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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Mon, 04/13/2015 - 8:26pm

Event date:

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 8:00am to 10:00am 



Hello to All,

The number of bird species and birders increase each week. Early spring is a good time to see migrants because the leaves have yet to immerge and there are far fewer trees to check during this “death phase” of the massive restoration. A second attempt is being made to drain the lagoons. 

It was a good day for sparrows.  Randy found a Vesper Sparrow.I snapped a phone photo of a Northern Rough-winged Swallow. The white bellies of a few Tree Swallows were noticeable in low flights.

Beaver was seen swimming in the shallow water of the East Lagoon, holding an Evection Notice in its paws. Three turtles were catching some rays in the lagoons. Their future is in doubt once the lagoons are drained and heavy equipment is used along the shores. Two men with metal detector equipment were searching Wooded Island for treasures from the 1893 World Exposition.A skeleton of a large Carp was found along the path in Bobolink Meadow. (photo attached)

BIRDERS:      16.       Bruce Mc., Jennie S., Mary Nell and Eric M., Marian N. from Indiana, Patti T., Jenny B. – new to Wooded Island, Eric G., Raman S., Renate G., Karin C., Karin D., Marilyn and Laurie M., Kyle J. from Arkansas, and Pat D. We met Paul Clyne in the Japanese Garden, at the start of our Walk, and Randy Shonkwiler in the grove north of the Music Bridge, at the end of our Walk. Both Paul and Randy shared their sightings.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.         

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

WEATHER:    Sunny. Cool at the start of the Walk. Temperature 40’s to upper 50’s F. Winds WSW 5 – 10 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 a least several or all the birders. Paul Clyne and Randy Shonkwiler shared their checklists for this report.

  1. Canada Goose – 21. “Mother Goose” with the white head and neck was swimming in the North Lagoon.

  2. Wood Duck – 5. East Lagoon.

  3. Mallard – 17.

  4. Blue-winged Teal – 8. Six in the East Lagoon and two in the West Lagoon.

  5. Northern Shoveler – 6. East Lagoon.

  6. Greater Scaup – 5. Outer Harbor & Lagoons.

  7. Common Goldeneye – 1. Outer Harbor.

  8. Hooded Merganser – 1. Lagoons.

  9. Red-breasted Merganser – 11. Seven females and one male in the North Lagoon. One in the Marina and another three in the Outer Harbor.

  10. Common Loon – 2. Fly overs. Spotted by Paul Clyne

  11. Pied-billed Grebe – 10. Four in North Lagoon; three in East Lagoon; one in Marina and two in the Outer Harbor.

  12. Horned Grebe – 5. Lagoons and Outer Harbor.

  13. Double-crested Cormorant – 12. Fly overs in small flocks.

  14. Black-crowned Night Heron – 1. In same tree and on same branch as last week, at the southeast end of Wooded Island.

  15. Cooper’s Hawk – 2. Chasing each other in flight and from tree to tree.

  16. American Kestrel – 1. Wooded Island. Renate G. thought that the tail said Merlin in flight. I saw the “helmet” on its head. Randy S. reported a Kestrel in the area.

  17. American Coot – 3. Lagoons. I saw rafts of more than twenty off of the beach on Friday.

  18. Killdeer – 1. East Lagoon shoreline.

  19. Ring-billed Gull – X.

  20. Herring Gull – 1.

  21. Mourning Dove – 1.  Reported by Paul Clyne on Wooded Island.

  22. Monk Parakeet – 4.  Reported by Randy Shonkwiler in the Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow area.

  23. Belted Kingfisher – 2. Male and female pair. Very vocal. Lagoons.

  24. Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1. Wooded Island. Reported by Randy S.

  25. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 16.

  26. Downy Woodpecker – 3.

  27. Hairy Woodpecker – 1. Female. Wooded Island. Reported by Randy S.

  28. Northern Flicker – 6.

  29. Eastern Phoebe – 8.

  30. American Crow – 16. Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow & Outer Harbor.

  31. Tree Swallow – 5. Fly overs.

  32. N. Rough-winged Swallow – 4. Two at Music Bridge and two at the turnaround near LaRabida Hospital. (photo attached)

  33. Black-capped Chickadee – 5

  34. Winter Wren – 1. Wooded Island area. Reported by Randy S.

  35. Golden-crowned Kinglet – 4.

  36. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 4.

  37. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 2. Males. Wooded Island.

  38. Hermit Thrush – 12.

  39. American Robin – 128.

  40. Brown Thrasher – 2. Reported by Paul C. and Randy S.

  41. European Starling – 11.

  42. Yellow-rumped Warbler – 21.

  43. Eastern Towhee–7. Wooded Island and Music Bridge.

  44. American Tree Sparrow – 1.

  45. Chipping Sparrow – 2.

  46. Vesper Sparrow -1. Found by Randy in grove north of the Music Bridge.

  47. Fox Sparrow – 7.

  48. Song Sparrow – 18.

  49. Swamp Sparrow – 4.

  50. White-throated Sparrow – 1. Wooded Island.

  51. White-crowned Sparrow – 1. Outer Harbor. Reported by Randy S.

  52. Dark-eyed Junco – 33.

  53. Northern Cardinal – 11.

  54. Red-winged Blackbird – 49.

  55. Common Grackle – 17.

  56. Brown-headed Cowbird – 16.

  57. House Finch – 3.

  58. American Goldfinch – 4.

  59. House Sparrow – 10.

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. 

Noteon 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.

Birders meet in the East parking lot, and walk around the North Lagoon/Basin and across the south steps of the Museum to get to Wooded Island.

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

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 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.

Note on 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 lot is the preferred one, as it is located nearest the Darrow Bridge. The southwest parking lot would require that the entire Wooded Island be walked northward, and to cross the North Bridge to reach Darrow Bridge.  There is also unmetered parking along Stony Island Avenue from 58th to 56th Street.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Earlier Event: April 4
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: April 18
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report