Mary Winegar on 10/31 reported via eBird:  Spotting a Muscovy Duck on Lake Patterson in Oakhurst Forest Preserve.

Diane Hansen on 10/30 reported via e-mail: We are working on my year list and reviewing pictures. We came across this one from a few weeks ago in front of Home Depot in Elgin.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween photo courtesy Diane Hansen

John Heneghan on 10/29 reported via e-mail: Pine Siskins have arrived in numbers in Big Rock. At one point today I counted 60 siskins between the feeders and the ground.

Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins photo courtesy John Heneghan

Walter Lutz on 10/24 reported via e-mail: I found a Le Conte's Sparrow at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary Saturday morning right by the creek crossing. I had a good 1-minute look at it. There was possibly another but I couldn't tell for sure.

Marion Miller on 10/21 reported via e-mail: Rich and I were able to relocate the Le Conte's Sparrows at Prairie Green originally reported by Scott Cohrs. I haven't seen a Le Conte's Sparrow in 2 years, so this was a treat to have 2 on one shrub. Lots of other sparrows present also: Savannah, Swamp, White-throated, White-crowned, Fox and Song. Sure looks like a good area for a Harris Sparrow to pop up.

Le Conte's Sparrow

Le Conte's Sparrow photo courtesy Marion Miller

Jim Narovec on 10/19 reported via e-mail: Unfortunately for the Bald Eagle watchers, it looks like the tree next to the apartment building along the west bank of the Fox River in Carpentersville has died and is being cut down. Hope they find another tree to perch in this winter that's easily viewed.

Eric Secker on 10/18 reported via IBET: We took a long walk down the road along the railroad tracks at Freeman Kame F.P. today. Highlight was getting great close looks at over 50 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS in one of the close marshes along the road. There was also one female BREWER'S BLACKBIRD in with the group.

Lots of sparrows, one ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, and a flyover AM. PIPIT were other highlights.

Urs Geiser on 10/17 reported via IBET: There were no white geese at the pond at Caldwell & Lewis on Saturday ca. 12:30pm. However, I found the/a Snow Goose at another nearby retention pond, behind the Best Buy store, northwest corner of Randall and Fabyan. Surprisingly, a pair of Sandhill Cranes were lounging in the shade of a pine with the many geese, practically in someone's backyard.

Justin Wrinn on 10/17 reported via IBET: I found an Eastern Screech-Owl at Burnidge early this morning near the SE corner of the lake by the west entrance. Since it is the first eBird record for Burnidge and also rather uncommon in Kane County, I figured it was worth mentioning. I played a Screech-Owl recording on a whim not expecting anything, and it flew in and landed about 10 feet above me and started calling. It was an Illinois lifer, and I would have been happy just to hear it, so it was a nice bonus to get a good up close look. I promise it was a real Screech-Owl this time, not like the mystery baby raccoon-owls I heard earlier this year.

I know there are different opinions among IBETers about using recordings to call in birds. I am not against it if done sparingly to pick up a bird that would be tough to get otherwise. But now that I've seen and heard the owl, I see no need to keep playing the recording every time I go to Burnidge just to try and add it to my day list.

Other highlights include:

Continuing Woodcock, 2 Great Horned Owls (heard only),

Virginia Rail (by the small bridge at the west end of the lake - thanks to Julie Long for the tip), 2 continuing Sandhill Cranes, continuing Sedge Wren 19 pipits (feeding on the dry lake bed), 3 species of warbler (Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, Palm), 2, maybe 3 Rusty Blackbirds, a flyover calling Pine Siskin (FOS for me in Kane County), and 10 species of sparrow (nothing rare like Le Conte's though).

Full list is here.

Marion Miller on 10/16 reported via e-mail: Rich and I spotted this stunning male American Kestrel, Friday afternoon, as we were driving out of LeRoy Oakes.  He was cooperative and posed for a minute once we stopped our car a few feet from his perch.

American Kestrel

American Kestrel photo courtesy Marion Miller

Jackie Bowman on 10/16 reported via e-mail: [At 10:33AM] There are currently one each - Ross's & Snow Goose mixed in with a large flock of Canada a Goose on the pond at Caldwell & Lewis in Geneva, IL. A yard lifer Ross's for us !!!

Chris Madsen on 10/16 reported: Yesterday afternoon, Carla and I made a brief visit to the Mirador subdivision off Deerpath Road in North Aurora. At the large pond in the middle of the property we saw many Canada Geese, a surprising number of Pied-bill Grebes, American Coots, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Great Egrets, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Mallards, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, and 5 Sandhill Cranes.

As we were leaving, a very large, overflying gull caught our eye. A double-take look converted our initial impression into a solitary American White Pelican. The bird made a couple of high, climbing passes over the pond. We lost sight of the wandering pelican as it was heading northwest.

American White Pelican

American White Pelican photo courtesy Chris Madsen

Jude Vickery on 10/15 reported via IBET: I returned earlier this evening to view the Rossís Goose for a better and second look to be sure of the ID. I found that while this goose is smaller, with a notable smaller bill, missing the majority of the grin patch, and has an all white head, this bird is a small Snow Goose or at least a hybrid. This is a different bird than the Rossís Goose that has been at different locations in this area the last couple of weeks, so it will be important for birders to know this odd goose is in the area.

While still in the area a small flock of Canada Geese with a Snow goose and a Rossís Goose made a close flyby.

Jude Vickery on 10/15 reported via IBET: Since I've seen numerous reports of people missing the Ross's Goose in southern Kane county I thought I would post real quick that 1 Ross's , and 2 Snow Geese were on the pond at the northeast corner of the intersection of Orchard, and tollway 88, at 1:22pm today.

Justin Wrinn on 10/14 reported via IBET: The 6 White-rumped Sandpipers were still present at Burnidge at 7:30 this morning in the same location as last night near the east end of the lake.  There were also a couple of Rusty Blackbirds mixed in with some Red-winged in the trees along the old road behind the lake.

Justin Wrinn on 10/13 reported via IBET: I have continued to see 1-2 White-rumped Sandpipers regularly at Burnidge since I first found them on the 6th. This evening there were 6 of them on the mudflat near the eastern end of the lake bed, close to the edge of the remaining water. Nothing else too unusual, and I am starting to run out of daylight before and after work, but I did find a Spotted Sandpiper and a Brown Thrasher, both of which are getting a little late to be still hanging around. Full list of species is here.

By the way, no further sightings of Le Conte's Sparrow that I am aware of after myself and a couple of others saw them on Saturday.

Also worth mentioning, although not seen this evening, there are still several Woodcocks hanging around Burnidge - I am continuing to see/hear them flying overhead close to the west parking lot around half an hour before sunrise most days.

Nick Barber on 10/10 reported via IBET: I had a shrike flyover along the path at Prairie Green park in Kane County this morning. My impression was that it was large and long-tailed like a Northern, but I wouldn't be confident enough to put a name on it.

Justin Wrinn on 10/10 reported via IBET: I just got good looks at 2 Le Conte's Sparrows at Burnidge. They were originally along the main road on the north side, maybe 50 yards west of the west entrance parking lot. But I just refound them on the north side of the mowed path that parallels the road to the north. They were working their way north into the large field, and I lost sight of them, but hopefully they'll stick around for a few days.

Eric Secker on 10/9 appended his report from yesterday (see below) by adding on IBET: Other highlights included five species of warblers still hanging on including ORANGE-CROWNED, NASHVILLE, PALM, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and YELLOW-RUMPED.

Also a mix of sparrows including a couple LINCOLN'S, FOX, WHITE-CROWNED, CHIPPING and others.

One CHIMNEY SWIFT and a GREEN HERON are still hanging around as well.

Sadly no White-rumped or Nelson's Sparrows here yet.

Full list is below.

X Canada Goose
1 Wood Duck
X Mallard
4 Pied-billed Grebe
1 Great Egret
1 Red-tailed Hawk
9 Killdeer
1 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Solitary Sandpiper
2 Ring-billed Gull
1 Herring Gull
2 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
1 Chimney Swift
2 Belted Kingfisher
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
3 Downy Woodpecker
2 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 Merlin
1 Eastern Phoebe
3 Blue Jay
1 American Crow
3 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
X American Robin
X European Starling
X Cedar Waxwing
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
1 Palm Warbler
13 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
4 Fox Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
5 White-crowned Sparrow
X White-throated Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow
2 Lincoln's Sparrow
2 Swamp Sparrow
3 Northern Cardinal
4 Common Grackle
1 House Finch
X American Goldfinch
X House Sparrow

Brendon Lake on 10/9 reported via IBET: Hey all, I saw that Justin Wrinn had seen two White-Rumped Sandpipers at the west end lake at Burnidge Forest Preserve yesterday, and one again this morning. So, after work and running errands, I wound up at Burnidge to look for myself, being that White-Rumped Sandpiper would be a county lifer and is a county nemesis. It took thorough scanning of the west side of the lake from the drive that leads to the west entrance off of Coombs, but I eventually found two White-Rumped Sandpipers. Also present were two Pectoral Sandpipers (right next to the White-Rumps), four Killdeer, and three Solitary Sandpipers. The White-Rumped Sandpipers eventually ended up flushing and flying east at 4:50pm. The entire west end of the large lake is nothing but mudflats with some scattered wet spots, I've never seen it so dried up. Would have been great three or four weeks ago.

Marion Miller on 10/9 reported via e-mail: Rich and I checked out a few ponds in Kane County on Friday morning. Finding a Ross's Goose among hundreds of Canada Geese at the Exel pond off Indian Trail in Aurora was a treat. A few Cackling Geese were present also.

Ross's Goose

Ross's Goose photo courtesy Marion Miller

Eric Secker on 10/8 reported via e-mail: The MERLIN that we first saw over a month ago is still hanging around along the Fox River.  I saw it again yesterday and again today (October 7-8) in some dead trees down by the river at Judson University and was able to get a photo this time.


Merlin photo courtesy Eric Secker

Vicky Sroczynski on 10/8 reportted via IBET: the Snow Goose that has been out here is in the pond across Sullivan from IMSA'a track and field

Justin Wrinn on 10/7 reported via IBET: My planned forest birding at Burnidge this evening after work was cancelled when something (probably the local Cooper's Hawk) flushed what I thought was a flock of Killdeer over the west entrance lake. Taking a closer look, I saw some smaller shorebirds mixed in. They landed right in the middle of the lake, which is basically a big mudflat now except for the far eastern end. Rather than risk not being able to ID them with my binoculars, I sacrificed about 15 minutes of precious daylight to rush back to my car and get my scope. The smaller shorebirds turned out to be 2 Pectoral Sandpipers and 2 White-rumped Sandpipers. Since it seems this is a historic year for White-rumped in Illinois, I figured it was worth posting.

By the time I finished looking at the sandpipers, I barely had time to rush around the back side of the lake and get back to my car and out of the park before the gates were shut, but I still ended up with 36 species. Nothing else really worth mentioning though, except there have been 2 Sandhill Cranes spending the night at the west end of the lake just about every night for the past several weeks. They usually come in within half an hour before sunset every evening and leave in the morning within half an hour after sunrise.

Jon Duerr on 10/6 reported via e-mail: Tonight at Lincoln School in St. Charles, we had at least 1250 Swifts into the chimney at 6:48 to 6:54. There was a lot of circling and flying high above the chimney but once they started in it was nonstop.

Justin Wrinn on 10/6 reported via IBET: Joining the onslaught of White-rumped Sandpipers all over Northern Illinois, there was one at Settler's Court Ponds on the east side of Sugar Grove this evening. It was in the small pond surrounded by tall weeds to the southwest of the large north pond along Hwy 56. You can kind of see into the pond from along the paved path between the two ponds, but you can get a much better view if you go through the tall weeds on the north edge and up the embankment so you can look down into it (there is kind of a path). Andrew Aldrich had 4 this morning in the same spot, and I may have seen 3 last night, but it was too dark to see well enough to ID at that time. Other birds of note were 3 Pintails, 15 Shovelers, and a getting late Spotted Sandpiper. It is possible to park very close to the ponds. The exact location of the White-rumped is at this link

Walter Lutz on 10/4 reported via e-mail: Had a good morning at Freeman Kame Forest Preserve. Nothing special bird-wise but had about 31 species - full list will be on Ebird.

The shocker of the morning was I practically stepped on a Badger. It appeared to not be a full-size adult,

Chris Madsen on 10/2 reported: Based on Jon Duerr's report from yesterday, I checked on the Thompson Junior High chimney (corner of Main and Seventh Street in St. Charles) tonight. If you've tried, you know that counting Chimney Swifts dropping from their swirl into the night time roost is difficult, but my estimate was 265 birds. The show was over at 20 minutes after sunset - 6:53.

Justin Wrinn on 10/2 reported via IBET: While on a wild goose chase all over west Aurora this evening looking for the Ross's Goose that was seen in a couple of different locations earlier today (thanks to Jason Newton for trying unsuccessfully to relocate it for me), I found 24 Great Egrets near the north end of the Golf course pond south of Indian Trail, west of Deerpath. Then at the south end of the pond (it is quite long north to south) I saw 7 more Egrets and maybe 30 or 40 Canada Geese, so I pulled off on the shoulder to take a closer look.

I picked out a Cackling Goose and counted about 45 Mallards and a couple of Great Blue Herons, but no white geese. However, more geese had started to come in from the west a few at a time. It was around sunset already, so I figured this was my last chance today for the Ross's and decided to stick around in case it flew in.

I started counting individual Canadas, but the volume coming in kept picking up, so I had to switch to tens, then twenties, then hundreds, then finally so many were pouring in at once that I just gave up and started broadly estimating groups of 100. It took about half an hour for them to all come in, and my final tally was 5600. That is very conservative - the actual number is probably closer to 6000.

How they all crammed into the rather narrow end of the pond I have no idea. It was so full of geese that it looked like you could walk across on their backs. And so noisy too. There were at least a couple more Cackling, but not a single white goose flew in. Still it was definitely worth sticking around for. If anyone in or close to Aurora has time early tomorrow morning, I'd recommend at least driving by before they all fly off. It was quite a spectacle.

Ken Schneider on 10/2 reported via e-mail: This is a late report as I got far behind because of relocating to Florida. On September 26 I took our granddaughter on a bird hike at the north end of Nelson Lake. While we were walking the grass trail along the wooded area to the east of the NE prairie, two large flocks of Bobolinks, recognizable by their flight calls, passed overhead from east to west. They probably were coming from the lake/marsh margin and disappeared over the prairie to the west. The first flock may have had well over 100 individuals. I took photos which showed 40 birds and another part of the flock which was nearer which showed 26 Bobolinks. A second smaller flock of maybe 30 passed over going the same direction less than a minute later. Here is link to the eBird report.

Flocks of Bobolinks photos courtesy Ken Schneider

Jon Duerr on 10/1 reported via e-mail: Our Chimney Swift viewing was a bit disjointed tonight as we raced around to the various spots in St. Charles. So, only a few (15-20) at Marberry's, and a few a Vineland Church, but a good number at Lincoln School for the first time this fall and there was a flock at the NAPA chimney again after a 2 week hiatus! Last night we drove to the Bluff City chimney and only found about 20-25 Swifts. My theory is that we had a complete turn over of birds and the birds we saw this evening had not been in St. Charles until today. Earlier I speculated a portion of the evening flocks had spent a few days in St. C and were loyal to a particular chimney. I have no way to prove this!!

Lili Gray on 10/1 reported via eBird: Seeing a Snowy Egret trailing a Great Blue Heron in flight low over the east side of Batavia



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