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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 10/18/2015 - 8:16pm

Event date:

Saturday, October 17, 2015 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

The morning started off slow.  We were near the big willow tree at the north end of the Meadow, when Roger F. reported the close knit group of ducks in the East Lagoon.  There they were: the Ruddy Ducks, a harbinger of winter.  It was already worth the effort to get up early to bird on this chilly morning.

Jennie S. spotted three Killdeer on the driving range among the many Canada Geese. About twenty minutes later the entire flock of geese took flight, in noisy unison, over the Meadow. I recall seeing this panic flight once before when a Bald Eagle visited Wooded Island.  Ten minutes later the likely cause of the geese in flight was found perched on a snag on Wooded Island: the Mighty and Feisty Merlin, with the “You Lookin’ at Me?” combative attitude.  The Merlin got into it with a crow. Later it sailed low across the Meadow towards the driving range. My guess is that the Merlin buzzed the birds on the driving range in attempting to snatch a Killdeer. The geese took flight. The Merlin headed back to the driving range hunting for those Killdeer once again.

Great Blue Heron descended from a tree and landed on a path in the grove of trees north of the Music Bridge. It looked a bit bewildered, made a “drop”. After a minute this pterodactyl lifted off towards the Marina. We waited on the Bridge until this strange landing and takeoff was completed.

Randy S. reported that he saw three sets of deer eyes staring back at him from behind the fence surrounding Wooded Island.

BIRDERS:      14.       (1) Bruce M., (2) Marian N., (3) Katie F. a birder from Oak Park, (4) Leo H., (5) Caroline H., (6) Jennie S., (7) Heather H., (8) Tobias G., (9) Eric G., (10) Roger F., (11) Karin C., (12) Karin D., (13) Pat D. and (14) Encounter with Randy S.

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

PLACES:        Bobolink Meadow with views of East Lagoon & east side of Wooded Island.

WEATHER:    Sunny. Cool and breezy. Temperature 42 – 54 F., Wind NNW 10 – 15 mph


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 at least several or all of the birders.

  1. Canada Goose – 70.

  2. Wood Duck – 1. Identification challenge. Was with two male Mallards.  Looked like a hybrid. Much discussion and reference checking ensued.  I think the final decision was that it was a juvenile and/or female Wood Duck in the company of Mallards.

  3. Mallard – 2. Males.

  4. Ruddy Duck – 7. East Lagoon. In a close group. Males and Females. In winter plumage. Males have cherubic white cheeks. Noticed by Roger F.

  5. Pied-billed Grebe – 2.

  6. Great Blue Heron – 2.

  7. Merlin – 1.

  8. Killdeer – 3. On golf driving range amidst a large flock of Canada Geese.

  9. Ring-billed Gull – X. A few fly overs.

  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1. Reported by Randy S. in the north wooded area.

  11. Downy/Hairy Woodpecker – Reported by Eric and Tobias. Randy S. reported both species.

  12. American Crow – 3.

  13. Back-capped Chickadee – X.

  14. Brown Creeper – 1.

  15. Wren species – 1.

  16. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – X.

  17. Hermit Thrush – X.

  18. American Robin – 3.

  19. Orange-crowned Warbler – 1. South end of Meadow.

  20. Yellow-rumped Warbler – X.

  21. Field Sparrow – 2. NE corner of Music Bridge.

  22. Fox Sparrow – 1. Perched at eye level and ten feet away. Seen by most of the birders.

  23. Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1.

  24. White-crowned Sparrow – 2.

  25. Dark-eyed Junco – X.

  26. 26.  Rusty or Brewer’s Blackbird  - 2. It was a special blackbird for sure. Randy S. was with us and was leaning towards probable Brewer’s Blackbird. Larger than a Brown-headed Cowbird with a yellow eye. 

  27. 27.  American Goldfinch – X.

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: October 10
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: October 31
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report