April 2007

Jennie, Dakota, and I birded at Pecatonica Wetlands on Sunday morning and heard a bird that we matched up with the iPod to Connecticut Warbler. Unfortunately, with work and school we most likely won't be able to return until Friday morning. We are asking any birders that have time to go and check it out.

The location is as follows: Parking lot off of Pecatonica Road near the bridge. Take the trail west and follow it until it splits; take a left and follow the gravely road until you get to a water control device that will be on the right. The bird was calling in this general area back in the wetland area on this side. If you reach the hunting club area on the left, you've gone too far. Obviously the bird most likely has moved, but the area was loaded with birds. We're not sure how far in miles this is but it's a fairly good hike.

We saw and heard a Golden-winged Warbler near the parking lot, plus other warblers, so your trip to the wetlands will most likely turn up something wonderful! Good luck if you go and try and get a photo or other documentation. We had no idea that it was really early for this species or we would have videoed the sound. This would be a record arrival date for this area.

Please keep us posted if you head out! Thanks!

After going hiking at Pecatonica Wetlands we got a call from Jack Armstrong that there was a really cool bird at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory. We high-tailed it out of there to check it out, but not before sighting a great selection of warblers: Golden-winged, Connecticut, Black-throated Green, Palm, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle), & Louisiana Waterthrush.

We arrived at Colored Sands Forest Preserve where a small army of camera-clad birders had formed. Then they brought out the celebrity bird - Lazuli Bunting!!

Lazuli Bunting
Lazuli Bunting

From what we heard, this is the first time a Lazuli Bunting has been banded at Sand Bluff. You just never know what's going to show up. Check out some more pictures of bird banding .

Today 12 birders got together to go on the NCIOS field trip to Franklin Creek and Nachusa Grasslands in Lee County. The trip was led by Kevin Kaltenbach.

Some of the highlights at Franklin Creek were Green Heron, five species of woodpeckers (Hairy, Downy, Red-belly, Northern Flicker, & Yellow-bellied Sapsucker), calling Eastern Towhee and Louisiana Waterthrush (lifer for me, Jennie and my dad).

Louisiana Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush

There were many cool wildflowers out and I actually recognized some (thanks to Barbara and the wildflower walk I went on at Anna Page Park).

Jack in the Pulpit
Prairie Trillium
Prairie Trillium

At Nachusa Grasslands we had Henslow's Sparrow calling (and briefly seen) plus great views of Lark Sparrows. A Brown Thrasher was singing from a plum grove and there were several Eastern Meadowlarks.

I decided I wanted to put a favorite bird on my license plates. I finally received my new plates a few weeks ago and wanted to celebrate by writing a little post about it. Good birding everyone!

My brother already has "birding plates" and so do a few other members of the club. I also found out that my son Dakota's baseball coach's wife has "heron" on her car because she loves Great Blue Herons. Maybe she will want to join the club?

(Eddie's license plate)

Had the first RBG of the season at our feeder yesterday.

Our latest estimate is that we have about a cubic yard (tightly packed) of White-throated Sparrows at our bird bath and feeders.

Thank you to Eddie Callaway re: the various cites you referred me to re: sparrow control for bluebird boxes. I have obtained some sparrow traps from Gilbertsonnestbox.com - which work great. These are small little traps, easy to install in boxes that have been taken by sparrows. I have trapped and dispatched 8 sparrows, just in the past 1 1/2 weeks. Now all of my boxes (at least for the present) are empty, and hopefully some bluebirds and tree swallows will get a chance to move in.

Saw the first House Wrens of the year in the woods around Pecatonica this morning. Other new arrivals seem to be Cliff Swallows, and there are a large number of Chimney Swifts over down town Pecatonica. The wet spots that might contain shorebirds are starting to dry up in this hot, windy weather, so some rain would be helpful now. If you have not already signed up for the Spring Bird Count on May 5, Jack Armstrong needs counters. Please call him to volunteer at 398-2974, even if you can only go for a part of the day. There are a lot of spots that only take an hour or two, and he needs counters.

This is a reminder/update about the upcoming Earth Day happenings at Rock Valley College. NCIOS will be running a booth to talk about the birds in our area, conservation of bird habitat, and about our birding club. Currently there are only two members who are signed up to manage the booth - Jennifer Outcalt and myself. We would really like one or two (or more) people to come help us out. The event runs from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM. If you could make it for any part of this time that would be great.

Full info:

Where: Rock Valley College, P.E. Center (PEC)
When: 12-4 PM on Saturday, April 21st
Details: We will have a booth with the club name and various materials. We are scheduled to have electricity and internet access so can hopefully display the blog/website and other birding materials. We are planning on having pencils, bookmarks and club info to pass out.

If you wish to join us, please call Jennie or me at 815-226-1051 or my cell 815-323-0011 ASAP. This is a great tool to reach potential new members and increase our ranks of birders and conservationists!

Here is a flyer that was sent to us:


A Towhee has been singing in Blackhawk Springs F P near the Perryville entrance the last two mornings.
Along the lane leading west into Oak Ridge F P from Perryville Road, (was formerly part of Blackhawk Springs), were Yellow- rumps, Flicker, 2 Brown Thrashers, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Field Sparrow, and Brown Creeper; in the woods beyond were a Hermit Thrush and Winter Wren; in the wetlands were large numbers of Blue-winged Teal, a Wood Duck, and a Beaver; in the woods along the equestrian trail were Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow; and heard were Sandhill Cranes, Killdeer, and Woodcock.

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