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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Tue, 03/28/2017 - 6:39pm

Event date:

Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Once again Randy Shonkwiler has written a complete report of the birding adventures on this day. Randy posted the report on IBET and I will copy and paste his report here for all to read.

BIRDERS:      7. (1) Gary M.,(2) Jennie  S., (3) Mark W., (4) Eric G., (5) Randy S., (6) Karin D., (7) Karin C., (8) Marian N., (9) Pat D.

TIME:             8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Jackson Park       

PLACES:        Jackson Park, Wolf Lake, Big Marsh, Roxanna Marsh (IN) Gibson Woods (IN)

DISTANCE:    2.5 miles in Jackson Park. 1 mile in Gibson Woods

WEATHER:    Sunny. Cold. Temperature 19 – 21 F. Wind N 10-15 mph.

Randy’s Report:

I birded Chicago's Jackson Park with Pat and the Audubon group yesterday covering Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow and the harbors.  Later 4 of us headed to the Calumet area to bird a few sites on each side of the border.
The Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow area was a bit slow.  We did see my FOY SWAMP SPARROW in the meadow with several SONG SPARROWS.  Bobolink Meadow was burned a few weeks ago and since then it has been the best place in the area for sparrows and other birds that like an open habitat.  There was a PIED-BILLED GREBE in the Columbia Basin the first seen in the park (by me) since 14 January and there was another in the outer harbor.  There were 2 male REDHEADS in the east lagoon, which would be the first of several hundred seen for the day.  Mark Webster spotted a GREAT BLUE HERON, which would have been a FOY for me but I missed it!  An immature RED-TAILED HAWK was at the inner harbor.  The number of LESSOR SCAUP there has gone down slightly from Tuesday but the REDHEAD number went up to 114.  There was also a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS in the inner harbor and 8 RING-NECKED DUCKS.  Mark and I finally found a couple male GREATER SCAUP in the outer harbor.
After Jackson Park we headed to Roxanna Marsh (not much there) and Gibson Woods Nature Center in Indiana.  At the latter location some members of the group witnessed two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS (FOY) mating.  At the feeders was a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and, among several RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, was my FOY BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD.  At Wolf Lake we found a MUTE SWAN that had a fishing hook stuck in the knob above the bill and seemed to have the fishing line around its neck.  We told a park ranger about the bird and with him tried to see if it could be caught but it was able to fly a short distance on to the lake.  Bird Collision  Monitors were called and at last word they were waiting for a boat.  Along State Line Road there were several hundred birds.  Unfortunately for us Illinois birders they were almost all on the Indiana side.  On the Indiana side were ~376 REDHEADS, some CANVASBACKS, a couple RING-NECKED DUCKS, several GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON (FOY), unidentified scaup and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.  On the Illinois side were 240 AMERICAN COOTS!  A large raptor flew over the Indiana side, as well.  Its size suggested an eagle but it looked like a Red-tailed Hawk based on color and other features.  If it was the latter, it was the biggest one I've ever seen!  I've decided to just call it a "hawk" sp.  We did find a scraggly looking immature BALD EAGLE (3rd year, I think) sitting in a tree at Indian Ridge Marsh.  We found Walter M. at Big Marsh who said he hadn't seen the Tundra Swan but found some N. PINTAILS (FOY), which I was able to put a scope on.  I found a few more to the north of these and also spotted 2 pairs of AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS (FOY). Wish we had seen some of the birds seen by Carl and Steve but it was a nice day!  My full list follows below.

Abbreviations: WI/BM=Wooded Island/Bobolink Meadow, IH=inner harbor, OH=outer harbor, LM=Lake Michigan east of OH, RM=Roxana Marsh, GW=Gibson Woods, WLIL=Wolf Lake Illinois side, WLIN=Wolf Lake Indiana side, IRM=Indian Ridge Marsh, BM=Big Marsh.

Canada Goose: WI/BM (47), IH (11), RM (19), GW (2), WLIL (124), WLIN (21), BM (7)
Mute Swan: WLIL (16), WLIN (3), BM (15)
Swan sp: WLIL (1)
Mallard: WI/BM (8), IH (7), OH (8), RM (25), GW (5), WLIL (4), WLIN (2), BM (9)
A. Black Duck: BM (4)
Gadwall: RM (1), WLIN (7), BM (29)
N. Pintail: BM (7)
A. Wigeon: WLIN (5)
N. Shoveler: BM (2)
Canvasback: WLIN (8)
Redhead: WI/BM (2), IH (114), WLIN (376)
Ring-necked Duck: IH (8), WLIN (2)
Greater Scaup: OH (2)
Lesser Scaup: IH (70), OH (4)
Greater/Lesser Scaup: OH (2), WLIN (5)
Common Goldeneye: WI/BM (1), IH (3), OH (1)
Bufflehead: IH (2), OH (2), BM (1)
Hooded Merganser: IH (2)
Red-breasted Merganser: WI/BM (9), IH (51), LM (5), WLIL (2), WLIN (7)
duck sp. (most prob. R.-b. Mergs): LM (30)
Horned Grebe: IH (3), OH (1)
Pied-billed Grebe: WI/BM (1), OH (1), RM (1)
Great Blue Heron: WI/BM (1)
Cooper's Hawk: GW (1)
Red-shouldered Hawk: GW (2)
Red-tailed Hawk: IH (1), GW (1)
Bald Eagle: IRM (1)
hawk sp: WLIN (1), IRM (1)
A. Coot: OH (24), WLIL (240), WLIN (1)
Ring-billed Gull: WI/BM (33), IH (1), LM (3), OH (441), RM (120), WLIL (5), WLIN (3)
Herring Gull: WI/BM (1), LM (1), OH (5)
Rock Pigeon: RM (15)
Mourning Dove: WI/BM (1), GW (1), WLIL (1)
Red-bellied Woodpecker: GW (1)
Downy Woodpecker: WI/BM (2), IH (1)
N. Flicker: WI/BM (2)
Blue Jay: GW (1)
A. Crow: WI/BM (2), OH (1), IRM (1)
Black-capped Chickadee: WI/BM (4)
White-breasted Nuthatch: GW (1)
A. Robin: WI/BM (2), GW (2), WLIL (4)
Euro. Starling: GW (2)
A. Tree Sparrow: GW (7), WLIL (5), WLIN (3)
Song Sparrow: WI/BM (11), IH (1), WLIL (3), WLIN (4)
Swamp Sparrow: WI/BM (1), GW (1)
Dark-eyed Junco: WI/BM (3)
White-crowned Sparrow: GW (1)
N. Cardinal: WI/BM (7), IH (1), GW (3), WLIN (1)
Common Grackle: GW (5)
Red-winged Blackbird: WI/BM (3), GW (57), WLIL (1), IRM (1), BM (1)
Brown-headed Cowbird: GW (1)
House Finch: GW (5)
A. Goldfinch: GW (3)
House Sparrow: WI/BM (3), GW (30)

Randy Shonkwiler
Hyde Park/Chicago

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. A high black metal iron fence has been erected on all four sides. The fence will remain in place until Darrow Bridge is completely rebuilt, which could be several years away. The Bridge has been deemed unsafe.

Saturday morning walks: Start at 8:00 a.m. covers a distance of two miles.  Birders walk counterclockwise around the Columbia Basin (North Lagoon) onto Wooded Island. Exiting Wooded Island at the south end, the birders walk along the soccer field and enter the south end of Bobolink Meadow. The Meadow’s path leads to the Music Bridge and back to the East Parking Lot. In late fall, winter and early spring, the birders check for birds on the lakefront and Outer Harbor near LaRabida Hospital, and the Inner Harbor.

Birders meet in the southwest corner of the East Parking Lot.

Metered parking is available in the East Parking Lot that is accessible from South Lake Shore Drive.There is a Stop Light at 57th Street Science Drive. 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.Birders meet in the southwest corner of the East Parking Lot.

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: March 4
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: April 1
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report