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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Mon, 05/21/2018 - 12:44pm

Event date:

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Eric G. has an amazing phone app. It was able to tell him, down to the minute, when the drizzle would stop, and it did. 

We were walking along the south side of the Museum when the drizzle stopped.  By then we had seen a pair of Green Herons, and Gary M. spotted the nest that the pair were building in a short tree on the east side of the south façade of the Museum.  This is where their nest was built last year. Oh Happy Day!!

In the center of Wooded Island, Eric G. and I had convinced the birders that there was a Prothonotary Warbler. Given, it was in an unlikely habitat (not near water) and there was a male Yellow Warbler nearby.  But we were satisfied, that is, until Jennie S., a Prothonotary Warbler devotee, stayed back to study the bird.  Jennie met up with the group on the South Bridge. With Sibley’s app in hand, she took Eric G. and me aside, and caused us to abandon our call of a Prothonotary Warbler, and admit that the bird was likely a female Yellow Warbler. Intellectual honesty hurts sometimes.  But a founding principle of our Walks is Intellectual Honesty.

Karin D. lamented that her collective knowledge of warbler identification goes into a temporary memory file that gets erased every year.  Fall warblers are in another temporary file.

The sighting of the Mourning Warbler was special for all of us, especially for Seven O. from Boston. This was a target bird for him.  We all enjoyed great close up views at eye level.

After four hours of birding Jackson Park, five of us drove off to Sunrise Restaurant in Whiting, Indiana for brunch, with Karin Cassel in tow. We then headed to Gibson Woods in Hammond, Indiana. Our last visit was several months ago, before Karin C.’s fall that sent revenues to the University of Chicago Hospital. But Karin C. is resilient, and birding is a priority. 

At Gibson Woods, we saw both multiple Baltimore Orioles and a single male Orchard Oriole, from the comfort of easy chairs.  I noticed a burl on a distant tree limb.  I instantly thought back to the time on Wooded Island, many years ago, when Paul Clyne pointed out a resting nightjar on a horizontal branch of an oak tree, at the southwest corner of Wooded Island. Could this burl be a bird?  Out came the scope.  Focused at 60, the burl became a bird --- a Common Nighthawk at rest! What a wonderful sight!

BIRDERS:  8  (1) Gary M., (2) Eric G., (3) Jennie S., (4) Marian N., (5) Tracy W.,(6) Seven O. from Boston, a former Hyde Parker,(7) Karin D. and(8) Pat D.


TIME: 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon


PLACES:  Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, and the three lagoons.

DISTANCE:  2 miles

WEATHER:    Cloudy. Drizzle in the first hour, Temperature 54 - 58 F.

Wind NNE 5 - 10mph. Not felt much while on Wooded Island.


  1. Canada Goose  18     5 goslings were with parents at the SW end of the West Lagoon.

  2. Wood Duck  13     Maybe some double counting.

  3. Mallard  5     A single female was perched on a horizontal oak branch in the center of Wooded Island.  Alone in her splendor, she behaved like a Wood Duck, who had  enough of male pursuits.

  4. Red-breasted Merganser  1     Female. Lingering in the East Lagoon. Diving. On land later. Looks a little ragged.

  5. Double-crested Cormorant  2

  6. Great Blue Heron  1

  7. Green Heron  2     Nest building in tree along south east facade of Museum of Science & Industry

  8. Black-crowned Night-Heron  2

  9. Spotted Sandpiper  3     Around the shores of the North Lagoon (North Basin) Favored the NE and SW corners.

  10. Ring-billed Gull  4

  11. Herring Gull  1     North Lagoon (North Basin)

  12. Mourning Dove  2     Not common in Jackson Park. A pair was seen and heard in the small trees at the NW corner of the soccer field.

  13. Chimney Swift  38

  14. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2     One near the SW corner of Darrow Bridge. The other was on Wooded Island. South end.

  15. Downy Woodpecker  2

  16. Hairy Woodpecker  1     In the woods at the north end of Bobolink Meadow. Outer tail white feathers were solid white, and size appeared larger than a Downy Woodpecker. Seen by Pat Durkin,

  17. Northern Flicker  1

  18. Eastern Phoebe  2

  19. Eastern Kingbird  5

  20. Yellow-throated Vireo  1     Spotted by Eric G. at the edge of the woods, north end of Bobolink Meadow. Field guides were checked by birders while looking at the bird. Yep. Yellow-throated Vireo.

  21. Warbling Vireo  4

  22. Red-eyed Vireo  1     West side of barricaded Darrow Bridge.

  23. American Crow  2

  24. Northern Rough-winged Swallow  4

  25. Purple Martin  11     Staying in their houses during drizzle time. At the end of our walk,  four hours later, a silent flock of 8 were seen, perched on the crown of a tree, from the Music Bridge.  The flock burst into flight, and a few gurgling calls were heard as the flew in the direction of homes (summer rentals)

  26. Tree Swallow  2

  27. Barn Swallow  10

  28. House Wren  8     Nesting material was being carried to a tree hole at the SW corner of the South Bridge.

  29. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  5

  30. Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1

  31. Eastern Bluebird  1     Heard near the South Bridge.

  32. Swainson's Thrush  2

  33. American Robin  4

  34. Gray Catbird  2

  35. European Starling  2

  36. Cedar Waxwing  13     The flock flew in silently and landed above our heads. Center of Wooded Island.

  37. Black-and-white Warbler  2

  38. Mourning Warbler  1     Great close eye level views. Seen by all the birders. In the center of Wooded Island.

  39. Common Yellowthroat  19

  40. American Redstart  3

  41. Northern Parula  1     Heard near the South Bridge. Seven O. from Boston is very familiar with this bird's call.

  42. Magnolia Warbler  6

  43. Yellow Warbler  13

  44. Chestnut-sided Warbler  2     One SW corner near Darrow Bridge. The other was in the tree SW corner of South Bridge.

  45. Blackpoll Warbler  1

  46. Palm Warbler  6

  47. Yellow-rumped Warbler  5

  48. Black-throated Green Warbler  1     On the edge of the wood's path,  at the north end of Bobolink Meadow

  49. Canada Warbler  1

  50. Wilson's Warbler  2

  51. White-crowned Sparrow  4

  52. Song Sparrow  3

  53. Swamp Sparrow  2

  54. Northern Cardinal  7

  55. Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1     In tree south of Purple Martin Houses. Adult female.

  56. Indigo Bunting  6     Solo sightings of males, boldly perched in plain sight.

  57. Baltimore Oriole  6     Nest building on a draping branch SW corner of Music Bridge.

  58. Red-winged Blackbird  7

  59. Brown-headed Cowbird  4

  60. House Finch  1     South side of Museum of Science & Industry.

  61. American Goldfinch  4

  62. House Sparrow  1


This is a group report, with many birders contributing to the list. Most of the birds were seen by at least several or all of the birders.

Corrections, additions and comments are welcome.

Recordings are not used to attract birds.

This report will be documented on eBird as a group report for the Wooded Island Bird Walks.

The Walks are free and open to one and all. They are held year round. Newcomers are warmly welcomed. 

Darrow Bridge: Darrow Bridge has been barricaded by the Department of Transportation. A high black metal iron fence has been erected on all four sides. The fence will remain in place until Darrow Bridge is completely rebuilt, which could be several years away. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe.

Birders meet on the east side of Darrow Bridge.

Saturday morning walks: Start at 8:00 a.m. covers a distance of two miles.  Birders walk counterclockwise around the Columbia Basin (North Lagoon) onto Wooded Island. Exiting Wooded Island at the south end, the birders walk along the soccer field and enter the south end of Bobolink Meadow. The Meadow’s path leads to the Music Bridge and back to the East Parking Lot. In late fall, winter and early spring, the birders check for birds on the lakefront and Outer Harbor near LaRabida Hospital, and the Inner Harbor.

Metered parking is available in the East Parking Lot that is accessible from South Lake Shore Drive. There is a Stop Light at Science DriveThis Stop Light is approximately 200 yards south of the major intersection with signs for Museum of Science and Industry. Make a turn at the 57th Street and Science Drive Stop Light towards the Museum. Turn Left (south) at the intersection of Science Drive and Columbia Drive. Go through the parking lot to the west end.

Birders meet in the southwest corner of the East Parking Lot. (The Museum labels it the South Parking Lot.)

Parking and Lots: The East (South) Parking Lot is preferred. There is also unmetered parking along Stony Island Avenue from 56th to 59th Street.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Earlier Event: May 12
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: May 26
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report