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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 08/14/2016 - 1:06pm

Event date:

Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

First, a word of thanks to whoever saw to it that the east parking lot was devoid of bottles, cans and debris. It was quite a change from two weeks ago.

The Star-of-the-Show was the appearance of this tired looking juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher. We all struggled with the identification, and sent the photo to Paul Clyne who confirmed the identification. It is a rare find for the East Lagoon. Paul said that there are only two documented sightings in the East Lagoon, both in the spring of 2015, when the lagoons were drained and mostly mudflats.  This is the first early fall migration find. Other juveniles were reported this weekend on Big Marsh in the Lake Calumet area.

Differentiating between a Short-billed and a Long-billed Dowitcher is a challenge, and vocalization is a key.  In our area, the Short-billed is the most likely species. Breeding grounds are in the high northern boreal forests. This bird has a long, straight bill and a distinct pale eyebrow that is more pronounced in the juvenile.  It was a beauty!

Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere today.  A nest on the north end of the Meadow is still being attended to, and we were invited by a parent to clear the surrounding area, which we obligingly did.

We love our group of Great Blue Herons. Juveniles are fishing on their own. One stood all morning on the containment wall under the Music Bridge, cooling its toes in the water, while successfully fishing.  It was unimpressed with our presence overhead.  There have been two successful Great Blue Heron nesting sites this year, in nearby Oakwood Cemetery on East 67th Street. That is a first in our area.  The lagoons of Jackson Park must be the equivalent to Whole Foods for the herons.

BIRDERS:      11.       (1) Caroline H., (2) Marian N., (3) Perren Y., (4) Bill D., (5) Kevin V.,                                           (6) Karin C., (7) Tracy W. (photographer), (8) Renate G., (9) Karin D.,                                 (10) Raman S., (11) Pat D.    

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.         

PLACES:        Bobolink Meadow and East Lagoon

WEATHER:    Mostly sunny with a soft breeze. Temperature 74 – 78 F. Wind NNE 5 – 10 mph. Dew Point: 63 degrees. Humidity: 77%.  The plants and grasses in the Meadow are in their full late summer glory.  Butterflies abound.


X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

  1. Canada Goose  45

  2. Mallard  4

  3. Double-crested Cormorant  4     On branches. Not in water.

  4. Great Blue Heron  5

  5. Black-crowned Night-Heron  2

  6. Cooper's Hawk  1

  7. Spotted Sandpiper  2

  8. Short-billed Dowitcher 1     East Lagoon. Resting on a log.  Photo taken. Confirmed by Paul C.

  9. Ring-billed Gull  4     fly overs

  10. Caspian Tern  1

  11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1

  12. Belted Kingfisher  1

  13. Northern Flicker  1

  14. Eastern Phoebe  1

  15. Eastern Kingbird  7     Eastern Kingbird Day in Jackson Park. Adults still tending to young in a nest.

  16. American Crow  1

  17. Purple Martin  X

  18. Barn Swallow  X

  19. Black-capped Chickadee  1

  20. American Robin  6

  21. Gray Catbird  3

  22. Northern Cardinal  1

  23. Baltimore Oriole  3     Small flock in migration. Looked like juveniles.

  24. American Goldfinch  8


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 recorded 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. No one can cross. A high black metal iron fence has been erected on all four sides. It appears that the fence will remain in place until Darrow Bridge is completely rebuilt, which could be several years away. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe.

The Walks start at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Birders meet in the southwest corner of the East Parking Lot. Wooded Island is closed off by a fence while work in being done. Birders walk through Bobolink Meadow and view the eastside of Wooded Island and the East Lagoon.

Please note: The Wednesday morning Walks have been decommissioned. An informal group often meets, but the start time varies and the distance traveled can be curtailed.

Metered parking is available in the East Parking Lot that is accessible from South Lake Shore Drive at 57th Street (labeled Science Drive on a small blue street sign). There is a Stop Light at 57th Street. Make a turn at the 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.

Parking and Lots: While restoration is ongoing, heavy equipment has taken over half of the east parking lot, off of South Lake Shore Drive, and half of the southwest parking lot which has an entrance off of Hayes Drive (63rd St.) and just east of Cornell Drive. Birders will be able to find metered parking in both lots. The East 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: July 23
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: August 13
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report