Christopher Cudworth on 11/27 reported via IBET: Karen
and I live in the same neighborhood in Batavia. Between 1:00 and 2:00 there were
approximately 1500 sandhills that passed by in groups ranging from 30 to
350. At one point they were queued up in a giant kettle of probably 350 birds
wheeling into the north wind. They are ultimately heading directly southeast.
Every group seems to be on a beeline, and calling constantly. Just had another
group of 15 birds pass by at 2:30 sharp. The numbers are dwindling but it has
been a nice mini-spectacle.
Wish I could fly.
Karen Land on 11/27 reported via IBET:
First heard, then spotted about 150 sandhills over my home at 1:15 pm
11/27. I lost sight of them behind my trees but could still hear them for
another 5 minutes or so.
Karen Land on 11/22 reported via IBET: About 1:30 pm
today, a small flock of 75 sandhills were first heard then seen flying
over our house in Batavia.
Liza Gray on 11/22 reported via IBET: I had...250
Sandhills over North Ave and Randall Rd in St. Charles this morning around
11:30. Yesterday, I had a Rough-legged Hawk hunting in the field west of
Peck Road, just north of Keslinger in Geneva.
Pam Otto on
11/21 reported via e-mail: ...there are many pine siskins in the
native plant garden (between the Pottawatomie Community Center in St. Charles
and the river) this morning. Joan put the feeders out a couple weeks ago, and
they’re really getting a workout!
Christopher Cudworth on
11/19 reported via IBET: A quiet night with no wind and temps at 57 degrees.
Walked the new path (at Nelson Lake) off Main Street. Took the right fork and
visited the beautiful hill about 1/2 mile west of new parking lot. Great vantage
point to scan the fields for hunting hawks. There were two female harriers
and one immature working the fields.
Also plenty of Dark eyed juncos (14) and Tree Sparrows (25) along
this path. No sign today of pipits, but did not walk far south enough to visit
the previous hot spot for those.
Drove to the eastern entrance to try and catch some ducks at dusk. Fox
Sparrows still serenading at twilight from the viewing deck. Only had
binoculars (7-15X) and could pick out 4 Sandhills through the murk and
mist, and many Canada Geese, but no sign of snows. Tree sparrows on this
side of the lake as well, and juncos.
On my way out the path heard a weak "creeeak" like a tired chorus frog.
Inspected the ground up close and found nothing. Appeared to be three or four of
these little critters, whatever they are. I heard the same thing last November
over at the Yellow Barn path at Pratt's Wayne. Assume it was a fooled frog?
Julie Long on 11/19 reported via e-mail: I saw a wild turkey with
a lot of Canada geese on Sat., Nov. 17. It was in a cornfield just west
of Peck road, and on the south side of Rt. 38.
Bob Andrini on 11/06 reported via e-mail: We have Pine Siskins at
our thistle feeders (in St. Charles) - keep your eyes open, Common Redpolls
have also been reported around.
Scott Cohrs on 11/05 reported via IBET: Sorry for the
belated post, I wasn't able to connect yesterday.
Sunday morning I flushed a probable Sprague's Pipit in the back fields at Nelson
Lake in Kane County. I say probable because admittedly I did not get a great
look at the bird. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone ever gets a great look at
a Sprague's Pipit, at least in Illinois.
The last month or so I have been trying to walk the fields in the west portion
of Nelson Lake. I've been hoping for something like a Yellow Rail or interesting
sparrow, but have had little success. I figured it was still worth a shot
working these fields for sparrows or others such as Longspurs, Pipits, etc.
I was in the middle of the field Sunday when I had stopped to take a drink of
water. As I was standing there, a small bird flushed from about 15 feet away. It
gained altitude and made several calls as it flew away. The call notes were
rapid, high pitched and wheezy, a different quality than the American Pipits. I
was able to observe the bird in flight for about 5-10 seconds. It was a chunky,
drab bird, with a much shorter tail than the American Pipit. It had a bit of a
Starling-like profile in flight. It also had white outer tail feathers. The bird
eventually landed about 100 yards away in the tall grass. Unfortunately, I could
never relocate it.
As Chris Cudworth had posted yesterday, there were many Am. Pipits and Horned
Larks present in the back fields. Most of them were along the side of the path,
while others were seen as flyovers. I also had several Lapland Longspurs fly-overs,
and at least 3 Northern Harriers.
Unfortunately, I can't say this was a Sprague's with absolute certainty, though
that is likely what it was. I'll have to keep that species in the on-deck circle
for my lists. I did want to post the sighting to encourage others to keep an eye
out. Perhaps the IOS trip next week will be more successful. There is strength
in numbers when trying to find one of these birds.
For anyone searching at Nelson Lake, there is a large patchwork of fields on the
west side. Some are tall grass, some are medium height grass, and others are
'remnant' fields that have a mixture of weeds and bare earth. The remnant and
shorter grass fields are what I walked through yesterday.
Christopher Cudworth on 11/04 reported via IBET: A
NORTHERN SHRIKE was active along the trail on the northwest side of the main
lake body between the prairie and the cattails. Six separate HARRIER were
also coursing the west-side prairie and lake edges. Four RED-TAILED HAWKs,
one COOPER'S HAWK. FOX SPARROWs were singing near the west side
observation deck. Also WHITE CROWNED, SONG and SWAMP SPARROWS
in this vicinity. 2 SANDHILL CRANE were calling and visible in the pond
directly to the northeast of the deck.
On the main lake a lone HOODED MERGANSER was along the south south. One
male PINTAIL left at dawn with the flocks of CANADA GEESE (1000+).
A flock of WOOD DUCK (8) also flew over.
The new bike path loop on the west side was also productive for ground birds.
Follow the new limestone path that heads south from the new parking lot and take
the western route. Along this trail there are 15 foot swaths of new graded dirt.
Over the course of a mile or so on my mountain bike, saw 50+ WATER PIPIT
and 50+ HORNED LARK. The Harrier were also out there.
I also got to witness a raggedy-antlered White-tailed deer run straight at me
for a half mile. It was not a huge deer but in the morning sun and at that pace,
Roger Hotham on 11/02 reported via IBET: A group
of birders saw a Northern Shrike take a sparrow this AM in the Kane
County Burnidge Forest Ppreserve.