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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Tue, 04/07/2015 - 2:45pm

Event date:

Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 8:00am to 10:00am 



Hello to All,

Access to Darrow Bridge is no more; for a long while. The tall black wrought iron fence completely encloses the Bridge. This is not a temporary fence. It will likely be in place until Darrow Bridge is rebuilt. That will not happen for more than a year. (Photos attached of fencing)

We have now added a few more steps to our circuit. We gather in the East parking lot and then walk around the North Lagoon/Basin, and up on the steps of the Museum, to get to the North Bridge onto Wooded Island.

HORNED GREBES were everywhere, and in varying plumages. Jane Masterson, the Great Rescue Artist, saw a Horned Grebe tangled up in fishing line this week, in the Inner Harbor. Calls to the Bird Monitor Group brought two teams out to help this bird. On the second attempt, with members in two canoes, the grebe was finally safely captured and released from bondage in minutes. Before the bird knew what happened, it was returned to the water unimpeded by fishing lines. This happy ending tale was shared by Karin Cassel. 

The Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are unsung heroes. They come from all walks of life and drop everything to help birds in need. Please keep their number in your contact information. They make every effort to get to the scene quickly and go to extraordinary lengths to intervene, using the proper equipment and safest means.  Phone: (773) 988-1867

BIRDERS:      11.       Mark W., Rick R., Jennie S., Leo H., Caroline H., Erica W., Haider S., Dave K. and Lindsey K – First Timers to Wooded Island Bird Walk, Eric G., and Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.         

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

WEATHER:    Sunny. Winter-like. Temperature 27 – 34 F, 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 a least several or all the birders.

  1. Canada Goose – X.

  2. Redhead – X. Outer and Inner Harbor.

  3. Greater Scaup – 9 in a close group in the dwindling West Lagoon. Few in Outer Harbor.

  4. Lessor Scaup – 1. Shrinking East Lagoon.

  5. White-winged Scoter – 1. Napping close in on the Lake.

  6. Common Goldeneye – 2.

  7. Hooded Merganser – 3. Outer Harbor.

  8. Red-breasted Merganser – 8. Plus others out farther on the Lake.

  9. Horned Grebe – 7. In the Lagoons, on the Lake and in the Harbors. It may have been Shamrock Half Marathon Day in Chicago, but it was a Big Day for Horned Grebes coming through the area.

  10. Double-crested Cormorant – 1. Fly over. Lagoons. Must have thought best not to land.

  11. American Coot – X. Group in the Inner Harbor.

  12. Ring-billed Gull – X.

  13. Herring Gull – X. Four in the Lagoons.

  14. Downy Woodpecker – 3.

  15. Hairy Woodpecker – 1. Female. Wooded Island.

  16. American Crow – 3.

  17. Black-capped Chickadee – 1. Japanese Garden.

  18. Brown Creeper – 1. South end of Japanese Garden.

  19. American Robin – 3.

  20. European Starling – 1.

  21. Song Sparrow – 1. Rose Garden.

  22. Northern Cardinal – 1. Male. Japanese Garden.

  23. Red-winged Blackbird – X. Males.

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. 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 continue to meet in the East parking lot, and walk around the North Lagoon 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 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 21
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: April 4
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report