November & December 2006 sightings


Scott Cohrs on 12/18 reported via IBET: I know that a couple recent posts have discussed the upcoming closure of the Settler's Hill Landfill in Geneva. I'm actually a little sad about it. Only a birder would be upset about a landfill closing, right? Anyway, it is likely that once this site closes it will be much harder to find 'good' gulls in the county. So, if you are looking to pad your county list or get a few 'last' looks, I'd recommend stopping by in the next few weeks.
About 2-3 weeks ago, a stop on Saturday morning produced 2 adult
Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a 2nd year Great Black-backed Gull. This past Saturday during the CBC, Paul Sweet found an adult LBB, a 2nd year GBB, and a Thayer's Gull. Today during lunch, a quick look yielded an adult Thayer's and a first year Glaucous Gull.
Is it too much to ask for a Slaty-backed as a going away present?

Christopher Cudworth on 12/10 reported via IBET: While taking a walk round with the Riverwalk in downtown Batavia this noon (sunday) my wife exclaimed at seeing a huge, dark brown bird perched out on the ice. "What is that, a Turkey Vulture?" (I've got her trained not to assume anything else.) But to our pleasant surprise it was indeed a first year bald eagle. It flew west into the trees along the Fox when it saw us. I've seen eagles over Batavia but not down at river level. That bird looked huge hunched up on the ice above the dam.
This might have been the same bird I saw Saturday near Oswego, five miles south.

Christopher Cudworth on 12/9 reported via IBET: I took a short trip to the Fox River between Aurora and Oswego. Driving the east side of the river there is a park just south of Route 30 that offers access to the bike trail. This is a vantage point for views of BALD EAGLE quite frequently. There was one young bird present Saturday. I took photos but nothing worth posting. There was also a GREAT BLUE HERON. There was also at least 1000 CANADA GEESE in pods along the river.
No sign yet of mergansers, goldeneyes or other waterfowl that usually show up in winter. Most of the water is still open and next week's warm spell will dissolve any ice. For good viewing it is pretty crucial the river freezes up.
Along this same stretch last winter I had MERLIN, HARRIER and RED TAIL. Always worth a drive by if you're in the area.
In Batavia I had
BELTED KINGFISHER by the Fox River dam. Also Ring billed and Herring Gulls. Nothing unusual among the geese or gulls.
The Settler's Hill landfill in Geneva at Fabyan and Kirk last week had quite a lot of activity in gulls. I did not get to stop but that landfill is close to closing so if any of you gull experts is out that way, may be last chance to rack up the rarities.

Ed Teune on 12/9 reported via IBET: Despite heavy snowmobile activity today along the road edges near the grain processing facility, I did manage to find a couple small flocks of Horned Larks along Meredith Road where Christopher indicated.

Darrell Shambaugh on 12/9 reported via IBET: Between Somonauk and St. Charles I have been seeing Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs every day on my commute. Numbers are about 100 to 150 Horned Larks and 10 to 15 Longspurs. I've only seen 3 Snow Buntings, all in Kane County. One was on Dauberman Road between Scott Road and Route 30 on Thursday and the other two were on Main Street about a mile west of Kaneville Friday.

Christopher Cudworth on 12/9 reported via IBET: One of the most reliable spots in central Kane County for SNOW BUNTING and LAPLAND LONGSPUR is Meredith Road north of Route 38 two miles west of Elburn. Meredith is the junction where the large grain processing facility is visible from Route 38 and sometimes these birds feed directly across the road from the feed station. But larger flocks of HORNED LARK are usually found in feeding roadside when snow is deep as it is now. When snow melts there are still birds to be found, but not as easily.
There were five separate flocks of these three birds between Route 38 and McNulty Road. Headed east on Beith flocks of
DARK EYED JUNCOS were feeding roadside across from a farm.
I also had a
HARRIER on the Watershed property on Route 38 two miles east of Elburn.

Pete Moxon reported on 12/8 via IBET: On Wed 12/06/06...While at Nelson Lake in Kane Cnty I saw 4 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED, with a large group of Canadas & a few CACKLING. They seemed to keep on heading South, but didn't stop at Nelson Lake.
A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was seen briefly at the (Settler's Hill) dump, as the tractors kept flushing up the birds. After a short time it descended out of sight again.
THAYER'S gull was present briefly at the Geneva Dam, amongst a group of 100+ Gulls, many of which kept coming & going.
I believe this one flew in while I was there, started bathing & then joined the rest on the ice. I was scanning the Gulls and had just spotted this one; when all the GULLS flushed.
I looked around to find the "culprit" and was treated to a
BALD EAGLE (juv) making a bee-line South down the river. The Eagle wasn't terribly high up, but it was obvious that its only interest was heading South on a bitter wind. It showed no interest in the Gulls,=== only a handfull of which returned to the ice before I had to leave.

Brian Kapusta on 12/4 reported via IBET: Today I saw a bald eagle soaring above Randall Rd, near Bolcum Rd. in St. Charles, Kane Co.

Alan B. Anderson on 11/30 reported via IBET: With the day off today, I had planned to go birding, so despite the off and on rain, it went on. Was hoping (beyond hope) to find a 'winter finch', Short-eared Owl or N. Shrike, but struck out. Despite the misses, and few species, being in the forest preserves, birding and taking in nature, it still was worth it (an enjoyable breakfast with Judy Mellin added to the 'worth' too).
Here are the 'highlights' from each spot...
Hampshire FP (Kane Co., 10:00am to 11:15am): 11 bird species including 1
.......... 1
AMERICAN KESTREL on Big Timber Road just west of IL 47
Rutland FP (Kane Co., Big Timber Road, 11:30am to 11:50am): wasn't going to stop originally but glad I did! more birds (individuals) per acre than any of the other spots; 12 species including 1
GREAT HORNED OWL (4 noisy crows led me to see the owl in a tall tree; eventually the crows chased it away; neat to see flying too)
Burnidge FP (Kane Co., 12:15 to 1:30pm): 11 bird species, 260+
Mallard; the wetland sure has filled in with vegetation! fairly quiet in the grasslands.
Most common bird today (everywhere) was AMERICAN TREE SPARROW.
enjoy birding whenever you can, no matter what you see!

Christopher Cudworth on 11/26 reported via IBET: There was an Eastern Bluebird at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles/Kane County this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. 200 yards from front entrance on pole line.
This morning I had pairs of both
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers working the neighbor's dead tree in Batavia. Their calls and activity drew my attention to the fact that the central tine of the tree is riddled with woodpecker holes. I'll have to keep an eye out for nesting activity next spring.

Christopher Cudworth on 11/24 reported via IBET from Peck Farm Park: Over the past week the calm weather has allowed a few dabbling ducks to stick around. A small fleet of GADWALL (6 birds) was split up and feeding in the company of coots at Peck Farm Park. Each Gadwall had a coot it followed around. I've seen this behavior previously at McKee Marsh in DuPage County when there were no less than 30 Gadwall with coot partners.
Also present was a flock of seven
SHOVELER ducks, males and females.
There were approximately 600
CANADA geese of mixed races. A close inspection revealed no White-fronted or other species. But this is a good location to look as the park sits between some key wetlands and fields where species such as Ross Goose, White-Fronted, Snow and Blue geese are regularly seen. This lake is susceptible to quick freeze-up when temps drop as it is sheltered.
An early morning or evening visit may well turn up other duck species.
I viewed the lake from the viewing platform on the south side.

Scott Cohrs on 11/11 reported via IBET: A few stops late this morning produced a couple good birds. There were hundreds of gulls congregated at the landfill on Kirk Rd. Among them were 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a first winter Great Black-backed Gull. There was also a gull I couldn't quite pin down. It looked mostly like an adult Ring-billed Gull both in plumage and structure. However, the smudging on the head looked a bit darker than normally expected on a Ring-billed. In addition, the bill was jet-black, looking much like the bill on a Franklin's Gull. I tried to make sure it wasn't just mud or debris, but it looked like an all black bill. I am not sure what the bird was, though I suspect it might have been a Franklin's/Ring- billed cross. It also could have been just a weird Ring-billed Gull.
Jon Duerr had a
White-winged Scoter this morning at Nelson Lake. Unfortunately, it was not relocated later in the morning.  Interestingly, it was 2 years ago to the exact date that 2 White-wingeds were present at Nelson Lake. That was also a day after a night with strong NE winds.
There several species of duck present at Peck Farm. Best among them were 3
Canvasback. A Pied-billed Grebe was also hanging around. Cackling Geese were abundant both at Peck Farm and Nelson Lake.

Karen Lund on 11/09 reported via IBET: This afternoon between 1:30 & 2:00, 3 groups of sandhills totalling approx. 325 flew over Raceway Woods in Carpentersville. There didn't appear to be any whooping cranes with them. Also found 5 field sparrows and a comma (butterfly). Just a nice day to be outside.

Pete Moxon on 11/08 reported via IBET: At Nelson Lake Marsh, in the early morning, we were unable to locate at least 3 SNOW GEESE, (2 of which were Blue Phase), and a few GREATER WHITE-FRONTEDS; that had come in the previous night, as darkness fell. Only a few of the CRANES that had also come in before dusk the prev. afternoon were also relocated. But besides the 6 RUDDYs & sev WOOD Ducks & some of the other ducks previously mentioned; a second morning stop produced several RING-NECKED DUCKS as well. Lots of FOX SP. among others still present.
A lone
DUNLIN was present in the morn. at Tanner rd. marsh/pond, Tues. 11/07/06. It appeared to be in-between juvenile & Winter plumage. Some Richardson's/ Cackling Geese were also present.
At BIG ROCK .P. in Kane Cty also on Sun eve, a
CAROLINA WREN, and close to if not more than 100 FOX SPARROWS were present along with other, expected migrants & wintering & resident birds.

Christopher Cudworth on 11/07 reported via IBET: Brief stop at near twilight at Dick Young Forest Preserve, Batavia (Kane County) Notable duck species included: SHOVELER (16), RUDDY DUCK (6), BLACK DUCK (8), MALLARD (175), AMERICAN WIGEON (4), HOODED MERGANSER (3), RING NECKED DUCK (1). No Scoters or Grebes visible from the platform. Other than a healthy contingent of Cackling Geese, no goose variables either.

Participants on the Nelson Lake 11/04 birdwalk saw the following waterfowl of note: American Black Duck, American Coot, Cackling Goose, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, and Wood Duck. Birds not on the lake included Brewer's Blackbird, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

Karen Lund on 11/03 reported via IBET: This afternoon around 5:00 a common nighthawk flew low over Rte. 72, a couple blocks west of Rte. 31 in West Dundee. Even in the dimming light, the white wing bars were very visible. Chimney swifts were conspicuous by their absence.


Copyright 2006 Kane County Audubon, 513 S 13th Ave, St Charles, IL 60174. 

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