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Copy of Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Tue, 02/24/2015 - 3:13pm

Event date:

Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 3:15pm 


Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow

 Hello to All,

Last Saturday a group of Wooded Island birders attended the 14th Annual Gull Frolic at the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club. Seven species of winter gulls made an appearance. The cold and wind made trips outside the glassed confines of the Club very brief. Ted Floyd, a Colorado resident, and editor of the American Birding Association’s Birding Magazine, was the guest speaker.  He demonstrated that there are about 240 varying plumages for the Herring Gull.  Ted shared a quote from gull expert Steven Howells, who classified birders into two groups: those who find it difficult to identify gulls and then there are the liars.

Walking was a challenge this morning on the hard ice and crunchy snow, especially through Bobolink Meadow.  The work crews were very busy on Wooded Island, which could be called, “Wood Pile Island.” Attached are some photos.

The really Big News is that Randy and Eric relocated a Bohemian Waxwing at the north end of Bobolink Meadow and on Heron Island. It was first reported on eBird on February 15th, but went under the radar of the birding community. We all had great looks at this rare bird for Illinois. It must have missed the stop in Duluth.  Once a post was made on IBET, birders beganarriving on their pilgrimage to Jackson Park, and all were able to relocate the waxwing.  Attached is a photo taken by Eric Ginsburg with his iPhone through a scope. Turned out to be a great photo!

We then drove to the 66th St. Outer Harbor in hopes of finding a Long-tailed Duck that was spotted by Jane Masterson earlier in the morning. No luck for us in finding this bird. As a consolation the First CycleGreat Black-backed Gull was in the Harbor, but flew off to the Lake. And, sixteen White-winged Scoters were gathered together in a group off the south end of the 63rd St. Pier.  The number later was increased to nineteen! Three adult males, showing its classic white teardrop facial marking were among the group.

After birding Jackson Park, Randy S., Karin C., Karin D, and I headed to the Sunrise Caféon 119th St. in Whiting, IN. The food is great, plentiful and the price very reasonable, thanks in part to the Indiana tax rate.

The Whiting beach and lakefront was solidly iced in. The BP beach, where their filtered water empties into the Lake, was also covered in ice. We did see at least four American Black Ducks and a few Great Black-backed Gulls.

We traveled to Williams Powers Conservation Area at Wolf Lake, with hopes of seeing the resident Snowy Owl and another rare bird, a Hoary Redpoll. No luck finding either species. We were rewarded with great views of an adult Red-shouldered Hawk on the south end of State Line Road, on the Indiana side. Two American Kestrels were seen, one on the Indiana side and the other on the Illinois side of State Line Road.

Not much at 126th Marsh, except for close views of several Common Mergansers, Mallards and Herring Gulls.

At the Land O’Lakes landfill, located on the northeast area at 122nd and Stony Island, there were two, possiblythree, Red-tailed Hawks successfully hunting. The hawks preferred the company of the six deer on the top of the landfill to that of the two coyotes. All mammals looked to be very well fed.

 BIRDERS:                  Randy S., Eric G., Leo H., Caroline H., and Pat D.

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

PLACES:                    Wood Pile Island, Bobolink Meadow, Outer Harbor, and 63rd St. Pier.

                                    Extension trip to Whiting Beach, B/P refinery beach, Wolf Lake, 126th St Marsh/Out to Calumet Turning Basin, and 122nd& Stony Island Landfill.          

WEATHER:                Cloudy. Temperatures feeling balmy in the middle 20’s F. Light winds.

TOTAL SPECIES COUNT:  Jackson Park – 20;  Beyond Jackson Park – 15.

Randy Shonkwiler provided his eBird Reports to create the list.

Jackson Park, Chicago--Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow area, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 8:05 AM - 10:27 AM

Protocol: Transect

1.58 mile(s)

8 species

  1. Downy Woodpecker  1     Male

  2. American Crow - 4

  3. Black-capped Chickadee  3

  4. American Robin  1

  5. Bohemian Waxwing  1    Originally found by Brandon Berger on 2/15/15.  Very large, plump waxwing, gray belly, two white patches on wings, red undertail coverts.  Seen on Heron Island and the trees around the Music Court Bridge and the woods by the meadow.  See photo at the end of the report.

  6. White-throated Sparrow  2     In the remains of the former "Rose Garden."

  7. Northern Cardinal  4

  8. House Sparrow  2

Jackson Park, Chicago--Inner/Outer Harbors, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 10:30 AM - 11:01 AM

Protocol: Point Count

Comments:     All birds in the outer harbor/La Rabida area.

12 species (+1 other taxa)

  1. Mallard  2

  2. Greater Scaup  3     2 m., 1 fem.

  3. Greater/Lesser Scaup  2     Disappeared before id. m. + fem.

  4. Common Goldeneye  5     4 m., 1 fem.

  5. Common Merganser  1     Fem.

  6. Red-breasted Merganser  1     Fem.

  7. Ring-billed Gull  33     32 ads./2nd cyc., 1 1st cyc.

  8. Herring Gull  9     6 ads., 2 1st cyc., 1 3rd cyc.

  9. Great Black-backed Gull  1     1st cyc.

  10. American Crow  2

  11. American Robin  1

  12. American Tree Sparrow  1

  13. House Sparrow  1

Jackson Park, Chicago--63rd St. Beach, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 11:03 AM - 11:25 AM

Protocol: Point Count

7 species

  1. Canada Goose  4

  2. Greater Scaup  4     3 m., 1 fem.

  3. 3.     White-winged Scoter  16     3 ad. m., 13 fem./imm.

  4. Common Goldeneye  11     All males that I could see.

  5. Red-breasted Merganser  4     3 m., 1 fem.

  6. Herring Gull  5     4 ads., 1 1st cyc.

  7. American Crow  14

Whiting Refinery Beach, Lake, US-IN

Feb 21, 2015 1:23 PM - 1:35 PM

Protocol: Point Count

Comments:     No scope and most birds were far away.

6 species (+2 other taxa)

  1. 1.     American Black Duck  4

  2. Greater Scaup  2     Males

  3. Greater/Lesser Scaup  9     Too far away to id.

  4. Common Goldeneye  1     Fem.

  5. Red-breasted Merganser  1     Male

  6. Herring Gull  5     Adults

  7. Great Black-backed Gull  2     Ad. + 1st cyc.

  8. gull sp.  60    

Whiting, Lake, US-IN   Feb 21, 2015 12:00 PM

Protocol: Incidental

Comments:     Downtown Whiting.

1 species

  1. House Finch  1     Singing male.

Wolf Lake/Powers State Recreation Area, Chicago, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 1:54 PM - 2:49 PM

Protocol: Transect

4.8 mile(s)

Canada Goose  40

American Kestrel  1

Red-shouldered Hawk  1     Adult.

Lake Calumet area--Calumet River Turning Basin Number 3, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 2:51 PM - 2:55 PM

Protocol: Point Count

3 species

  1. Mallard  5     3 m., 2 fem.

  2. Common Merganser  3     Males.

  3. Herring Gull  5     Adults.

122nd between Torrence and Stony Island, Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 3:00 PM - 3:07 PM

Protocol: Transect

0.82 mile(s)

Comments:     Saw two coyotes and 6 White-tailed Deer in the same area as the 2 hawks.

1 species

  1. Red-tailed Hawk  2

Stoney Island from 122nd to S. Doty Ave., Cook, US-IL Feb 21, 2015 3:07 PM - 3:16 PM

Protocol: Transect

2.38 mile(s)

2 species 

  1. Red-tailed Hawk  3

  2. European Starling  60

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.  Come to Darrow Bridge to meet with the other birders.

Noteon Darrow Bridge: 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 at the start times, even during the multi-year restoration of Wooded Island and other areas within Jackson Park.

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.

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 near Darrow Bridge.

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: February 7
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: February 28
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report