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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Tue, 03/24/2015 - 9:58am

Event date:

Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 9:45am 



Hello to All,

Black tall metal polls are being cemented along the edges of Darrow Bridge. The intent is not clear, although limiting access is suspected.  The lagoons continue to be drained. You can now walk across to Turtle Island by way of a muddy channel. 433 trees have been cut down on and around Wooded Island. Work on the embankments will now begin.

As we gathered on Darrow Bridge, a Pied-billed Grebe swam in the North Basin. It was nice to see that “Mother Goose” with the white head and neck, wearing neck band C126 was with her partner from last summer, with neck band C136. They too were in the North Basin. Late last summer the pair was proud parents of two goslings.

After four years of faithfully checking the trio of pines in Bobolink Meadow, Mark Webster discovered a Long-eared Owl staring back at him. Mark ran to get the group’s attention and we were all able to see this wonderful creature as it hid in the trees along the north chain link fence of the driving range. Mark’s photo is attached.

The Wednesday morning Bird Walks have officially been decommissioned. Birders still gather on Wednesday morning, but it is no longer consistent, the start times varies, and as does the area covered.  The Chicago Audubon Society has deleted mention of the Wednesday Walks from their website, at our request.  Thank you to the birders who always welcomed birders from near and far.

In the early afternoon, Karin Cassel, Jennie Strable and I did some car birding through the William Powers Conservation Area on the Illinois side of Wolf Lake. The entrance gate is on the east side of Avenue O and 126th St.  We saw well over 200 Canvasbacks in a group along the east side of the railroad track; viewed from State Line Road. A scope is needed to truly appreciate the numbers and details.

BIRDERS:      9.         Mark W., Caroline H., Leo H., Jennie S., Mark N., Sandra N., Curt M., Haider S., Pat D., plus intermittent canine companion “Copper” with Doug.

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

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, Lakefront, Outer & Inner Harbors

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature low 40’s F. Winds NNE 15 – 20 mph


Mark Webster provided his list for this report.

X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

  1. Canada Goose – X.

  2. Mallard – X

  3. Redhead – 16. Inner Harbor.

  4. Ring-necked Duck – 3. Female. Together. Outer Harbor.

  5. Greater Scaup – 10 + Harbors.

  6. White-winged Scoter – 5. Two on Lake. Two in Outer Harbor. One in the Inner Harbor.

  7. Bufflehead – 2. Male/Female. Outer Harbor.

  8. Common Goldeneye –X. Three in 59th St. Marina. Others in Harbors.

  9. Hooded Merganser – 2. Male/Female. East Lagoon.

  10. Common Merganser – 1. Female. Inner Harbor.

  11. Red-breasted Merganser – X. East Lagoon. Marina. Lake and Harbors.

  12. Pied-billed Grebe – 4. Two in Lagoons and two in Harbors.

  13. Horned Grebe – 5. One on Lake. Three in the Outer Harbor. One in the Inner Harbor.

  14. Red-tailed Hawk – 1.  Outer Harbor.

  15. American Coot – 2. Inner Harbor.

  16. Ring-billed Gull – X.

  17. Herring Gull – X. Around Wooded Island and Outer Harbor.

  18. Monk Parakeet – 1. Doing home repairs on the nest near the golf driving range shack.

  19. Long-eared Owl – 1. Pines in Bobolink Meadow.

  20. Downy Woodpecker – 1. Female. Wooded Island.

  21. Hairy Woodpecker – 1. Female seen in what was the Rose Garden. Another one heard.

  22. American Crow – X.

  23. Black-capped Chickadee – 7. Five on Wooded Island. Two at the Outer Harbor.

  24. Brown Creeper – 1. Rose Garden.

  25. American Robin – X. Numerous small flocks flying overhead.

  26. European Starling – 3. Wooded Island.

  27. Song Sparrow – X. Wooded Island. (Photo attached)

  28. White-throated Sparrow – 3. Wooded Island.

  29. Dark-eyed Junco – 10. Rose Garden.

  30. Northern Cardinal – X. Mostly in M/F pairs.

  31. Red-winged Blackbird – X.

  32. Common Grackle – 2. Wooded Island.

  33. American Goldfinch – X.  Wooded Island.

  34. House Sparrow – 3. Outer Harbor.

 Most of the birds were seen by a least several or all 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. 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.

Please note: The Wednesday morning Walks have been decommissioned. An informal group often meets on Darrow Bridge, but the start time varies and the distance traveled can be curtailed.

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: March 14
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: March 28
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report