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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 04/19/2015 - 3:52pm

Event date:

Saturday, April 18, 2015 - 8:00am to 10:00am 



Hello to All,

There was no access to Wooded Island during the week while the work crews were busy cutting down more full growth trees on and round the Island. The lagoons are still not completely drained. The tall chain-linked fence continues to be erected along the soccer field. Eventually the fence will completely block access from the driving range golf shack to the South Bridge. The fence has been completed along Cornell Drive and east to Darrow Bridge.

The crews were not working this Saturday. People found the fence unlocked at the north end.There are blockades at the south end, which can be by passed without much difficulty.

The entire oblong asphalt path on the Island has been removed. The Island itself is stripped bare except of a few trees. (Photo of birders on path sans asphalt)

Despite all the destruction and blockades, birders continue to gather together every Saturday morning, to see what we can see. Many new birders to Wooded Island came today. Despite all the anticipated difficulties, we managed to have a great time together.

As the group gained access to Wooded Island from the south end, Marian of Indiana scouted ahead and found the fence on the north end opened. This meant that we did not have to retrace our steps through Bobolink Meadow.

A highlight was seeing so many pairs of Rusty Blackbirds. They look rusty in their post breeding fall plumage. Today I called them “Iron Blackbirds” non-oxidized.

BIRDERS:      23.       Mark L., Jenny B., Dom F. new to Wooded Island Walks, Renate G., Bruce M., Marian N. from Indiana, Julie M. from St. Paul, MN who took public transportation to join us, Diana, Jennie S., Mary Nell M. and Eric M., Ben H. and Christina H. new to Wooded Island Walks, Patti T., Tessa and Patrick M with baby Hazel, new to Wooded Island Walks, Eric G., David B. new to Wooded Island Bird Walks, Karin C., Karin D., and Pat D. We met Randy Shonkwiler at the north end of Bobolink Meadow and shared sightings.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.         

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow & Lagoons

WEATHER:    Sunny. Cool. Brisk north wind 10 – 15 mph. Temperature 49 – 52 F.


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.

  1. Canada Goose – X.

  2. Wood Duck – 4.

  3. Gadwall – M/F. West Lagoon.

  4. Mallard – X.

  5. Blue-winged Teal – 4.

  6. Northern Shoveler -3.

  7. Green-winged Teal – 4. M/F pairs. West Lagoon.

  8. Bufflehead – 1. Female. East Lagoon. Should be moving on soon.

  9. Red-breasted Merganser – 7. Two male, five female/immature. North Lagoon.

  10. Pied-billed Grebe – 3.

  11. Double-crested Cormorant – 2. Fly overs.

  12. Green Heron – 1. Flew to Heron Island.

  13. Black-crowned Night Heron – 1. Fly over near Heron Island. No place to roost.

  14. Cooper’s Hawk – 1. Perched by the Purple Martin Houses, which was a reliable source of prey for this wily predator. Bets are it is the same Cooper’s Hawk who mastered its trick last year.

  15. American Coot – 4.

  16. Killdeer – 1. Sandbar in West Lagoon.

  17. Spotted Sandpiper – 1. Traveling with the Solitary Sandpiper. West Lagoon shore. Was not sporting the breeding spots on the front, but had the white notch at the shoulder, and flew with rapid shallow wing beats.

  18. Solitary Sandpiper – 1. West Lagoon.Taller by an inch of its traveling companion. I saw the white eye ring.

  19. Ring-billed Gull- X.

  20. Herring Gull – 3.

  21. Caspian Tern – 1. Not staying around the lagoons for long. Just checking. Not enough water to dive.

  22. Belted Kingfisher – 1. Possibly 2.

  23. Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1. Wooded Island. Near Rose Garden area.

  24. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 3.

  25. Northern Flicker – 5.

  26. Eastern Phoebe – 2.

  27. Eastern Kingbird – 1. Along the southeast side of Wooded Island. Eric G. noted that this is one day earlier than the Extreme Early Spring Date recorded in Paul Clyne’s Checklist. (Photo)

  28. American Crow – 1.

  29. Purple Martin – 3. Near white houses.

  30. Tree Sparrow – 1.

  31. N. Rough-winged Swallow – X. Around the Music Bridge.

  32. Barn Swallow – 2.

  33. Black-capped Chickadee – 4.

  34. Brown Creeper – 2.

  35. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 5.

  36. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 2.

  37. Hermit Thrush – 2.

  38. American Robin – X.

  39. European Starling – 18.

  40. Pine Warbler – 1. Near the NE corner of Darrow Bridge.

  41. Palm Warbler – 1. Seen from the North Bridge looking NE.

  42. Northern Waterthrush – 1.

  43. Eastern Towhee – 1. Female. Wooded Island.

  44. Field Sparrow – 1.

  45. Savannah Sparrow – 1. Soccer Field in small shrub area.

  46. Song Sparrow – 1.

  47. Swamp Sparrow – 2.

  48. White-throated Sparrow – 1.

  49. Dark-eyed Junco – 2.

  50. Northern Cardinal – 2.

  51. Red-winged Blackbird – X. Female have arrived.

  52. Rusty Blackbird – 8. Mostly in M/F pairs on mudflats. This species has experienced a significant population decline. It requires wooded wetlands for breeding and wintering. There is a special working group dedicated to tracking this species:

  53. Brown-headed Cowbird – X.

  54. House Finch – 1.

  55. House Sparrow – 1.

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 11
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: April 25
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report