March 2007

Today we had our first Towhee and a bunch of Golden-crowned Kinglets. Chorus frogs have been singing for the last few nights and on Sunday evening we had a bat flying around the yard.

I've created a user name for eBird for the bird club. If anyone is interested in posting their sightings on this wonderful service, email me - - for the user name and password.

eBird is a wonderful service that allows you to submit bird sightings via checklist format based on location (you set the location). What this does is it generates graphs that you can review, etc. I thought it would be cool if club members but sightings they had so we could have records of them for years to come. Here is an example graph (cropped to fit)


The data only began in March so it is a bit limited but you can see a bit how it works.

I had to get out and enjoy the weather on my lunch break at Espenscheid Memorial. The highlights were many Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Brown Thrasher. I also found a Wood Duck pair in the backwater along the main trail. I've never seen so much extra water there and it most likely will attract quite a bit of birds. Fox Sparrows, Eastern Phoebes and Eastern Bluebirds were fairly common.

Jennie and I went to Severson Dells in the morning to see if we could find the Common Redpoll. We did not. But we did have about eight Eastern Phoebes and a Swamp Sparrow (see picture).

Swamp Sparrow

Other highlights were Cooper's Hawk, Fox Sparrow, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks, Belted Kingfisher, and others.

Here's a picture of one of the Phoebes:

Eastern Phoebe

The Common Redpoll persists at the feeder at Severson Dells.

My dad and I visited Pecatonica Wetlands with our new Doberman, Arizona. The fog made viewing birds difficult but we had good sightings of Fox Sparrows and heard Wood Ducks. The highlight was what appears to be a small (and hopefully growing) Great Blue Heron rookery. We counted 7 herons in 5 nests and at least 2 or 3 other herons flying about.

Arizona Doberman

My wife and I stopped by around 1 PM to check Pierce Lake. A Common Loon and Bonaparte's Gull were new for the year. A kayaker flushed all the birds on the lake before I was half through scanning, and I don't know how many of the birds returned, but there was a good selection of waterfowl. Besides the usual Mallards and Canada Geese (not many of either), there were good numbers of Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, lesser numbers of Common Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, Shovelers, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, and a few Greater Scaup, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Common Goldeneyes, and American Wigeon. Some Wood Ducks flew over. Missed Black Duck, Pintail, Canvasback. There were a few Herring Gulls with the several dozen Ring-billed Gulls. No swallows. Watched a Cooper's Hawk in courtship display flight, fluffing out its undertail coverts far to its sides.

I birded briefly at Espenscheid Memorial Forest Preserve at lunch time and was rewarded by a Winter Wren. He was hanging around the wooden bridge to the southeast of the main (large) parking lot. The river is really high and making a whirling motion where it bends by the canoe launch. I also saw a lone Turkey Vulture, Eastern Phoebe and loads of Song Sparrows.

Please remember that bird nests, particularly raptor nests, are vulnerable to disturbance. Even well-meaning people can disrupt birds' nesting behavior or inadvertantly lead predators (including human predators!) to nests. The general rule is to keep the location of all nests secret. Yes, secret from everyone! Even other birders!

Retraced some of the route that the club took several weeks ago when I couldn't go. Found all 3 species of swans, lots of White-fronted Geese, and, of course, thousands of ducks and geese. A surprise was the 1st winter Glaucous Gull at Lock and Dam 13. Lots of White Pelicans there, mostly on the Iowa side of the river. Ended at Lock and Dam 14, where the Harlequin Ducks were on the Iowa side. Thanks to Ann Straight for her excellent directions.

Barbara saw a Purple Finch at our feeder on Friday and it was calling Saturday from the woods.

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