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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 02/28/2016 - 4:14pm

Event date:

Saturday, February 20, 2016 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

The morning started off cold and windy. But 10 a.m. the expected warmer weather was felt.  The Northern Harrier was the best Bird of the Day, especially since its flight pattern was so characteristic and allowed for views of the characteristic white rump patch.  This is an uncommon raptor for Jackson Park.

The male Canvasback continues to stay in the Outer Harbor.  It will often swim alone, away from its Redhead cousins.  The bill confirms the finding. It is aquiline in shape.

We were hoping to find the male Northern Pintail that was discovered by Jane M. in the Inner Harbor on Friday, when the winds were fierce and waterfowl sought shelter at the south end of the Harbor. No luck for us.  That is such a handsome bird! Later that day, a birder reported seeing a Northern Pintail in Calumet Park along the Lake at 98th St. 

BIRDERS:      12.       (1) Marian from Indiana, (2) Leo and (3) Caroline H., (4) Tracy W., (5) Kristine and (6) Dan L – new birders to Jackson Park from the southwest suburbs, (7) Jennie S., (8) Eric G., (9) Raman S., (10) Edith H., (11) Karin C., (12) Pat D.       

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.         

PLACES:        Bobolink Meadow, Lakefront Outer and Inner Harbors

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature – 52 to 60 F., Winds WSW 5 – 15 mph. The lagoons were half covered with thin ice.


X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

  1. Canada Goose – X.

  2. WOOD DUCK – 2. A male & female pair. East Lagoon. Harbinger of breeding season.

  3. Mallard – 6 in pairs in East Lagoon. Others were in the Harbors.

  4. CANVASBACK -1. Male. Outer Harbor. Continuing to stay with us.

  5. Redhead – X. Outer Harbor. Copper redhead brilliantly reflecting the sun’s rays.

  6. Ring-necked Duck – 1.

  7. Lesser Scaup – 2.

  8. Bufflehead – 4.Outer Harbor.

  9. Common Goldeneye – 1 Male has been occupying the Marina all alone for several weeks. Others were seen along the lakefront and in the Harbors.

  10. Hooded Merganser – 1. Female.

  11. Red-breasted Merganser – X. Lake and Harbors.

  12. RUDDY DUCK – 6 or 7. Outer Harbor. Pointed tail skyward.

  13. NORTHERN HARRIER – 1. Juvenile. This raptor flew in front of Edith H. and me in the Meadow.  It came from the direction of Wooded Island and glided low over the Meadow, so low that we saw the definitive white patch across the back rump area.  In conversation with Randy S. the next day, the raptor fit the profile of a juvenile rather than an adultfemale. Later we think we caught sight of it again being flushed by crows diagonally across the Lake from the turnaround to the 63rd St. Pier off of Hayes parking lot.

  14. American Coot -7. Outer Harbor.

  15. Ring-billed Gull – X. Lake and Harbors.

  16. Herring Gull – Several in Outer Harbor. Nice to compare with Ring-bill Gulls on the docks.

  17. MONK PARAKEET – 6. In a tall shrub near their nest on the south side of 67th St. The tree is in the golf course. We observed the Monks through a scope while standing at the edge of the Outer Harbor.

  18. American Crow – X. The “guardians” against invading raptors. Side benefit to small birds.

  19. Black-capped Chickadee – 2. Mating songs and calls heard.

  20. American Robin – 1.

  21. European Starling – X. Harbor areas.

  22. Dark-eyed Junco – 1.

  23. Northern Cardinal – 1. Male.

  24. House Sparrow – 1. Harbor areas.

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 more than a year. 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: February 6
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: February 27
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report