Dundee between the two bridges, hanging out with the
Common goldeneyes and flying back and forth as people approached. So
nice to get a good view and compare with the "commons".
Nancy Allured on 3/21 reported via eBird: Seeing a Great Egret on the Fox River just north of Bennet Park in Geneva.
Bob Romano on 3/21 reported
via e-mail: Located a Great Horned Owl nest with young in it just off
Sleepy Hollow Road in Sleepy Hollow.
Chris Mussachio on 3/20
reported via e-mail: The Barrow's Goldeneye is still hanging out
in Dundee and saw my first Turkey Vulture of the season at Jelke
Creek Bird Sanctuary. Nice enough to hang out for a pose.
Marion Miller on 3/20
reported via e-mail: Rich and I were out and about checking the Fox
River today. The best sighting was 28 Double-crested Cormorants.
Many were flashing their curly crests. The other cool sighting was our
first-ever seen White-morph Squirrel. He was on a small wooded lot near
Ashland and River St in Aurora.
Margaret Myers on 3/20
reported via e-mail: Happy Spring to Everyone at KCA!
Numerous reports to eBird and IBET have the Barrow's Goldeneye continuing (at least through Wednesday) in the Fox River mainly between the Dundee and Carpentersville bridges.
Roger Amery on 3/18 reported via e-mail: 3/18 this afternoon I observed two Sandhills cranes flying north to south on the west side of Nelson lake. Most of Nelson lake was frozen and there were two pairs of gulls setting on the ice. I could not identify the gull species.
Margaret Myers on 3/18
reported via e-mail: Looks like Spring is coming, despite the frozen
ponds at Tanner Pond in North Aurora!
Bob Meierhans on 3/17
reported via e-mail: No opportunity yet for photos, but undeniable
"calling" heard today from the Sandhill Cranes now back in the
marsh/field behind us in Nottingham Woods [Elburn/Sugar Grove].
Gloria Dimoplon on 3/17
reported via e-mail: March 17, 2014. Several large flocks of
Sandhill Cranes flew overhead earlier this afternoon at Burnidge. Quite
beautiful against a very blue sky.
Chris Mussachio on 3/17
reported via e-mail: While waiting almost 3 hours for a bald eagle
to do something in Carpentersville, I observed 5 Double-Crested
Cormorants, 2 Red-Tailed Hawks, 2 Sandhill Cranes, 1
Killdeer, 1 Great Blue Heron, and the usual Common Goldeneye
& Common Mergansers splashing about. The eagle did fish for me, but
a tree was in the way for the money shot.
Debbie Wisser on 3/16
reported via e-mail: I was finally able to get to West Dundee to try to
spot the Barrow’s Goldeneye. It was still there as of 6:00pm on
Sunday evening. It was near a pedestrian bridge that crosses the river
slightly downstream of the original location reported by Brendon. It was
actively diving, with about 45 Common Goldeneye, so it took a little
bit of time to find. Once I did, it was great to have the side by side
comparison of the two species. The group of birds eventually worked their
way downstream, and ended up in the area behind the Village Squire.
Rich Miller on 3/16 reported
via e-mail: Marion and I went over to Nelson Lake on Saturday to get
our first viewing of the Eastern Meadowlark. On the way back to the
silo (parking lot) we saw a few ROCK PIGEONS busy collecting twigs
for a nest. This one flew within 15 ft. of me. I couldn't resist snapping a
Diane Hansen on 3/16 reported
via e-mail: I was very fortunate to run into Brendon at the South Elgin
dam Friday morning so I got to see all the wonderful birds he listed in his
post. It was so exciting that I want back around 5:00 and saw a lone
Canvasback added to the mix. One more thank you to Brendon for the post
of the Barrow's Goldeneye which caused me to review some of my pix from
yesterday in Dundee and sure enough I caught it too!
Urs Geiser on 3/16 reported via IBET: I don't bird the upper Fox River (north of Elgin) often, therefore the reported BARROW'S GOLDENEYE in West Dundee (Kane Co.) was a good excuse to check out the area. After meeting several people who told me the bird had moved north, I ended up in Carpentersville. I scoped the river from the Main Street bridge and found the Barrow's on the river, first on the south side, then on the north side where I saw it swim around a bend, but no other birders were around. After some phone calls and a drive back to West Dundee I was able to show Bob and Karen F. where the bird had disappeared (Eric S. and Pete M. were now also there). After some waiting around I left to explore other areas (these birders refound the goldeneye later as reported by others).
Brendon Lake on 3/16 reported via IBET: The South Elgin Dam this afternoon from about 2:15-3pm, had a pair of Canvasbacks (1 male, 1 female) sleeping along the east shore above the dam. Also, the group of Scaups included both many Lesser, and a few Greater Scaup, along with 3 Ring-Necked Ducks. A total of 5 Ruddy Ducks and a male Hooded Merganser were also present, as were Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers. In addition, I had a Red-Tailed Hawk and two Great-Blue Herons.
Claire Dassy on 3/16 reported
via IBET: Maybe not exactly as exciting to some as the Barrows, :) but
last evening in Dundee I saw 9 pair of Hooded Mergansers. I live
nearby and we've had common mergies in great numbers all winter, but these
were the first hooded I've seen.
Brendon Lake on 3/15 reported
via e-mail: Today, at approximately 4:30pm, I located an adult male
Barrow's Goldeneye at John Hill Park near 6th Street on Lincoln Avenue
in West Dundee. It was actively diving with a large group of Common
Goldeneyes, and was sometimes rather protective of a female Common
Goldeneye it may have taken a shine to. The bird ended up flying a couple
of times. The first time I was able to re-locate it behind the Village
Squire restaurant further south from where it was, but the second time I
did not re-locate it, despite searching until sunset. Notably, all but
three Common Goldeneye completely vacated the area right around sunset,
leaving the stretch of river quiet and uneventful as darkness fell. The
bird may still be around, and may return tomorrow, who knows?
Chris Madsen on 3/15 reported: Snow covered about 50 percent of the ground last night at Ferson Creek Fen in St. Charles, but that didn't crimp the style of the male American Woodcocks who were strutting their stuff for their female counterparts. I had at least three peenting their hearts out along the circular trail south of the parking lot. I assume there are more performers along the trail that parallels the river north of the parking lot. The show began at about 7:30 last night.
Marion Miller on 3/14
reported via e-mail: Rich and I walked a few trails along the Fox
today. Highlights: by Quarry Park were Carolina Wren, Brown Creeper
and flyover Double-crested Cormorants, by Gunnar Anderson were 2
male Ring-necked Ducks, 1 male Bufflehead and Killdeer.
We walked out to the observation deck on the east side of Nelson Lake and
spotted Eastern Meadowlark and 2 flyover Turkey Vultures. No
open water yet.
Brendon Lake on 3/14 reported via IBET: Hey everybody, it is once again fun to be along the Fox River, as the ice has melted in many locations! The South Elgin Dam is nearly completely open, only the cove at the top of the dam is still frozen, and that is thawing fast. The ducks sure took notice of this as there were many different species above the dam. Most numerous duck was Ring-Necked Duck, with plenty of Lesser Scaups, I did not pick out any Greater Scaups. Other great waterfowl included several Ruddy Ducks, a female Bufflehead, drake and hen Hooded Mergansers, and four Gadwall (2 male, 2 female). Of course, Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser were also present, as was one each Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk and Turkey Vulture. Further down the river at the Geneva Dam, a young male Red-Breasted Merganser above the dam completed the merganser tri-fecta, as it fished with a male Bufflehead. While walking at Island Park two southbound Double-Crested Cormorants flew by. Lastly, as I was driving on Fabyan Parkway, I noticed my FOY Sandhill Cranes flying far out in the distance.
Chris Mussachio on 3/14
reported via e-mail: I was lucky enough to have this pair of Hooded
Mergansers float my way in Carpentersville yesterday. 1st 2 I've seen
Michael Ryan on 3/12 reported
via e-mail: On 3/11/2014 I spotted some sandhill cranes flying
overhead outside of Hampshire on Walker Rd. Then after driving further I
spotted many more that were flying over a huge flock of geese. It looks
like these great creatures have started their massive migration north for
summer despite the weather we are having. If you get a chance look up,
those may not be geese you are seeing. The give away is the legs trailing
behind their bodies. Really amazing and hoping that I get another chance to
see many more throughout this short migration period.
Diane Hansen on 3/12 reported
via e-mail: I was out this morning and stopped at the South Elgin dam
to photograph the water level now that it is more open and I saw a pair of
Double Crested Cormorants just above the dam. I climbed up for a
better view as they flew off. I would add to the discussion of the
Solitaire that on March 6th in the afternoon I caught a glimpse of it
along the trolley tracks.
Chris Mussachio on 3/11 reported via e-mail: Luckily captured this quick moving Bufflehead in Carpentersville. Spotted these 2 Red-Breasted Mergansers splashing around and had a quick fly by from a Bald Eagle at Buffalo Park.
Roger Hotham on 3/11 reported via IBET: First found on Nov.7, Margaret Mechtenberg saw the Townsend Solitaire on March 10 in the traditional area along the trolley line in the gravel pit of the Jon Duerr FP. The bird has become more difficult to locate. It seems to be roaming away from the pit territory. It has been found twice along the edge of the river; the most recent on Feb. 28.
Sue Wagoner on 3/10 reported via e-mail: Pat Prieditis and I took advantage of the warm weather yesterday and today checking out the birds on the Fox River.
Yesterday on a walk between Les Arends F.P. and the Batavia Quarry, we saw the usual Canada Geese and Mallards as well as White-Breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creeper, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Cardinals, Chickadees, Juncos, but it was the Greater White-Fronted Geese among the Canada Geese that were special… shamedly we did not see or identify them until looking at the photos I had taken "just to test my camera" after repairs.
Today we walked from the
Montgomery Dam to the pedestrian bridge about a mile south and saw quite a
few Common Mergansers- male and female, Common Goldeneye,
male and female, (no long-tailed duck) a Bald Eagle, and this
low-flying Red-Tailed Hawk which confirmed my camera is just fine!
Christopher Cudworth on 3/10 reported via IBET: A pair of hooded mergansers was hunting crayfish between the Illinois Street bridge and the walking bridge today [in St. Charles]. Plenty of goldeneyes showing off for each other just south of the bridge too, in an estimated flock of 50 or so birds.
Marion Miller on 3/9 reported
via e-mail: Rich and I decided to check out some fields for geese this
evening. We were fortunate to find a large group, conservative estimate of
750. They were flying into a field on the south side of Seavey Rd about 1 ˝
miles east of 47. The distant sound of gunshots from the northwest, I’m
sure had something to do with their flight. As we scanned the flying groups
we spotted a total of 25 White-fronted Geese and 1 Blue-morph
Snow Goose. While scoping the large group of geese in the field we
unexpectedly came across 1 male Gadwall forging with a pair of
Mallards. Red-winged Blackbirds were vocalizing and flying
across the fields also.
Vern LaVia on 3/9 reported
via IBET: Birded 5 pm - 6:30 pm in downtown Aurora, between New York
Street & North Ave. along Fox River. Was hoping to see the pair of
Peregrines return to roost. They have been hanging out since December on
top the tallest bldg in Aurora, at the southwest corner of Galena Blvd &
Stolp Ave. On the east side and south side of building, you can see lots of
"white wash" the birds have sprayed from their favorite perches. But, No
luck....didn't see them on this visit.
Debbie Wisser on 3/9 reported via e-mail: I made a few short stops along the Fox River this morning in search for anything new. I managed to find a pair of Bufflehead swimming with a large group of Common Goldeneye in Saint Charles. They were in the section of the river adjacent to Riverside Ave. across from Langum Park.
Nick Barber on 3/9 reported
via IBET: I stopped at several spots along the Fox River in Kane Co.
this morning where there was open water: just south of Geneva, south of St.
Charles, and at Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve in St. Charles.
Chris Madsen on 3/9 reported:
Although we didn't locate the singing Northern Shrike that was reported on
Friday at Burnidge Forest Preserve, Carla and I did find at least four
female Purple Finches foraging the forest edges in the southwest
portion of the property on Saturday.
Bob Andrini on 3/5 reported via e-mail: It must be spring - we had our first of year Red-winged Blackbird at our feeder today - now for the nice weather to follow.
Joan Petersen on 3/2 reported via e-mail: We have a half dead cotton wood tree on the other side of our yard. A great horned owl sits in it at least 3 times a week. So cool. Last week it was hooting.!
This past end of summer a Bald Eagle came around too! My husband said I was nuts til he saw both for himself.
I live down the street from the Vaughan Center
Walter Lutz on 3/1 reported via e-mail: Great Horned Owl in Wing Park - Elgin west side. Been through the park maybe 500+ times the last 25 years and this was a first (though I'm sure they saw me more than once).
Taylor Joray on 3/1 reported
via e-mail: I had a good afternoon yesterday at the Blackberry Maples
Forest Preserve. Notable species spotted include a Tufted Titmouse,
a White-Breasted Nuthatch, a handful of Black-Capped Chickadees,
a Hairy Woodpecker, a Red-Tailed Hawk, a Barred Owl,
and this Red-Headed Woodpecker who was spotted foraging about a 100
feet up in the canopy.
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