October 2007

I missed the deadline to submit information for a new Christmas Bird Count (CBC), however, next year we should have a new count for our area.

I will be bringing a map and some more information to the next NCIOS meeting (November 8th) but here is some preliminary information:

All CBC circles are 15 miles in diameter so I played around with various circles to maximize "good" area covered. The circle I came up with includes:

Rock Cut State Park, Kieselburg FP, Lib, Distillery, and a fairly long list of parks and preserves, mostly in Boone County. Already there has been some interest from birders in the area and I see no problem with getting 10 people to count (one of the requirements for starting a count is a list of at least 10 counters).

I am going to bring this up at the meeting so hopefully birders with some spare time can browse some of the areas this year to get an idea of the "best" areas. The data will be submitted next year between August and September and I am volunteering to compile the data and work on getting counters.

The date will be set in such a way to accommodate for other counts and for the Christmas season. By no means do I wish for this count to diminish the counting of the other CBCs in our area.

Don't miss our next meeting :)

Severson Dells had a guided hike led by Phil Schwab. Here are the birds we saw or heard:

From eBird
Location: Winnebago County, IL, US
Observation date: 10/20/07
Notes: Bird hike included Phill S., Kevin K., Eddie C., Ronald and Patricia C., Jennie O., Dakota O., and three newer birders
Number of species: 45

Canada Goose 576
Mallard 52
Ring-necked Duck 10
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Wild Turkey 5
Pied-billed Grebe 4
Great Blue Heron 4
Turkey Vulture 4
Bald Eagle 1
Cooper's Hawk 3
Red-tailed Hawk 4
American Coot 154
Killdeer 10
Ring-billed Gull 15
Rock Pigeon 14
Mourning Dove 9
Barred Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 4
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 3
Blue Jay 7
American Crow 16
Tree Swallow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 10
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4
Eastern Bluebird 8
American Robin 242
European Starling 35
Cedar Waxwing 5
Yellow-rumped Warbler 22
Wilson's Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 3
White-throated Sparrow 16
Dark-eyed Junco 24
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 5
American Goldfinch 8
American Pipit 4

Made a quick pass to Olson Beach around noon today. Highlights were: 1 Baird's Sandpiper on Olson Beach, 3 Wilson's Snipe on the mudflats of Olson Lake in the back bay, 2 Bonaparte's Gulls on the beach, 1 female Greater Scaup and 2 Ruddy Ducks in the back bay of Olson Lake. Pierce Lake had a lot of boat traffic on it, and a couple of Bonaparte's Gulls were there, too, but they could have been the same pair that flew over from Olson while I was driving to the dam.

Today we had our monthly NCIOS field trip. The trip was to the Pecatonica Wetlands area on Chuck Hillebrand's property. But the birding actually started right at the parking lot at Farm & Fleet where we met. There we saw two Cooper's Hawks and heard a Kingfisher and White-throated Sparrow.

At the wetlands area the birding was a bit slow but we saw several Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows. We also heard a Sandhill Crane and saw a couple Great Blue Herons fly close.

After birding there, we headed to the farmland on highway 70 and saw a few Snow Geese including a Blue Phase (but no Ross's). There were also Cackling Geese and we two Bald Eagles including a wonderful adult.

View more details and the whole list here .

I went out this morning in western Winnebago County to look for LeConte's Sparrows and migrating hawks. No luck, although there were lots of TVs moving. At the farm ponds on Trask Bridge Road (IL 70) 1/4 mi east of Leech Road (CR 47), there were a few Snow Geese, plus a smaller white goose with a rounded head, steep forehead, and short, stubby, triangular bill whose base was straight-edged and vertical-a Ross's Goose . There were also some stubby-billed, smaller Canada-type geese which I took to be Richardson's or Hutchins's forms of Cackling Goose . This is not the easiest form of Cackling Goose to ID, so one must take care. (That would be the minima form, barely larger than a Mallard, and with a dark breast.) I did not spend much time looking through all the Canada's, or perhaps I could have found a Greater White-fronted Goose to make 5 species!

Between Thursday, Oct 4 and Sunday, Oct 7 some birding highlights:

Our backyard
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Cooper's Hawk (in neighborhood)

Blackhawk Springs
2 Magnolia Warblers

Lowden Miller State Forest with Russ Cline
Brown Thrasher
Dark-eyed Junco (first of fall for me)
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo - have seen many in the last couple of weeks
lots of Eastern Towhees
White-throated, Chipping, Song, Field Sparrows (no White-crowned yet)

Rock Cut State Park, Sunday with Jennie and Dakota
Eastern Phoebe
many Eastern Bluebirds
many Cedar Waxwings
many Yellow-rumped Warblers
a few Dark-eyed Juncos

Pierce Lake has been reliable this year for Osprey; we've seen one and at times three several times this year.

- Eddie

I am interested in any reports of hummingbirds coming to feeders starting today, October 1. Most of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds should have migrated out by now. They have left our feeders. Lingering hummingbirds, and the dates on which they remain in the fall, should be followed. Naturally, if you see a hummingbird that you can't identify in this season, please let someone know that, too. We can come out and try to identify it. Thanks.

Per the homeowners request, the last day to come and view the Green-breasted Mango outside of Beloit, Wisconsin will be Wednesday, October 3rd. These wonderful people have been so gracious to open their yards and be part of birding history. This has been wonderful for the birding community!