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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Mon, 08/03/2015 - 8:11pm

Event date:

Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Another great summer’s day for a bird walk! Highlights were the Indigo Bunting familytogether is the same small tree at the north end of Bobolink Meadow. The two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds darted around in the same area. Dragonflies filled the air. The Purple Martins have organized an air patrol near their home base.  Many fly in circles when the stealth Cooper’s Hawks hide in the trees around Darrow Bridge.

It has become a habit for go for breakfast after birding Jackson Park. All are welcome to come along. Today we ate at a favorite place in Whiting, IN – Sunrise Café. Then it was off to another favorite spot: Gibson Woods Nature Preserve who watches birds in absolute comfort.

Gibson Woods Nature Preserve comprises 131 acres of undisturbed, high quality dune and swale topography. Think Wooded Island before Olmsted. It was a favorite study site for University of Chicago Professor Henry Cowles and his graduate students. More than 160 species of birds and over 300 species of plants have been identified within the Preserve.

But for us birders, post Wooded Island Bird Walk, the major attraction is the air conditioned room with a wall of windows, and generously supplied feeders just outside the one-way looking glass. There is a microphone outside that conducts bird chatter to observers. But the greatest feature of all, are the half dozen recliners allowing viewers to watch the activity outside in maximum comfort. (Photo attached) The staff is most welcoming and knowledgeable.  I always pay my respects to the 8000 year old skeleton of a Mastodon, in a display case, which was found in northwest Indiana.

Sunrise Cafe, 1342 119th St., Whiting, IN (Great food at a great price! Friendly, efficient service)

Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, 6201 Parrish, Hammond, IN (Closed Monday)

BIRDERS:      16.       Bruce M., Aaron T., Myra T. from NYC, Jennie S., Marian N., Cindy C., Ken J., Karin C., Karin D., Tracy W., Tobias G., Eric G., Chelle G., visiting from the east coast, Leo H., Carolyn H., and Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.         

PLACES:        Bobolink Meadow, North & East Lagoons, Views of eastside of Wooded Island.  Extension trip to Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, Hammond, IN.

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 72 F., Winds West 5 – 10 mph.


X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

  1. Canada Goose – 9. Three collared in East Lagoon. Six in low flight over Meadow.

  2. Mallard – 15. “Blondie” looked even paler than last week. Alone.

  3. Double-crested Cormorant – 3.

  4. Great Blue Heron – 3.

  5. Green Heron – 1. Discovered by Glyn D. Partially hidden as it perched on a tree trunk in the East Lagoon. Seen from the Music Bridge.

  6. Black-crowned Night Heron – 1. Perched high in a tree in the Japanese Garden.

  7. Cooper’s Hawk – 2. Perched near the Purple Martin Nest Boxes.

  8. Killdeer – 1. Spotted by Eric and Tobias.

  9. Spotted Sandpiper – 1. Called out by Aaron.

  10. Ring-billed Gull – 7. North Lagoon on Museum wall.

  11. Caspian Tern – 1.

  12. Chimney Swift – X. Numbers increased throughout the morning.

  13. Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 2.

  14. Downy Woodpecker – 1.

  15. Eastern Kingbird – 1.

  16. Purple Martin – 12. Nestlings poking their heads out of the boxes.

  17. Barn Swallow – X.

  18. House Wren – 1. Heard.

  19. American Robin – 1.

  20. Gray Catbird – 1. Heard.

  21. European Starling – X. Flocks perched.

  22. Song Sparrow – 1.

  23. Northern Cardinal – 1.

  24. Indigo Bunting – 3. A family unit.

  25. Red-winged Blackbird – X.

  26. American Goldfinch – 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 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: July 25
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: August 8
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report