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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 03/15/2015 - 10:06am

Event date:

Saturday, March 14, 2015 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

The warm temperature and mild breeze was a blast of spring. The drained lagoons remained covered with ice, with open water near the edges. The work crews were absent. The logs lining the path in the Rose Garden have been crunched and broken by the heavy equipment. Peanuts in cost to replace when the Army Corps of Engineers/Park District have $10 to 20 million dollars to spend.

It was nice to see the pair of Monk Parakeets inspecting their stick nest. The Brown Creeper was working the trunk of the broken snag stationed at the northeast area of the Rose Garden. Both species of woodpeckers were flying around together in the Rose Garden.

We still have a few White-winged Scoters in the Outer Harbor. An adult male White-winged Scoter was viewed close up with a scope in the Outer Harbor. It is really gorgeous, with its muted plumage; black head, neck and back on a dark chocolate body, with a highlighted pure white feather on its side. The red tipped bill and white teardrop or comma at its eye is such an artistic touch.

In front of this scouter, a male Ring-necked Duck was seen. The pale thin cinnamon ring around the base of its neck was visible. This field mark is usually difficult to see.

Afterward I picked up Karin Cassel and with drove out to Whiting, Indiana for a late breakfast at the Sunrise Café. We then made a visit the Whiting Beach and found an adult male Black-backed Gull perched on the railing post of the pier, with a few of its cousins, Herring Gulls, occupying the other posts. Then on to William Powers Conservation Area. Wolf Lake remains frozen. We met some birders who said that they did see the very white Snowy Owl. Someone had flushed it onto the ice. They also reported seeing a Northern Shrike. I had seen one in the same area several weeks ago. They struck out of find any Redpolls.

BIRDERS:      14.       Mark N. and Sandra N. – recently returned from Bhutan and Nepal, Mark W., Leo H. and Caroline H., Edith H., Patti T., Renate G., Marilyn and Laurie M., Eric G., Akari R. and her young son Taihei who is a birder and eBird user, and Pat D.

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

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, Lakefront and 66th St. Outer Harbor   

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 46 – 49 F., Variable winds 5 – 10 mph


  1. Canada Goose – X. Pairing up. Some geese wore the white plastic numbered bands around their necks.

  2. Mallard – X. In pairs.

  3. RING-NECKED DUCK – 1. Male. Outer Harbor.

  4. Greater/Lesser Scaup – X. Outer Harbor.

  5. WHITE-WINGED SCOTER – 4. Lakefront and Outer Harbor.

  6. Bufflehead – 1. Outer Harbor.

  7. Common Goldeneye – X. Marina, Lakefront, Outer Harbor.

  8. HOODED MERGANSER – 1. Female. Outer Harbor.

  9. Red-breasted Merganser – X. Marina, Lakefront, Outer Harbor.

  10. American Coot – 1. Outer Harbor.

  11. Killdeer 1. Heard. Wooded Island fly over.

  12. Ring-billed Gull – X

  13. Herring Gull – X.

  14. Monk Parakeet – 2. At nest on light at driving range.

  15. Downy Woodpecker – 2. Wooded Island. Rose Garden.

  16. Hairy Woodpecker – 2. Wooded Island. Rose Garden.

  17. American Crow – 1. Outer Harbor.

  18. Black-capped Chickadee – X

  19. BROWN CREEPER – 1. Wooded Island. Rose Garden.

  20. European Starling – 1.

  21. American Tree Sparrow – 10. Bobolink Meadow.

  22. Song Sparrow – 1.

  23. White-throated Sparrow – X. Wooded Island. Rose Garden.

  24. Dark-eyed Junco – 4. Wooded Island.

  25. Northern Cardinal – X.

  26. RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD – X. Wooded Island. Bobolink Meadow.

  27. BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – 1. Wooded Island.

  28. House Sparrow – X. Outer Harbor.

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.

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

Later Event: March 21
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report