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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 6:30pm

Event date:

Saturday, August 15, 2015 - 8:00am 



 Hello to All,

Shorebird migration began a few weeks ago. As the lagoons fill with water, the mudflats have mostly disappeared. Our chance of seeing unusual shorebirds is slim. The Cedar Waxwing flocks made an appearance. Baltimore Oriole young are showing up.

A big No Show today was Red-winged Blackbirds(RWBB). I remember talking with Paul Clyne about the sudden disappearance of Red-winged Blackbirds in August. They are around, said Paul, but hidden and silent while they go through molting.

There is a wonderful reference on the Internet that you may wish to bookmark.  It is Arthur Cleveland Bent’s (1866 – 1954) “Life Histories of Familiar North American Birds.”  In the chapter on RWBB, Brent noted that “a complete postnuptial molt occurs in August, at which young and old become practically indistinguishable.”

During the fall, Bent notes the following: “After the young of the second brood are strong on the wing, sometime in July, the females and young gather in flocks and feed on the uplands during the day, returning to marshes to roost at night. The adult males form separate flocks and follow the same plan. But early in August, all the redwings seem to disappear, during the molting period, and are not much in evidence until the middle of September or later, all in fresh plumage and ready to migrate.”

BIRDERS:      16.       (1) Terry Blows – returning birder from Flagstaff, AZ, (2) Marian N. from Valparaiso, IN, who has become a certified Wooded Island Regular, (3) Bruce M., a fledging Wooded Island Regular, wearing the coolest Eagle Optics dark green tee shirt,blazoned with a gorgeous Ovenbird image, (4) Raman S and his father (5) P. C. visiting from Houston, TX., (6) Leo H. and (7) Caroline H. – faithful Wooded Island Regulars, (8) Sandra N. and (9) Mark N. intrepid world travelers and Wooded Island Regulars, (10) Jennie S., the organizer, and back up reporter, (11) Rick R. – retired sailor, (12) Tracy W. – photographer, (13) Karin C., the heart and soul of these Wooded Island Bird Walks, (14) Karin D. – keen eyed birder, teacher, gardener, (15) Mark W. – Trilobite collector and ID confirmation birder, and (16) Pat D. coordinator and recorder.

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

PLACES:        Bobolink Meadow, views of N. & E Lagoons & eastside of Wooded Island

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 72 – 78 F, Light winds NNE 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 at least several or all of the birders.

  1. Canada Goose – 25 +

  2. Wood Duck – 1. Eye mark confirmed identification.

  3. Mallard – 12 +. No sighting of “Blondie”.

  4. Double-crested Cormorant – 8.

  5. Great Blue Heron – 4. One was perched high in a tree in the Japanese Garden.

  6. Green Heron – 1.

  7. Black-crowned Night Heron – 1. Another tree perching heron.

  8. Cooper’s Hawk – 1.

  9. Raptor Species – 1. Very dark body. Perched at the top of a distant snag on Wooded Island. It could have been a falcon species.

  10. Sandpiper Species – 2. Likely Spotted but could have been another species.

  11. Spotted Sandpiper – 2.

  12. Ring-billed Gull – X. Occasional fly overs.

  13. Caspian Tern – 1.

  14. Chimney Swift – X.

  15. American Crow – 3.

  16. Purple Martin – X.

  17. Barn Swallow – X.

  18. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 3.

  19. Gray Catbird – X. Heard.

  20. American Robin – X.

  21. Cedar Waxwing – 48. At least four flocks flying and landing in precision formation. (Who needs to go to the Air & Water Show when flocks of birds are in flight?)

  22. Yellow Warbler – X. Heard.

  23. Song Sparrow – 1. Others heard.

  24. Indigo Bunting – 2. Adult Male & Female. Together. Likely discussing why “Junior”, a.k.a. recently departed Brown-headed Cowbird, had no family resemblance.

  25. Baltimore Oriole – 2. Juveniles. On the move.

  26. American Goldfinch – 6.


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: August 8
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: August 22
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report