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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 02/15/2015 - 9:57am

Event date:

Saturday, December 13, 2014 - 8:00am to 10:00am 


Wooded Island

Hello to All,

It was great to have Mark Webster join us this morning after a long absence. As a skillful and attentive birder, Mark always boosts our group species count.

We met Paul Clyne among the tall grasses in Bobolink Meadow. Paul was able to confirm that it was a Cooper’s Hawk that flew out from the Meadow, and that the large woodpecker was a Hairy.

Exercising the philosophy of Carpe Diem, Mark and Sandra Nunnery took an impromptu trip to Iceland recently, thanks to quick action on a Groupon offer while they were in New York. It was a fantastic experience. Karin D. has been there and they compared travel experiences.

Eric Ginsberg will be heading to El Salvador soon for a family function and has arranged for a guide to bird for at least part of a day. We look forward to his report.

For those of us non-migratory birders, Wooded Island and Jackson Park have been our home base. Today is likely the last time that the Island and its lagoons will be seen by us before the major work project by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Park District begins next week. The first action will be to kill all the fish in the lagoons.  We have decided to continue to maintain our Wednesday and Saturday morning Walks throughout the multi-year project. We will bird the areas that are accessible.

There were quite of number of Northern Cardinals see today. It is a bit surprising that a group of Common Mergansers have made the lagoons their home base. Usually this large Merganser is seen on the lakefront. Paul reported them in the lagoons a couple of weeks ago, and they were there today.

The highlight this morning was the Peregrine Falcon that flew twenty feet above us from the turnaround north of LaRabida Hospital. This most powerful falcon, with its blackish appearance and boomerang shaped, slender, pointed wings, barely needed a flap to cross the water. It perched on a light fixture near the 63rd St Pier and seemed to be keeping a sheriff’s car in the parking lot under surveillance. Of course, what bird may fly in off the Lake was its primary focus.  We put up the scope and had great views of this awesome predator at rest. Eric was able to take a fine photo with his iPhone and scope.

BIRDERS:             10.         Leo, Caroline, Eric G., Jennie, Mark W., Karin C., Karin D., Mark N., Sandra N. and Pat. Met Paul Clyne in the Meadow.

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

PLACES:               Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, Lakefront, Outer Harbor.

WEATHER:          Cloudy. Temperature 39 – 42 F. Wind SW 5 – 10mph.


X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

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

Canada Goose – X.

Mallard – X. Four in West Lagoon.

Redhead – 1. Male. Outer Harbor.

Greater/Lesser Scaup – 2. Outer Harbor.

Bufflehead – 1. Female. Outer Harbor.

Common Goldeneye – X. Lake

Common Merganser – 7. Three males & three females. West Lagoon. Same combination later found in the Outer Harbor. Unknown it the Outer Harbor group were additional finds or relocated birds from West Lagoon.

Red-breasted Merganser – X. Lake

Cooper’s Hawk – 1. Flushed from the Meadow. Flew low over birders to Wooded Island, and perched in a tree on the southeast shore.

PEREGRINE FALCON – 1. (Photo) Mark W. and Eric G. spotted the falcon coming from the Outer Harbor. It flew to a light post near the 63rd St. Pier.

American Coot – 1.

Ring-billed Gull – X. Fly overs and on the docks in the Outer Harbor.

Herring Gull – 4. Outer Harbor.

Downy Woodpecker -4. Two heard on Wooded Island. One seen in tree along soccer field and the outer seen at the turnaround north of LaRabida Hospital.

Hairy Woodpecker – 2. One on Wooded Island and the other in Bobolink Meadow that was heard calling as well as seen.

American Crow – 2. Guarding Cooper’s Hawk while it perched on Wooded Island.

Black-capped Chickadee – 4. Delightful sight seen hanging upside down and sideways on milkweed pods in the Bobolink Meadow.

American Robin – X. Flocks were reported by Mark west of Wooded Island.

European Starling – X. Small flocks in flight.

White-throated Sparrow – 2. Wooded Island.

Dark-eyed Junco – X. On Wooded Island and along the south end of the tail through Bobolink Meadow.

Northern Cardinal – 13. A pair was found at the southwest end of the Rose Garden. The rest were in a group on a single tree along the soccer field.

American Goldfinch – X. Heard both on Wooded Island and in Bobolink Meadow.

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. Birders always show up near Darrow Bridge at the start times. Newcomers are warmly welcomed.

Note: Darrow Bridge has been barricaded by the Department of Transportation but there are openings at each end that allows for foot traffic. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe. Birders continue to meet on Darrow Bridge and scan the lagoons and trees while the group comes together.

The Walks start at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, and at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Birders gather on Darrow Bridge, which is located south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Ample parking is available east of Darrow Bridge and 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 near Darrow Bridge.

Best of Birding to All,      

Patricia Durkin

Later Event: January 17
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report