Diane Hansen on 3/27 reported via e-mail: My Monday morning routine is Jazzercise, lottery ticket, check some spots on the Fox River on the way home including the boat ramp behind the Secretary of State. This morning I saw and heard some song sparrows and noticed several flying tree swallows. When I looked to the right from the boat ramp I saw a large group of them, about 100 or so, in a tree. That's the first time I've seen so many in one tree.

Last week I was accompanied briefly on the river path south of South Elgin by a large rodent, possibly a groundhog.

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows photo courtesy Diane Hansen


Groundhog photo courtesy Diane Hansen

John Heneghan on 3/24 reported via e-mail: Had the first of Spring Golden Crowned Kinglets in the yard today. This is the earliest sighting for the yard. Normally, Ruby Crowned Kinglets and Blue Gray Gnatcatchers show up about the same time, though not this early. 

Jonathan Schuler on 3/22 reported via e-mail: The first for me this season of hearing the sandhill cranes. Saw a flock of about 20 flyover east side of St. Charles on 3/21 about 5:15 p.m.

Bob Andrini on 3/21 reported via e-mail: While walking on the Quarry Park bike trail, we saw our FOY Red-headed Woodpecker. It must be a first year bird since its head feathers are not totally red.

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bob Andrini

John Mayer on 3/20 reported via e-mail: Finding these Great Horned Owlets in the Carpentersville area.

Great Horned Owlets

Great Horned Owlets photo courtesy John Mayer

Sue Bohn on 3/19 reported via phone: Watching nine(!) Whooping Cranes fly north over the river in South Elgin this afternoon at 2:50.

John Mayer, Debbie Wisser, Walt Lutz, Jim Shotsberger, and Patrick Ricketson on 3/19 reported via eBird: All saw 2 Trupeter Swans at Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin.

Brendon Lake on 3/19 reported via IBET: Hi everybody! Lots of birding again yesterday in my home county of Kane left me too exhausted to write out a report, so I'll do it right now! Highlights were as follows:

Nelson Lake in Batavia - An early morning stop here was good for dabbling ducks. Highlights were my first Blue-Winged Teal of the year, an American Wigeon, five Sandhill Cranes, and seven Ruddy Ducks.

Les Arends FP in Batavia - Birding along the bike trail going north almost to Quarry Park, the walk was very enjoyable. Highlights were two Eastern Phoebes hunting in the same treetop, two Yellow-Rumped Warblers, a young Red-Headed Woodpecker, and 15 Rusty Blackbirds.

Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva - Not a lot going on, but White-Throated Sparrows, five Great Blue Herons, and a Cooper's Hawk were somewhat notable.

Pingree Grove Water Treatment Plant Marsh - Lots of waterfowl here, including a lot of Ring-Necked Ducks, some Lesser Scaup, Northern Shovelers, a Ruddy Duck, Hooded Mergansers, and a group of 10 Canvasback, which were all together on the large fenced-in lake. More than 30 Green-Winged Teal were practically by themselves on the pond on Catamaran Circle, just the opposite side of Reinking Road from the marsh. This pond has developed extensive mudflats, so it will be worth watching going into shorebird season. People may remember this pond from when the White-Faced Ibis was present here two years ago.

Burlington Park Fluddles - Hundreds of ducks were here, apparently looking to roost for the night. I've never seen these types of numbers here before! Mostly Mallards, but also five Green-Winged Teal, two drake American Wigeon, and 20-30 Wood Ducks! Two Wilson's Snipes were seen as well.

Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve - Eastern Meadowlarks aplenty, three Northern Harriers, two distant Short-Eared Owls, and four or five displaying American Woodcocks were all a pleasant way to end the day!

One last interesting note, I had Eurasian Collared-Dove in two places yesterday, neither of which I've seen them at before! One was in someone's front yard in the small town of Virgil, along Meredith Road, south of Route 64. Another four Eurasian Collared-Doves were seen late in the day along Allen Road, just west of Widmayer Road in Hampshire. All in all, 61 species on the day, and a lot of fun along the way!

Good birding to all!

Mary Elliot on 3/17 reported via e-mail: Yesterday afternoon, around 4:45, a small flock of cedar waxwings were happily drinking from my backyard bird bath. Do not have a count - they flitted between it and nearby trees, often not within my sight.

Could not reach a camera in time to try for a picture, but will be prepared this afternoon just in case more visit.

Bill Ahlgren on 3/16 reported via e-mail: I had this Red-headed Woodpecker along Woodland Avenue in Batavia today.  Along with a very vocal Carolina wren and 2 Yellow Rumped Warblers feeding on mass quantities of early season gnats.

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker photo courtesy Bill Ahlgren

Bob Andrini on 3/16 reported via e-mail: Kath and I saw 6 Tundra Swans out at Nelson's Lake  this morning (Thursday 3/16). They were quite a distance away, but I took this picture through scope.

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans photo courtesy Bob Andrini

Marion Miller on 3/13 reported via e-mail: Wilson's Snipe and Killdeer continue at the fluddle on Green Rd in Elburn despite the snow and installation of pipes to drain the flooded field. This afternoon there were 4 Snipes and 7 Killdeer frolicking around the snow.

Wilson's Snipes

"Three Musketeer" Wilson's Snipes photo courtesy Marion Miller

Christopher Cudworth on 3/12 reported via IBET: There are two pairs of Hooded Mergansers at the Far East end of the lake bordering the I-88 westboud exit to Orchard Road beside the car dealerships.  Two males displaying and chasing each other while females tag along in their wake. Quite a sight. 4:45 pm Sunday.

Walter Lutz on 3/12 reported via e-mail: Jon Duerr encouraged me to send this photo in. It's a Downy Woodpecker I was able to get close to while it was preoccupied feeding. It had made a hole in this small twig for something it obviously knew was inside.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Walter Lutz

Tori Drake on 3/12 reported via eBird: Seeing a Golden Eagle at Fermilab (in Kane County) " ..sitting above ponds on Miller building."

Joan Campbell on 3/11 reported via IBET: Hi Everyone. Inspired by Brendon Lake’s post, Ed and I headed to Jon Duerr late this afternoon. Like Brendon, viewing from the pedestrian bridge, we were treated to a frenzied flock of TREE SWALLOWS across the river, that seemed to be chasing a cloud of gnats. Nice treat and foy! I counted at least 58. Right as we started walking on the bridge, we found 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and 2 cooperative BROWN CREEPERS. And farther down along the bike trail, we had a TUFTED TITMOUSE. Not bad for a one-hour walk!

Brendon Lake on 3/10 reported via IBET: Hi everybody, I thought I should report some of my findings from birding yesterday in Kane County. Better late than never, right? Anyways, I spent the late morning and entire rest of the day out and about after work, and had a very solid time, seeing 59 species in all! The highlights are as follows:

Hampshire Forest Preserve - A very enjoyable morning walk here was very birdy. At one point in time, five Red-Bellied Woodpeckers were all seen in the same tree, I have never seen anything like that before! Woodpeckers were very active, possibly due to recent storm damage? Here the theme of the day quickly became apparent. Although the weather was colder than it has been recently, birding felt more like April than March. Two large mixed foraging flocks were impressive, one largely made up of White-Throated Sparrows, with a Hermit Thrush and a leucistic American Robin mixed in. The second was largely Fox Sparrows, about 11 of them. A Sharp-Shinned Hawk flew through and scattered the White-Throated Sparrows, possibly the same Sharpie I saw back on January 2nd.

Pingree Grove Water Treatment Plant Marsh - A Pied-Billed Grebe and a couple of Bufflehead were all that were notable on the marsh. Once again, a large concentration of waterfowl was on the fenced-in lake, too far for me to see.

Burnidge Forest Preserve - Here I sat in the parking lot for about 45 minutes, watching as an endless stream of Sandhill Cranes flew over heading northwest. I! estimate that I saw over 3,000 cranes in the time I was there! Mixed in with the cranes were some sporadic raptors, I came up with a Turkey Vulture, five Red-Tailed Hawks, and a Bald Eagle. The large pond had more than 20 Ring-Necked Ducks and several Gadwall on it.

Carpentersville Dam - Nothing really on the river, but two Great Blue Herons were along the shoreline. The woods along the walking path were very birdy, with a large flock of American Tree Sparrows, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, a Golden-Crowned Kinglet, and a Hermit Thrush foraging out in the middle of the path.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve - Very birdy here too! I counted 54 Tree Swallows over the river while I was at the pedestrian bridge that crosses the river near the Stearns Road bridge upstream from the preserve. There was a Tufted Titmouse along the bike trail up there, and three Yellow-Rumped Warblers were foraging together along the bike trail that runs along the river by the trolley tracks. Another two Yellow-Rumped Warblers were foraging down by the river near the bike bridge. There was a Fox Sparrow and a Golden-Crowned Kinglet foraging along the trolley tracks in the quarry.

Burlington Park Fluddles - The fluddles near the football field at the Burlington Park, with easy parking access off of Burlington Road, are back. They are somewhat overgrown, and very difficult to see in places, but they are productive! I had a flock of blackbirds here with 6 Rusties mixed in, a drake Wood Duck, and five Wilson's Snipe.

Muirhead Springs Forest Preser! ve - At sunset, I set up shop in Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve (Bahr Road, just south of Plank Road), where I got distant, diagnostic looks at a hunting Short-Eared Owl on the far end of the preserve. Scope is completely necessary for a good look. Three displaying American Woodcocks made the sunset even more enjoyable.

That's what I saw, sorry about the very long post, but it was again a very long day!

Oliver Burrus on 3/8 reported via IBET: In hopes of finding a large flock of Tree Swallows trapped in the wind like last year, we set off for the Fox River in West Dundee. Well, let’s just say that there were no swallows on the river there! So we traveled north to Carpentersville Dam. Upon first inspection of the river north of the dam, there were no birds there either. Although, as we looked closer, we found a single Tree Swallow and a group of Red-winged Blackbirds & Grackles. We walked down the whole path finding very few new birds for the day; some Tree Sparrows, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, and a small flock of Starlings. With expectations low, we started walking back. I looked up in a tree and I found two male Hairy Woodpeckers fighting over territory, I followed them trying to take photos but I only got one decent photo. All of a sudden, I spot a very small bird that turned out to be a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (a rare bird based on eBird) and then I spot another small bird about the same size right next to it and that turned out to be a Golden-crowned Kinglet. As we walked farther we saw a couple flyover Tree Swallows and an Oregan Junco (which is also a rare bird although it is only a subspecies). We got back to the overlook where I spotted a singing Song Sparrow. I ran back to our car to get my recorder. Just as I got on the bird, it flew away. So I chased it to a bush where it sang less then two feet from me.

John Mayer on 3/7 reported via e-mail: Having seen and recorded this Green-winged Teal at Paul Wolff Campground within Burnidge Forest Preserve.

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal photo courtesy John Mayer

Al Stokie on 3/6 reported via IBET: Hello Bird People,

Since I only carefully covered 1 place today this report should not be as overly long as was yesterday's. I saw on IBET that Marion M reported a Northern Shrike at Nelson Lake & Brendon reported many birds at several Kane County locations so I decided that was the place to go today mainly as I wanted that Shrike having failed to find all the other ones reported in 2017. I also decided to walk in from the east side lot so that I could check the waterfowl while on the way to Audubon Bridge where the Shrike was seen. I will say that this is afairly long walk & sections of the trail are quite  muddy so if you go be prepared.

As I neared the bridge area I saw another birder coming in on the Seavy pathway. Turned out it was Scott Cohrs & I was glad to see him as he usually sees birds quicker than I do. But Scott or no Scott we did NOT find the Shrike. Decided to return the way we came in so as to re-cover the hedge & small tree area near the bridge which looked like an excellent Shrike area not to mention that the Shrike had been seen there before. But still no Shrike & Scott was out of time needing to get to work, a problem we "old retired guys" no longer have. While making an emergency "pit stop" after Scott left I saw a bird land at tree top level & it was a gray & black bird not another Red Wing. Called Scott back & got it in a scope view. We are sure it is a Northern & not a Loggerhead but you need to check for that on Shrikes seen in March as both are possible although Loggerhead is more unlikely. This may have been the 1st time I have ever spotted a target bird before Scott saw it! I was helped by the fact that he was walking away when it arrived & not looking in that direction.

Shortly thereafter I spotted 2 big white birds flying over the water which we figured would be Pelicans but they turned out to be 2 black billed Trumpeter Swans. They also turned out be a new Kane County species for me. Quite a bonus! Here's my full site list:

Nelson Lake Marsh Area (7:45-9:45 a.m.)

Great Blue Heron (1 fly-by)
Canada Goose (25-28)
Mallard (8)
Gadwall (6)
Shoveler (12)
Green Winged Teal (few in flight)
Ring Necked Duck (~20)
Coots (~45)
NORTHERN HARRIER (1 hunting, not an adult male)
Red Tailed Hawk (1 or 2)
Kestrel (1 in flight)
SANDHILL CRANE (1-PR on the ground)
Killdeer (heard 1 in flight)
Gull Species? (Too far away but probably a Herring?)
Mourning Dove (1)
Blue Jay (2)
Chickadee (also 2)
Robin (12-14)
Starling (4-5)
NORTHERN SHRIKE (1, not easy to find but had good looks once we did see it)
Cardinal (3-4)
Tree Sparrow (2)
Song Sparrow (4-5)
FOX SPARROW (1, got into a fight with a Purple Finch & the Fox Sparrow won)
Junco (15-20)
Red Winged Blackbird (25 or more)
PURPLE FINCH (5-6, must of been males as they were singing but all I
saw were females)

Brendon had mentioned that both Meadowlark species were back at that undeveloped Stonegate sub-division near Hampshire & I actually remembered how to get there after all the times Brendon told me how. As I arrived the wind was very, very strong & rain had just begun & I thought there's no way anything would sit up & sing. But as happens many times I was wrong as the WESTERN MEADOWLARK was singing away although it was so low I could not see it. Finally after 10 min of looking in the wind & rain I saw it on the top of a short post & had a good look. I guess if that bird wanted to sing it was going to do so no matter the conditions. I will also say that the Eastern Meadowlark did not agree that singing was in order when I was there. If you need directions to this place look at Brendon's IBET post from yesterday.

Bird-Of-The-Day to the N. Shrike which I had almost given up on for this Winter season. Runners-Up to the Western Meadowlark & my new Kane County Trumpeter Swans. And you will note that I turned this post into a fairly long one after
all. Always happens!

Marion Miller on  3/5 reported via e-mail: This winter we have had a brown colored Downy Woodpecker visiting our backyard (Batavia) feeders.   Not sure why the difference in color but it makes us pick up those binoculars and take a look.

Downy (Browny) Woodpecker

"Browny" Downy Woodpecker photo courtesy Marion Miller

Tim Balassie on 3/5 reported via eBird: At Pingree Grove Forest Preserve, an early Eastern Phoebe and a flyover Whooping Crane mixed in with Sandhill Cranes.

Brendon Lake on 3/5 reported via IBET: Greetings all! Had a fun time birding today in Kane County, so I thought I would run you through my highlights. All in all the day wound up producing 56 species! Here goes:

Stonegate Subdivision in Hampshire (Allen Road, west of Harmony Road): One each, singing Eastern and Western Meadowlarks. The Western Meadowlark sat atop a post, hunkered down and tucked in while singing in the wind.

Pingree Grove: A retention pond in the Cambridge Lakes subdivision at the intersection of Wester Boulevard and Route 72 had Redhead, Ring-Necked Ducks, and a drake Canvasback. At the water treatment plant marsh (corner of Wester Boulevard and Reinking Road) it seems two Mute Swans have decided they like the marsh. Not much else on the water in the marsh, most of the ducks were on the large, fenced-off lake, too distant for looks.

Burnidge Forest Preserve, Elgin: More Ring-Necked Ducks, Redheads, and a couple of Green-Winged Teal.

Carpentersville Dam: The first Chipmunk of the spring! As for birds, nothing out of the ordinary.

Gail Borden Library, Elgin: Over a thousand Sandhill Cranes flew over us, no Whooping Cranes were seen, however. Also, a Cooper's Hawk, four Turkey Vultures, and a Red-Tailed ! Hawk.

A flock of 8 American White Pelicans was circling higher and higher over Route 31 and US-20 in Elgin.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve: A TON OF BUGS!!! And with those bugs, an estimated 60(!!!!) Tree Swallows! I took brief video of the swallows, but their zipping around was very difficult to capture. They loved life high over the quarry area along the trolley tracks! Another 75 flyover Sandhill Cranes, 38 flyover American White Pelicans, and a lone female Common Goldeneye (the only one on the day) were also notable.

Fabyan Forest Preserve: A Pied-Billed Grebe was in the spillway, and six White-Throated Sparrows were foraging in the woods along the bike trail just before it loops out to the island in the middle of the river.

Nelson Lake: American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, and a Northern Harrier all seen from the east side overlook were new for the day. Our only Great Blue Heron flew over here as well.

Finally, the way to end the day, a successful (and very easy) snipe hunt! One Wilson's Snipe and two Killdeer were in a small fluddle off of Meredith Road, south of Route 38 in Virgil.

Sorry about the long post, it was a long day!
Good birding!

Wes Sadler on 3/4 reported via eBird: The Saturday morning KCA Nelson Lake netted 44 species including 11 species of ducks, 17 Greater White-fronted Geese, 2 Bald Eagles, 2 Sandhill Cranes, a Northern Shrike, and 8 Purple Finches.

Northern Shrike

Northern Shrike photo courtesy Marion Miller

Brian Hannah on 3/3 reported via e-mail: Sorry to report Just South of the Snow Board Park on Rt 31 on my drive in today I saw a Bald Eagle in the road. I called Kane County Sheriff and am sad to say they got there and the bird was alive, but hurt too badly . They had to put it down…

Jackie Bowman on 3/2 reported via e-mail: We've had a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches visiting our backyard since December. While tending to our feeder stations, Chris has had daily visits and encounters with both of them. The male has really taken a liking to Chris, buzzing around him as he does his work. "Nutty" as we lovingly refer to him, loves to take peanuts from Chris' hand. As spring approaches we will be sad to see them leave for their breeding grounds.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch photo courtesy Jackie Bowman

Ron Herrmann on 3/2 reported via e-mail: At around 1pm on 3/2/17, we spotted 2 Sandhill Cranes in the Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve in South Elgin, on the North side of Middle St., just West of N. Barry Rd.

I believe this is the 3rd time (and 3rd year in a row) that we’ve seen them in this area.

Brendon Lake on 3/1 reported via IBET: On my way home from work this morning, at about 9am, two Ross's Geese were at a fluddle along Burlington Road, about 1 mile south of Burlington. They were on the east side of the road. It's tough to get a good look here, as traffic is rather heavy and there are no shoulders, so look fast, and move on to be safe if you go.


This page last updated Thursday June 29, 2017.

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