November 2007 Sightings


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, very impressive.  

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.


This page last updated Thursday January 24, 2008.

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