October 2009

Late this afternoon, I found 5 swans at Nieman Pond on the east side of Freeport. At least 4 of them were Tundra Swans. The other didn't lift its head from sleeping the entire time I was there, but appeared to be the same size. None of the 5 were banded.

Also at Nieman Pond were a variety of puddle ducks, mostly GW Teal and Mallards, some divers (Ring-necked, Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks, L. Scaup, and Hooded Mergansers. A Snow Goose and some Cackling Geese with a variety of Canada types rounded out the waterfowl.

Nieman Pond is at the north end of Springfield Road. That is the road immediately west of the old Kelly Springfield tire factory. Exit US 20 as if you were going to downtown Freeport at the Kelly plant. At the bottom of the exit ramp, turn right on to Springfield Road, recross US 20 onthe bridge, and the pond is dead ahead. It is private property, as well as all around, so stick to the edge of the road. A scope is necessary to see good details on the birds-they were in the way back of the pond.

I found a Surf Scoter at the Rockford airport quarry today. It was in the large pond behind the locked gates on the south side of Belt Line Road, so it was not visible from Belt Line. am not posting this on IBET for obvious reasons. No reason to tempt people to come to Rockford for a bird that is likely not visible. However, if you are in that vicinity, you might look from Belt Line Road from near the scale house, where you can get a pretty good look at the pond with a scope (a scope is necessary). The scoter was with a pair of L. Scaup and a pair of Ruddy Ducks. There were about 100 Canada Geese, plus a couple of Cackling Geese in the pond, too.

Barbara and I are still seeing Chimney Swifts over the Page Park woods and our house. This afternoon, Barbara had 6 swifts overhead, but there may have been more that were out of view.

Chicago area birders are reporting high numbers in certain areas associated with old chimneys. Keep you eyes to the sky! (more...)

Barbara and I drove by Howard's farm on IL 70 in Winnebago County around 12:30 p.m. today. There was a Snow Goose with a small flock of Canadas which also included 12 Cackling Geese.

A walk around Pecatonica Wetlands FP earlier this morning yielded 49 species, including 6 species of woodpeckers (we didn't see Red-headed). We counted 24 Wood Ducks in the oxbow swamps, but found only 3 species of warblers. There are a lot of Song and Swamp sparrows in the grasslands, but we could only find Lincoln's and White-crowned among them. Some swallows are still around-both Tree and Barn were flying over the prairies there, plus we had a pair of Sandhill Cranes.