Rock Cut State Park

We hiked at Rock Cut State Park this morning. We got there around seven. I went with my Uncle Eddie, my Grandpa and two birders Jan and Marjorie. The five of us saw quite a few warblers and Dark-eyed Juncos(!).

It was kind of chilly but got warmer near the end of the hike and it was sunny. I had a great time. I posted on my blog too about the trip.

Bird List

  1. Blackburnian Warbler
  2. Black-and-white Warbler
  3. American Redstart
  4. Black-throated Green Warbler
  5. Tennessee Warbler
  6. Nashville Warbler
  7. Common Yellowthroat
  8. Magnolia Warbler
  9. Blue-headed Vireo
  10. Red-eyed Vireo
  11. Dark-eyed Junco
  12. Northern Cardinal
  13. White-throated Sparrow
  14. Field Sparrow
  15. Song Sparrow
  16. Chipping Sparrow
  17. American Goldfinch
  18. American Robin
  19. Swainson's Thrush
  20. Eastern Bluebird
  21. Turkey Vulture
  22. Great Blue Heron
  23. Mallard
  24. Canada Goose
  25. Double-crested Cormorant
  26. Belted Kingfisher
  27. Pied-billed Grebe
  28. Eastern Phoebe
  29. Eastern Towhee
  30. Ring-necked Pheasant
  31. Black-capped Chickadee
  32. House Wren
  33. European Starling
  34. Mourning Dove
  35. Downy Woodpecker
  36. Red-bellied Woodpecker American Crow
  37. Blue Jay
  38. Common Grackle
  39. Cedar Waxwing

Jennie, Dakota, and I were at Rock Cut State Park this morning in hopes of finding the possible Little Blue Heron. In between downpours and lightning, we managed to find a Yellow-breasted Chat north of Hart Road on the main park drive as well as a White-eyed Vireo closer to Hart Road.

We also found Cerulean, Blue-winged, and Yellow Warblers plus American Redstarts. There were several Great Blue Herons along the lakeshore along with a female Wood Duck. Near the picnic area on the west side of Pierce Lake we found a Broad-winged Hawk that was being scolded by a Baltimore Oriole and as it flew off, was trailed by a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Fun morning although a bit wet :)

Jeff Donaldson called us today to advise that he had received a voice message from a person whom he did not know, but who said that he (the unknown person) had seen a Little Blue Heron at the east end of Pierce Lake at Rock Cut State Park. As far as I know, this species has never been seen in Rock Cut SP before, and is the first report, if confirmed, in Winnebago County this year. If anyone is out at Rock Cut and sees a Little Blue Heron, please let everyone else know. It is a hotline bird for sure on the Bird Club calling tree.


There was a large turnout for the NCIOS field trip to Rock Cut State Park ! Thanks all for coming and making it such a success. We saw around 40 species, including fly-over Sandhill Cranes, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a Brown Creeper.

In the little open water on the east side of Pierce Lake we found Hooded and Common Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, American Black Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, and Northern Shoveler.

At Olsen Lake, singing Eastern Meadowlarks and an Eastern Phoebe were wonderful signs of spring. The weather was a bit chilly, but the sun was bright and it was a good time.
Eastern Phoebe Sandhill Crane
NCIOS bird trip NCIOS Bird Trip
Birding is fun! NCIOS Bird Trip

Jennie, Dakota, and I went to Rock Cut to check for ducks. We had started our day off at Deer Run Forest Preserve and there were tons of ducks and geese flying around. We saw a group of Common Mergansers and Wood Ducks plus tons of Mallards and Canada Geese. We figured there would be many more ducks at Rock Cut.

Before heading out we heard an Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Bluebirds, and tons of Red-winged Blackbirds.

At Rock Cut the duck highlights included: Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, and Mallards. Other bird highlights included a lot of Turkey Vultures that were feasting on a deer carcass on the ice.
Turkey Vultures

We also were delighted to see a coyote that first eyed the carcass, then eyed us, and then crossed the frozen lake.

Perhaps the biggest highlight were two TREE SWALLOWS flying over the ice. Seems early for them!!

On Saturday I went to Rock Cut with my dad and we had a nice mix of birds. Pierce Lake was still mostly frozen (with lots of ice-fishing) but the open water by the dam had a ton of Mallards, a few American Coots, at least one American Black Duck, and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.

Best bird was a male Pileated Woodpecker that flew down the bike path directly overhead.

Pileated Woodpecker

We also found 3 American Robins and a group of 40+ Cedar Waxwings and 1 Northern Shrike near the prairie before the road that heads towards the campground road.

Went birding with my dad, a birder from San Diego and two birders from Boulder, Colorado. I was the "guide" and wanted to show them the Cerulean Warbler. Success! For anyone that hasn't seen a Cerulean Warbler they have to be the most easily viewed Ceruleans in the county. I've been to Rock Cut about six or seven times since May and have seen or heard the bird each time (sighted 4 or 5 times).

Other interesting birds at Rock Cut - Northern Parulas in about 3 locations along the bike path from the dam parking lot. They were singing loudly. We also heard many Wood Thrushes along the same trail which is extremely good news. We found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, American Redstarts, and there were many Great Blue Herons flying about.

Rock Cut State Park was full of birds. I birded from 12:30 to 3:30 this afternoon. Highlights linclude an Osprey over Pierce Lake and two Common Loons. There were many Tree Swallows over the lake as well. I also found approximately 20 Winter Wrens, many of which were singing. Other birds included both Kinglets, Eastern Towhee, Swamp Sparrow, Myrtle Warblers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Most birds were seen along the creek west of the dam.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)

There were 19 Pied-billed Grebes on Pierce Lake at Rock Cut SP today! Other species of note were 2 Horned Grebes from the Lion's Club fishing pier, a few Bufflehead, several dozen Lesser Scaup, and some Ruddy Ducks.

Many Golden-crowned Kinglets were vocal. I counted 36 seen, but there were certainly more. 5 Sapsuckers were along the trail immediately below the dam. 4 Yellow-rumped Warblers were also below the dam, plus 2 Winter Wrens (1 was singing).

Heard my first Field Sparrow of the year at the Olson Lake annex.