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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:42pm

Event date:

Saturday, July 29, 2017 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

It was a delightful summer’s day for a bird walk.  Chicago Tribune ReporterManya Brachear and photographer, John Kim birded with us.  John had a Canon camera and lens that was the envy of our regular photographer-birders.  Manya stayed for the entire walk and managed to interview most of the birders along the way.  Even Normanthe volunteer steward of Bobolink Meadow, got in a few licks about the idea of extending the golf driving range. Expansion of Bobolink Meadow with meandering foot paths is the preferred option for both birders and gardeners.

Waiting for us on south entrance of the Museum of Science and Industry was a family of Green Herons.  The four young still sported head fuzz.  The North Lagoon (Columbia Basin) was where they called home this summer.  At one time, the family was in a single dense short tree located east of the steps.  Finding them was like trying to pass a Rorschach test. John Kim photographed the youngsters and the birders standing in awe of the herons as they posed for a family portrait.

The Japanese Garden’s proprietor, an Adult Great Blue Heron, stood majestically and at full attention by the Moon Bridge. The clever family of Mallards was on the stones in the center of the pond, near the Koi feeder that they learned how to empty.

Birders spotted a trio of Eastern Bluebirds on the soccer field, favoring the crossbars of the nets. It seems that despite the weekend Chosen Few Music Festival and numerous soccer games, the pair successfully bred. That is very cool. 

BIRDERS:      16        (1) Renate G., (2) Karin D., (3) Karin C., (4) Celle G. – visiting from the east coast, (5) Raman S., (6) Gary M., (7) Jennie S., (8) Marian N., (9) Hal C. – bearing enormous zucchini gifts, (10) Karin H. – heading back to New Mexico soon, (11) Dan H. – new birder from NW suburb, (12) Tracy W., (13) Katie R. – from New Mexico, (14) John Kim – Chicago Tribune photographer, (15) Manya Brachear – Chicago Tribune reporter, (16) Pat D.

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

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, Lagoons & Soccer Field

DISTANCE:    2 miles

WEATHER:    Sunny. Temperature 66 – 77 F., Wind off the Lake NE 5 – 15 mph

TOTAL SPECIES COUNT:   30 + 1 other taxa

  1. Canada Goose  20

  2. Wood Duck  7     An adult female with six juvenile in tow were in the North Lagoon.

  3. Mallard  15     A family of seven have made the rounds in the Japanese Garden pond their home.

  4. Double-crested Cormorant  8

  5. Great Blue Heron  5     One adult has claimed the Japanese Garden as its home base. Very picturesque and photographic.

  6. Green Heron  5     One adult with four newly fledged young were in a tree on the south grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry.

  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron  2

  8. Spotted Sandpiper  1

  9. Ring-billed Gull  1

  10. Caspian Tern  2

  11. Ruby-throated Hummingbird  3

  12. Downy/Hairy Woodpecker  1

  13. Northern Flicker  1

  14. Eastern Kingbird  16     Observed one eating a praying mantis.

  15. Warbling Vireo  1     Heard.

  16. Purple Martin  14     Some yet to fledge young were poking their heads out from the openings in the condo boxes.

  17. Barn Swallow  2

  18. Black-capped Chickadee  1

  19. House Wren  1

  20. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1

  21. Eastern Bluebird  3     Soccer Field posts. Looks like a successful breeding season.

  22. American Robin  8

  23. Gray Catbird  4

  24. Cedar Waxwing  2

  25. Yellow Warbler  2

  26. Chipping Sparrow  1

  27. Song Sparrow  1

  28. Northern Cardinal  4

  29. Indigo Bunting  1     Heard.

  30. House Finch  1

  31. American Goldfinch  10


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 documented 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.

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 DriveThis Stop Light is approximately 200 yards south of the major intersection with signs for Museum of Science and Industry. Make a turn at the 57th Street and Science Drive 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 59thStreet.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Chicago Audubon Society Representative

Earlier Event: July 22
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: August 5
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report