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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Wed, 09/30/2015 - 8:22pm

Event date:

Saturday, September 26, 2015 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Today demonstrated the difference between a hiker and a birder. Both find themselves outside. The hiker is more interested in distance; birders not so much.  We only made it to the middle of Bobolink Meadow after two hours of being outdoors. Birders stay where birds hang out.

We had a really great encounter with two young Peregrine Falcons. They were perched on a Wooded Island tree. One was larger than the other. Females are larger than males in this species. Both wore brownish feathers rather than the adult gray/black and white. They seemed a bit mystified to find themselves on their own.  The female grabbed a snack midair. They then did a wonderful thing: they flew over us and grasped talons when over the driving range. If that was not enough, they flew over us again and did their aerial handshake over the East Lagoon. It was a WOW! moment for us.

Afterward, Karin C., Karin D., Jennie and I had brunch at Sunrise Restaurant in Whiting, IN. We then drove to Gibson Woods in Hammond, IN, so we could bird while sitting in recliners.  The steward told us a rare native wildflower, a Fringed (Blue) Gentian was in bloom. It is a biennial that is 1 – 3 feet tall. The flowers are diurnal, opening up on sunny days. I have read that the flower has “an unearthly beauty that is positively stunning. It is ranked among the most attractive of all wildflowers, and has inspired the words of Emily Dickenson and Henry Thoreau.” Jennie Strable took a photo.

BIRDERS:      14.       (1) Bruce M. who did most of the scope carrying, (2) Patti T., (3) Leo H., (4) Caroline H., (5) Mary N. M., (6) Eric S., (7) Tracy W. took photos for report, (8) Maury B. took photos for report, (9) Maija B., (10) Jennie S. – photographed Fringed Gentian at Gibson Woods, (11) Karin C., (12) Karin D., (13) Randy S. – brief enlightening encounters, (14) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.         

PLACES:        North half of Bobolink Meadow with views of East Lagoon and Wooded Island.

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 65 – 75 F., Mild ESE breeze 5 – 10 mph.

TOTAL SPECIES COUNT:   50. Includes Randy Shonkwiler’s list.

X = commonly seen and/or not counted.

  1. Canada Goose – 125. Counted by Randy Shonkwiler in West Lagoon, through fence.

  2. Wood Duck – 2.

  3. Mallard – X.

  4. Hooded Merganser – 1. Female. Alone. Jilted by her summer romance partner, a Mallard.

  5. Pied-billed Grebe – 2.

  6. Double-crested Cormorant – 4.

  7. Great Blue Heron – 1. Youngster. Miserable looking. Near Music Bridge (photo)

  8. Black-crowned Night Heron – 3. Two adults and 1 juvenile.

  9. Cooper’s Hawk – 1. Disappeared when the Peregrines landed.

  10. Peregrine Falcon – 2. Immatures. (Photos)

  11. Spotted Sandpiper – 1.

  12. Ring-billed Gull – X. Fly overs.

  13. Monk Parakeet – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  14. Chimney Swift – 20. Counted by Randy S.

  15. Belted Kingfisher – 1. Male. (Photo)

  16. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  17. Downy Woodpecker – 2.

  18. Northern Flicker – 3.

  19. Least Flycatcher – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  20. 20.  Blue-headed Vireo– 1. Reported by Randy S. Woods. North end of Meadow.

  21. American Crow – 5. Finally did park above the Peregrine Falcons, but not a peep out of them.

  22. Black-capped Chickadee – X.

  23. White-breasted Nuthatch – 4 to 5. Reported by Randy S.

  24. Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1. Reported by Randy S. First of Season for Randy.

  25. Eastern Bluebird – 1. Reported by Randy S. Still with us. Successful breeding this summer.

  26. Swainson’s Thrush – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  27. American Robin – X.

  28. Gray Catbird – 1. Seen and heard.

  29. Brown Thrasher – 2. Together. North end of Meadow. Usual locations: one near the ground and the other up twenty feet in a tree.

  30. European Starling – X.

  31. Cedar Waxwing – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  32. Nashville Warbler – 3. Reported by Randy S.

  33. Northern Parula – 1. Immature. Female. Reported by Randy S.

  34. Magnolia Warbler – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  35. Cape May Warbler – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  36. Yellow-rumped Warbler – X. Randy counted 41.

  37. Black-throated Green Warbler – 1.

  38. Palm Warbler – 12.

  39. Blackpoll Warbler – 17. Count from Randy S.

  40. Black-and-white Warbler – 1.

  41. Ovenbird – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  42. Northern Waterthrush – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  43. Common Yellowthroat – 2. Reported by Randy S.

  44. Song Sparrow – 2. (Photo)

  45. Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  46. White-throated Sparrow – 21. Reported by Randy S.

  47. White-crowned Sparrow – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  48. Northern Cardinal – 1.

  49. Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 1. Reported by Randy S.

  50. American Goldfinch – 3. (Photo)

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.

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

Chicago Audubon Society Representative

Wooded Island Bird Walks

Earlier Event: September 19
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: October 3
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report