June 2009

Start at the location in Sinnissippi Park given in Dan Williams's 18 June post, and continue along the loop road 0.4 miles to a point where there is a boxed sand pile on the left and a One Way sign on the right. The bird was singing today in the white pines to the right. (Dan's birds in the park and at Winthrop and Highcrest were also singing today.)

I heard another Yellow-throated Warbler this morning, this time at Sinnissippi Park. It was calling from the White Pines at the corner of Arlington Avenue and the park loop road. There is a small parking lot on the right, and a children's playground across the road.

A Carolina Wren was calling near the Sinnissippi Park band shell this morning. It was close to the road on the north side of the band shell. The Yellow-throated Warbler that was calling from the intersection of Winthrop and Buckingham (just northeast of Bloom School) on Sunday was not heard today, but probably the same bird was 2 blocks away at Winthrop and Highcrest Roads.

The American Birding Association has just announced that NCIOS member Dakota Outcalt has won (in a tie with a young woman named Megan O'Brien) the "Writing Age 10-13'' category of the Young Birder of the Year competition. Other categories were photography, field notebook, illustration, and there is an "overall" category. Age groups are 10-13 and 14-18 in each category. The best work submitted will be featured in a future issue of BIRDING magazine. Many of the young birders who submit work to this contest are extremely talented, thoroughly engaged in birding, and work hard on their skills. The competition can be very stiff.
Good work, Dakota!

Barbara Williams

This morning, on my way home from one of my BBS routes in Ogle/Carroll
Counties, I stopped at Nieman Pond on Springfield Road on the east
side of Freeport. There were 31 White Pelicans there, plus a female
Ruddy Duck. The pelicans were in a variety of plumages: breeding,
non-breeding, immature, and a few with the dark caps of
"chick-feeding" adults, although no chicks were viewed.

The route produced 63 species, the most notable being a male Harrier
out in the corn and soybean desert. There must have been a field in
CRP on the other side of the ridge.

On Sunday, a BBS route from Durand to Pecatonica to eastern Stephenson
County produced 70 species, the most notable being a White-eyed Vireo.

I walked some trails at Rock Cut this morning. From the small gravel
parking lot just east of the Hart Road & Perryville Road intersection
on the west side of the park, I walked north on the equestrian trail
that begins immediately across the road from the parking lot. A
White-eyed Vireo was seen and heard about 200 yards north of the trail
head. Further north, the trail opens on to a field of cool season
grasses with some junipers and other shrubs in the field. There were
3 Willow Flycatchers and 1 Alder Flycatcher here, plus at least 3
Henslow's Sparrows were calling.

I took the cross trail to the right, into the next open area beyond
the tree line, and had 2 more Willow Flycatchers there.

Further east (approx 3/8 mile) along Hart Road from the small gravel
parking lot, I turned S on the equestrian trail that crosses the road
from N-S. It passes through some thick scrub, then opens on to
another field of cool season grasses. This is where Andy Sigler and
Al Stokie had 2 Alder Flycatchers, some Henslow's Sparrows, and a
Yellow-breasted Chat on Tuesday. I did not find any Alders or the
Chat here, but I did record at least 4 (probably 5) more Henslow's
Sparrows and 2 Sedge Wrens calling from the west side of the trail
(the park staff wisely only burned the east side this spring, leaving
the west side for the Henslow's), another Willow Flycatcher, and
another White-eyed Vireo just where the trail emerges from the shrub

2 Hooded Warblers were calling from the woods along the main road
after it enters the forest past the intersection with the east end of
Hart Road (gated off).

On the forest (Rock Cut) trail that runs west from the white pine
stand in the picnic area just south of the dam (and across the road
from the bur oak picnic area with the shelter house) I encountered 5
Cerulean Warblers at the western end of the trail just before and
after it joins with the old paved road at the former scout camp). No
Kentucky Warbler was heard or seen but it was getting late in the
morning. Veeries were calling from the west side of the road at the
scout camp location. 3 Acadian Flycatchers were also heard along the
trail, plus a fair number (I didn't count) of Scarlet Tanagers.

I received an email from Al Stokie. He and Andy Sigler were birding at Rock Cut on Tuesday, 6/9. The found 2 Alder Flycatchers and a YB Chat, plus a Henslow's Sparrow, all calling from the area south of the Equestrian parking lot on Hart Road. They parked at the new parking lot near the Perryville intersection, then walked east to the spot where the equestrian trail crosses Hart Road N-S. The went south, crossed the muddy patch, and heard the flycatchers calling from the dense brush, one on the east and one on the west side of the field. The chat was also calling from that area, and the Henslow's was in the grass. I thought that the park staff burned a part of that field this spring to control brush, so the presence of the Henslow's must be related to an area that wasn't burned.

I came across what I believe to be a Warbling Vireo nest the other day. The pair was busy building it Sunday and Monday. It is at Lake La-Aqua-Na park outside McConnell, Il. At the boat launch, facing the lake, it is on your left in a tall green ash(?) tree. It is about 20-30 feet off the ground, and when standing on the sandy area of the launch, looking at the tree, there is a 10-15 foot sapling in front of the nest tree. If you track up the sapling, the crown almost points right to the nest. It is probably 5-10 feet above the crown of the sapling. I'm pretty new to birding, so I don't know if this is something anyone would be interested in checking out, but I figured I would put it out there anyway.