May 2009

I got wind of the Black-headed Grosbeak on Saturday when my sister Jennie arrived at my apartment. We headed out to the location and met Jack & Joyce Armstrong there. After 10-15 minutes we had excellent views of the bird in the black walnut (?) tree to the right of the garage of a residence east of Rockford (directions below).

Unfortunately, I failed to get a photo as the bird flew when I attempted to get the camera out.


Take Riverside east past the tollway, past Sportscore 2, past Olsen Road. The road curves and descends and then take a left at Aberdeen Rd (looks almost like a private drive). Take an immediate left on Prestwick Rd. I think the address is 11507 and is on the right (driveway leads to a garage that is located at a left, 90-degree angle.)

I believe this was reported on the phone tree but I thought I'd post it here as well.

We suspect that some folks are wondering if the Mississippi Kites will return to Rockford this year, and we expect that some people will go looking to try to find them. If you do see a kite, please do NOT post it on this page, or on IBET, or other bird internet sites!! It is early in the season, and, if kites are about, they are likely prospecting for nesting sites. If you publicize that you have seen a kite, it may attract a lot of people to that place and scare the kites away from what might be a suitable nest location. So, please, keep any sightings to yourselves, at least for now. Thank you.

Sunday morning I drove through Sugar River briefly and a Yellow-crowned Night-heron flew up to a perch. He willingly waited for me to set up my digiscoping rig and fire off a series of shots. He was in the swamp in the middle of the loop road.

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

No Ceruleans or other birds of note in my ~20 minutes there.

Barbara and I walked the loop road around Sugar River Forest Preserve this morning and found 2 Acadian Flycatchers, the first we have heard/seen in Winnebago County this year. A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling, and we heard a Prothonotary Warbler in the swamp within the loop road. We did not see or hear any Yellow-throated or Cerulean Warblers. Has anyone detected Ceruleans at Sugar River in the last 2 years? Yellow-throated Warblers were found there last weekend during the spring count.

A single Black Tern was flying over Lake Summerset this morning. No other terns were detected during the 10 minutes we were there. You can park by the yellow gate along Best Road, just south of the main entrance, to scan the lake. Morning is best. The sign says no parking, so don't leave the immediate vicinity of your car and don't stay too long.

Oliver Road had a single SemiSandpiper mixed in with a small grouip of Leasts, about 6 Dunlin, and 8 SemiPlovers.

Barbara and I took a long walk around the series of trails that form a long E-W loop at Anna Page Park. The loop goes up on the dry dam, below the jaws of the dam on the west side of the levee, and back through the woods on the north side of Kent Creek.

We recorded 84 species in 3 hours. Most notable was a male Summer Tanager that flew from the east side of the dam to the west side. Also near the dry dam were at least 4 Henslow's Sparrows (along and in the cool season grasses along the west shoulder of the dam and the northwest area of the creek), a Bell's Vireo along the trail that enters the dam area from Porter Road (be careful of the construction of the water lines there), and a bunch (6) of Orchard Orioles out along the dam on both sides. We also saw 22 species of warblers in the walk, mostly in the hardwood forests both north and south of Kent Creek, an empid flycatcher that refused to call but was likely a Willow, and a lot of migrating warblers (I said 22 species), mostly Blackpolls, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Cape May, Redstarts and Tennessee, but also 1 Wilson's and Orange-crowned, several Chestnut-sided, a N. Parula, bunches of Nashville, both Blue- and Golden-winged.

There were 2 Philadelphia Vireos calling (and visible) in our woods, and a Pine Warbler was still calling on territory from the pines just north of Page Park School near our property line with the park.

I found a female Red-necked Phalarope in a fluddle on the north side of Oliver Road, about 0.3 of a mile west of Harrison Road, northwest of Rockford, late this afternoon. It was still there at 5:45 p.m. Also present were 4 Dunlin in breeding plumage, a couple of Spotted Sandpipers, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a couple of SemiPlovers. On the south side of the road were 11 SB Dowitchers and a hen Hooded Merganser and her brood.

Tonight, Barbara and I had dinner in downtown Rockford on east State Street. On the way back to the car, Common Nighthawks were flying and calling overhead. Good to have them back.

Yesterday Joyce Brown and I saw 6 Forster's Terns flying over the pond at the Boat Launch on the south side of Sportscore One, Elmwood Road. We watched them from 4:00-4:30 p.m. during which time they also flew north along the river, but repeatedly returned to the pond.

I still have a few Pine Siskins in my yard. One is singing. This is the latest I have ever had them.

This morning I saw a Stilt Sandpiper in mostly alternate plumage in a fluddle on the north side of Oliver Road about 1/2 mile east of Harrison Road. The only other shorebirds in the fluddle were 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. The fluddle also had 2 N. Shovelers and a pair of Blue-winged Teal. Across the road to the south was a Solitary Sandpiper, also in alternate plumage.

Very few shorebirds in the fluddles this morning anywhere in the county. 6 Least Sandpipers were in a fluddle at the northeast corner of IL 75 and Meridian Rd.

4 Henslow's Sparrows are calling in the cool season grasses on the north side of the dry dam at Anna Page Park, but I did not hear any Sedge Wrens or Bell's Vireos from that area this morning. Both species were there last summer and are likely to return any day soon.

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