May 2008

Tim, my dad, and I birded Deer Run Forest Preserve from around 6 am to 11 am and found nearly 70 species of birds. We found several Bobolinks, a first summer male Orchard Oriole and Henslow's Sparrow before getting back into the woods.

Other notable birds were high numbers of cuckoos. ~8 Yellow-billed and 2 Black-billed. In the big field south of the railroad tracks we found another Henslow's Sparrow and a Northern Harrier. We had 2 Olive-sided Flycatchers and a Prothonotary Warbler that gave us pleasant views as he sang his golden heart out.

There were lots of Lark Sparrows and at least one singing Vesper Sparrow.

No Dickcissels or Sedge Wrens yet. Since December 1st we've found 136 species at Deer Run.

Apparently the storm last night brought in a wave of migrants to our backyard. A natural alarm clock in the form of a Scarlet Tanager woke me up and for the next few hours we had quite a few nice birds in the yard.

We added five new species to our yard - Canada Warbler, Tree Swallow, and a Bald Eagle WAY up high flying over. But most notably were Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos!! Both were calling and both spent quite a bit of time foraging in our trees.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Black-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo

Jennie and I spent the last three days birding all over Winnebago County. We started Friday morning at 0330 and finished on Sunday at around 1430. We took several breaks and even added an evening bird in our yard. Our final total birds was 133, ten more than last year's count.

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler


Pecatonica Wetlands: Sedge Wren along Blair Road, Louisiana Waterthrush; the wetlands were muddy and smelly so we didn't walk too far.

Rock Cut State Park: 4 Cerulean Warblers (1 by the dam, 1 along the park road north of the dam, and 2 back by the shelter west of the lake in the woods), 1 Yellow-throated Warbler, 3 Blue-winged Warblers, Blackpoll Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, 3 Veeries

Deer Run Forest Preserve: Black-billed Cuckoo by the railroad tracks, Orchard Oriole, American Woodcock (we were there at dusk and saw them displaying)

Yellow-crowned Night-heron - had exactly one shot before he took off
Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Sugar River Forest Preserve: Yellow-crowned Night-heron!!, Acadian Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler, Red-shouldered Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk

Pecatonica Forest Preserve: Henslow's Sparrow

Oak Ridge Forest Preserve: a field full of 20+ Eastern Kingbirds

Anna Page Park: Bell's Vireo northwest of the dam over the hill, White-eyed Vireo east of the dam, Orchard Oriole

Bell's Vireo
Bell's Vireo

Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve: Kentucky Warbler, Lark Sparrow

Colored Sands Forest Preserve: Prothonotary Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo

Espenscheid Memorial Forest Preserve: 2 White-eyed Vireos, Blackburnian, Canada, Cape May, and Blackpoll Warblers

Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve: Clay-colored Sparrow

Various Locations: Several Wood Thrushes, lots and lots of Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, 7 species of vireos, 22 species of warblers (most requiring a lot of effort to find).

Our final bird was a Mourning Warbler in our backyard, spotted first by our mom!

All birds sighted in Winnebago County during this time frame (May 23 - May 25) count so if you saw something cool, let us know. We added a few new birds with the help of Dan Williams and the Coopers.

I apologize for the tardy post. Yesterday, May 23, around 3:30 p.m., I found 7 Black Terns flying and feeding in a fluddle on the north side of Oliver Road about 1/2 mile west of its intersection with Harrison Road. This is about 3-4 miles south of Harrison, IL. Also in the pond were 6 Dunlin and a Common Nighthawk was flying around catching insects. This is apparently the same pond in which Phil Schwab reported a second Hudsonian Godwit on May 21.

Dan Williams called me at 1 today to say he found the Yellow-crowned Night Heron along the right side of the loop road in Sugar River FP, almost to the outhouses. I found it behind a big brush pile in the water on the left side at 2 PM. A Prothonotary Warbler was singing in that area, also.

The floodle at Meridian Road and Route 75 has disappeared, and with it the Hudsonian Godwit and other shorebirds.

I was out scouting at lunch time for the weekend of birding and could not relocate the White-eyed Vireo that has been at Espenscheid Memorial Forest Preserve. However, at Blackhawk Springs I found a Clay-colored Sparrow.

There was also a singing Northern Parula at Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve along the main road on the west side (off of Blackhawk Road) pretty far back into the park.

Location of Clay-colored: Park at Perryville side parking lot, cross bridge and he was on the left in the bushy-shrubs (past the trail that follows the river).

So, as if you don't already have enough to do, I just received an email report that, today, some birders from the western suburbs found an adult Yellow-crowned Night-heron at Sugar River Forest Preserve. It was in the lower end of the loop road, where it passes through the flooded bottoms, on the one-way loop. Please reply to this post if you go there and are able to relocate it. Thanks.

By the way, the Hudsonian Godwit continues on Meridian Road and another was found on Oliver Road just W of its intersection with Harrison Road.

This evening and during the day there were quite a few birds in our city backyard. The big highlight was a Black-throated Blue Warbler which took advantage of our makeshift dripper-bath.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Other highlights: Wilson's, Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Ovenbird, & Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes.

At Rockford Rotary Forest Preserve I had my first of season Olive-sided Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee.

The Hudsonian Godwit first found by Matt Vincent on Sunday, May 18 is still present in the fluddle at the NE corner of IL 75 and Meridian Road in northern Winnebago County. It was seen today at 2:30 p.m. by Keith McMullen and Craig Taylor. If anyone goes out there and finds the bird, please post to the list as a comment to this post. Thanks.

Barbara found a Eurasian Collared-dove on the wires along the road at the end of our driveway this morning. Unfortunately, it flew off before I could get out there and see it for my yard list! This is her second sighting in the county. As I reported a little more than a week ago, we spotted one along Telegraph Road on the spring count.

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