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Wooded Island Bird Walk Report

Submitted by Jennie Strable on Sun, 02/11/2018 - 1:14pm

Event date:

Saturday, February 3, 2018 - 8:00am 



Hello to All,

Not much in the way of bird sightings today.  A Downy Woodpecker here and there, including on Wooded Island, saved the day. 

At Wolf Lake, a wondrous female Snowy Owl parked on a peninsula of ice, on the Indiana side of State Line Road. There she was; an Arctic refugee, seeking asylum in the Land of Pence.

Northern Harrier glided low over Lake Calumet and crossed Stony Island. 

Ramblings to follow:

This past week, an adult Red-shouldered Hawk, flew across the entrance to Wolf Lake(William Power Conservation Area). That is one gorgeous, and not too common, hawk in our area.  I posted the sighting on IBET (“Illinois Birders Exchanging Thoughts” yahoo group) immediately.  This prompted the Master of Listers, Joe L., to make a trip from the north side to the far south side, in search of the Hawk.  Joe is a major checklist birder and chaser. But the Hawk was not to be found by Joe on his visit to Wolf Lake. As a consolation prize, he did see an adult Bald Eagle on the pole at the intersection of I-94 and I-57.  I reminded Joe of the Zen of Birding: here one moment and gone the next.  No cement shoes on these winged creatures.   This led me to think about our fascination with birds, and our profound admiration for the gift of flight.

Humans have fanaticized about being able to fly like a bird since we first caught sight of these feathered creatures who could transform a thought of flight into an action.  Since ancient times, stories and images of humans, processed with the ability to fly, are known.  For me, growing up, I watched Saturday morning episodes of “Flash Gordon”.  I loved Vultan, the Prince of the bird-like Hawk men who dwelled in Sky City.  True enough, Vultan was not as smart of your average raven, but I liked his burliness, his booming voice, and acceptance of human encouragement to stand up to Ming the Merciless, and his army.

A prerequisite for a true image of an angel is to have winged appendages attached to the shoulder blades of a human figure.  And, of course, every child raised Catholic, like myself, was assigned a guardian angel at birth, to guide us away from the pitfalls that awaited us in our earthy journey. I named mine Sylvester.

With a nod to our great local birder, Dr. Randy S., Horus, of ancient Egyptian mythology, is depicted with a falcon’s head.  Then there is Icarus, the son of Daedalus, inventor of the Labyrinth, who cared not for fire starters, and winged his way too close to the sun, with tragic consequences.

My favorite winged creature, is Hermes, of Greek mythology, who wore winged sandals and helmet. Who among us would not rush out to buy a pair of those sandals and hat?  It was slender and swift Hermes, son of Zeus, who was sent of a mission by the gods, to guide Priam, the Trojan King, through the night, to Achilles’ camp, to beg for the body of his son Hector.  Now that leads to thoughts of the deep bonds of a parent to a child that I will leave for another rambling, perhaps. Even Achilles cried with Priam.

To quote an Alaskan gal who wanders in the woods, “Be outside and be happy.”

BIRDERS:      8.         (1) Laurel R., (2) Marian N., (3) David P., (4) Jennie S., (5) Eric G., (6) Catherine G., (7) Karin D., (8) Pat D. Walk on participation by Doug S and treat seeking doggie, Copper.

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

PLACES:        Wooded Island, Bobolink Meadow, Lakefront & Outer Harbor      

DISTANCE:    2.5 miles

WEATHER:    Cloudy. Temperature 26 – 29 F. Winds SSW 10 – 20 mph


  1. Canada Goose – 88 +

  2. American Crow – 7

  3. Downy Woodpecker – 3

  4. Black-capped Chickadee - 2

  5. Mallard – 2

  6. Common Goldeneye – 6

  7. Red-breasted Merganser – 5

  8. Red-tailed Hawk – 1

  9. Ring-billed Gull – X

  10. Herring Gull – X

  11. Greater Scaup – X


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 Science Drive.This 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 59th Street.

Best of Birding to All,                    

Patricia Durkin

Earlier Event: January 27
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report
Later Event: February 24
Wooded Island Bird Walk Report