May 2010

Yes, they are back. On May 9, I found a male sitting in the dead limbs on top of a Siberian Elm behind the bike rack on the north side of Bloom School. On May 13, a female was perched at the dead top of a conifer on Buckingham, just E of Westchester, NE of the school. Anne Straight and Mary Kisamore had a pair in flight in the neighborhood on Friday, May 28 and Barbara and I had a pair in flight on Saturday, May 29.

Please remember that school is still in session, but the last day of school is Thursday, June 4. It is probably best to avoid going on to school property while children are present to avoid concerning the school staff.

Barbara and I took a short walk on an abbreviated loop along the south side of Kent Creek in Anna Page this morning. By the time we left the house, it was too warm to go out into the open areas around the dam, so we stayed on the equestrian trail in the woods with a brief look out on to the dry dam from the west end of the loop trail where the gate is smashed down.

Only migrant was a Bay-breasted Warbler, but the highlight was a calling White-eyed Vireo out by the dry dam. It was in the hedgerow along the base of the east side of the dam and south of the creek.

We also saw that ATVs have been using the equestrian trail and tearing it up pretty badly in the areas where the ground is sandy. We're going to contact the Park District to see if they can put the gate back up, and maybe rebuild the fence in that area with a gate for pedestrians to get through and up on to the dam.

I spent 1.5 hours at Rock Cut SP before going to the office this morning. Highlights were: 1 Bell's Vireo (along the equestrian path that runs N from Hart Road across from the 1st parking lot E of Perryville Road), 7 Willow Flycatchers, 2 Acadian Flycatchers, 4 Cerulean Warblers (near the road in the hardwood forest N and S of the dam), 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos calling. A lot of Scarlet Tanagers were calling.

Did not hear any Alder Flycatchers nor did I see any Olive-sided Flycatchers or White-eyed Vireos.

A Yellow-throated Warbler was singing from the area of the White Pines at the intersection of Arlington Ave. and the park loop road this morning. This is the same location where Larry Balch heard one on May 6, and the same place that held one last summer, 2009.

John Longhenry reported that he found a Yellow-crowned Night-heron in the swamp at the south end of the loop road at Sugar River Forest Preserve on Saturday morning around 6:15 a.m. or so.

This is the same location where this species has been seen over the past 4-5 years. Good to know that one is in the area this spring. If seen by other observers, please post your sighting. Thank you.

Barbara and I found 2 Acadian Flycatchers at Sugar River FP yesterday afternoon.

There were 4 Willow Flycatchers along the dry dam at Anna Page Park in Rockford yesterday morning.

This morning, I heard a Hooded Warbler and a Canada Warbler calling from the woods in back of our house.

I have been photographing the behavior and action of the elusive Belted Kingfisher this spring for publication. Nesting, feeding and flight images are needed for this. This image is of a male Belted Kingfisher landing after an unsuccessful fishing trip. Notice the drop of water on the end of his beak.

Photographed on Oliver Road in Winnebago County this week. A rare bird to the Midwest. With his white border around his facial skin and all red legs is a sign of an adult bird.

Aaron Boone tipped me off to a shorebird spot in South Beloit that should be checked regularly this spring. It is the South Beloit Park. Yes, the same one that is closed to the public because it is contaminated with bacteria-e. coli to be specific, and there is a chain link fence across the driveway entrance with a sign warning that anyone who enters is subject to being arrested.

There is good news! You don't have to enter the park and incur the wrath of the authorities! Park on the side street and walk back to the south along the recreation path that parallels Dorr Road. There are openings in the vegetation where you can set up your telescope and scan the mudflats below for shorebirds. A telescope is essential, however, so, if you don't have one, go there with someone who does.

Today, I saw Solitary, Spotted, Least (22), Semipalmated(4), and Pectoral Sandpipers, plus 18 Dunlin, several Lesser Yellowlegs and, of course, a few Killdeer. The mud flats are fairly extensive, and could have pipits as well, but not today.

From Rockford, take IL 251 N to Prairie Hill Road. Go West on Prairie Hill to Dorr Road, turn right, and, after passing by Lake Victoria (on the right) you will come to the park. You can't miss it because the entrance has the chain link fence across it. Turn left on the street opposite the entrance, park there, and walk back. It is less than 200 feet to the first opening in the vegetation. A better opening is only 100'' or so further to the south.

Yesterday during the spring bird count, Barbara found a White-faced Ibis in breeding plumage in a small fluddle on the south side of Oliver Road, west of Harrison Road. It is a really jazzy looking bird. It was still present today. More specific directions are posted on IBET.

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