April 2011

Barbara and I attended Jeff Walk's presentation regarding the findings of the 2007 TNC study which replicated studies done in 1900 and in 1950 (or so). Very interesting presentation and very well done.

Afterward, Jeff joined Jack and Joyce Armstrong, Barbara and me for a short bird hike through Klehm. Overall, birds were pretty quiet and scarce, but we were able to locate some newly arrived migrants, starting with 4 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Highlight was a spectacular Blackburnian Warbler. A couple of Broad-winged Hawks went over like bullets (and very high). Also seen were a Yellow-throated Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler and Nashville Warbler.

We drove down to the Bell Bowl prairie at the airport. Didn't hear any Western Meadowlarks (there are plenty of Easterns) but did hear a Grasshopper Sparrow.

When we arrived home, there was a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak at our feeder.

The Illinois Spring Bird Count is on Sat. May 7, 2011. If you would like to help count and gather information for the Non-Game Species Department of the State of Illinois, send and email to JackArm_1@comcast.net or phone 815-398-2974. The count is in the entire county - Winnebago and lasts for the entire day. You may sign up to count with an assigned group for part of the day or all day. Someone in your group will be a good birder and be able to help identify the birds.

Jack Armstrong - Coordinator of Winnebago County Spring Bird Count.

Ann Straight called this afternoon with a report that there were 7 American Avocets in the flooded oxbows north of Ridott. I arrived there around 4:00 p.m. and saw 6. John Longhenry called me at 5:30 p.m. to report that he had 1. Thanks Ann for alerting us.

Yesterday, I drove through Rock Cut SP. Heard 11 Eastern Towhees and at least 6 Field Sparrows in the brushy areas between the 173 entrance and the woods. There was a Common Loon on Pierce Lake. Highlight, though, were 3 Yellow-throated Warblers calling along the loop road on the south side of the lake near the Red Oak picnic area entry and the park maintenance driveway, all in association with White Pines. The Armstrongs and Jim Myers also reported a Pine Warbler from the picnic area south of the dam and an alternate plumage Horned Grebe on Pierce Lake.

This morning, there were 4 Common Loons on the lake with at least 4 Pied-billed Grebes. No sign of the Horned Grebe, but 36 Double-crested Cormorants flew in while I was there. There were 5 birds on the pile of rocks just east of the dam-1 Ring-billed Gull, 1 immature Bonaparte's Gull moulting into alternate plumage, 2 Forster's Terns and 1 Common Tern. The Yellow-throated Warblers are still calling in the spots heard yesterday.

I have been out at the Winnebago Forest preserves this past week, here are some of my highlights. Ospreys , Bald Eagles,woodducks,great egrets and buffleheads on the Kishwaukee river. Eastern meadowlarks and bluebirds being seen at Rock Cut state park, along with white throated and white crowned sparrows. I was able to photograph Northern Parula and Yellow rumped warblers this week. Red shouldered hawk hunting near SE Rockford a large adult male. Here is an image taken of the osprey over the Kishwaukee river.