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This and That…
Welcome to the DuPage Birding Club!
Founded in 1985, the DuPage Birding Club is nationally known as one of the largest and most active birding groups in Illinois. Our mission is to promote birding among our 200+ members and the general public through education and field experiences that take advantage of the various habitats in DuPage County, the greater Chicago area, and other regional hotspots.
Upcoming Field Trips
Field Trip Participants: Please dress warm and dry for field trip weather and trail conditions. We expect everyone to enjoy birding in a safe manner by being careful and prudent.
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Glacial Park Conservation Area, McHenry, IL - October 25, 2014
The DuPage Birding Club had a trip to Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County on October 25. It was the club's first autumn trip to this site, and we enjoyed a beautiful day. Besides birds, we saw butterflies (one Monarch, one Cabbage White, and four Sulphurs); we also saw a small Red-bellied Snake.
Club member Bob Spitzer had prepared a spread sheet detailing the species we were likely to encounter based on previous published reports. We saw about 40% of those species. Although of us were very happy to see the pair of Sandhill Cranes, probably the "bird of the day" was the Rough-legged Hawk, which was not among the birds we expected to see. Before and after the trip and not in the park, we saw Double-crested Cormorants, Rock Pigeons, grackles, and House Sparrows. 33 species seen.
Saturday, November 29, 7:30 a.m.
Morton Arboretum, Lisle
Leader:Bob and Jean Spitzer
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Juncos on the feeders, under the feeders and chasing one another around the feeders! They’re perched on tree trunks and peering out from bushes. Will the ‘Oregon’ come back to the yard this season? Will a bona fide ‘Cassiar’s’ show up? Creepers hitch upwards and nuthatches move downwards. A variety of ducks, geese and more waterfowl again swim in local waterways. Eyes to the skies and ears tuned to the music, we observe raptors and migrating cranes. Save for startling flashes of red from northern cardinals and woodpeckers and the eye-popping blues of blue jays, the avian color pallet shifts once again towards more subtle colors. The soft brown tones of sparrows and finches delight the eye. Gulls come to our attention. The seasons change again, accompanied by a change in the birds around us.
At a local hardware store last weekend I took advantage of a sale on hand and foot warmers. A few blustery November days had already reminded me to look for the thick socks, long johns, down vest, warm coat, scarf and waterproof hiking boots which comprise much of a Midwest birder’s cold weather wardrobe. The shopping trip brought up annual questions: mittens or gloves? gloves with fingers or without? hats with earflaps? head bands? ear muffs? You know the drill. ‘Fashion’ takes on a whole new meaning. The real test is whether you can stay warm while still managing to focus binoculars and hear the birds!
Coming up soon are the Christmas Bird Counts, annual favorites. This year the Fermilab and Lisle-Arboretum Counts will be held on different weekends. Be sure to read the details for the Fermilab Count Circle on this website. Information regarding the Lisle-Arboretum Count Circle can be found on the field trip page. It’s great to see a good showing of DuPage Birding Club members each year at the countdown dinners. I hope to see many of you out on the CBC trails on December 14 and 20!
Good birding to all,
Will County Big Day Trip! May, 2014
Joan Norek was the winning bidder at the DBC Auction for the Will County Big Day field trip. We scheduled the trip for May 17th and prepared by monitoring eBird reports as well as personal scouting trips. We planned to meet at 3:30 a.m. which would put us at our first stop well before sunrise. The plan was to start in the far southern parts of the county and finish the day back north. On our way to our first stop near Braidwood a very light raptor flew across our path just above the headlights, which may have been a Barn Owl. We were unable to relocate the bird so it went uncounted. Our first stop was to listen for Whip-poor-will. A very distant Whip was calling when we got out of the car. We walked down the road further and were able to hear a much closer bird call for several minutes. A Woodcock or two were also peenting and displaying in the area. Before we left the area, a Wild Turkey gave a couple of gobbles which saved us a trip to look for them later. We next headed for Kankakee River S.P. To look for warblers. Kentucky, Prothonatary, and Yellow-throated Warblers can often be found in the Will Co. areas of the park. We were able to find Kentucky but missed the other 2. Several other more common warblers were added as were the hard to find Pileated Woodpecker. Nearby back roads got us a Lincoln's Sparrow and a Eurasian Collared Dove. [more….]
Saturday, December 6, 8 a.m.
Tri-County Area Ramble
Leader: Jeff Smith
Friday, December 12, 7:30 a.m. McKee Marsh (Winfield)
Leeader: Kyle Wiktor
Saturday, December 20, 8:30 a.m. Cantigny Park, Wheaton
Leader: Jeff Reiter
Sunday December 14th, All Day Event
Lisle-Arboretum Circle Christmas Bird Count;
Sub-teams assigned to various locations
Midewin Trip - July 5, 2014
We had some decent weather for a late afternoon walk at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie on the 5th of July and the birds cooperated as well. Thirteen birders started at the Iron Bridge Trailhead and hiked east. Several House Wrens chattered away as we walked through the wood lot next to the parking lot. Entering the grasslands we stopped to look at Dickcissels and Indigo Buntings before proceeding after our target species. We went east on the southern leg of the Group 63 trail where several Grasshopper Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks were calling. We eventually got decent looks at the former as well as Bobolink. A Blue Grosbeak could be heard up ahead but before we could walk toward it another popped up on the fence nearby. A couple pairs of Northern Mockingbirds flew back and forth across the trail as we headed for the "Shrike" spot. Scanning the fences we saw a Loggerhead Shrike perched in the distance. It stayed long enough for a couple of us to get scope views. We moved on to get better looks. Reaching the corner of the fence line we could now see 3 Loggerhead Shrikes on the fence. This time everyone got good looks. We pushed forward to see if we could locate the other shrike family a quarter mile up the road. We found one adult bird and turned back to our cars.
We next drove to the Explosives Road Trailhead. Here we looked for Henslow's Sparrow and Bell's Vireo. Henslow's Sparrows were heard but not seen. Light rain moved in so we cut our walk short and called it a day.
Trip lists can be seen at : http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19001824 http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19001827
A Visit To the National Aviary
Although I have managed to work in some birding on nearly every trip I have taken, I have never taken a trip for the expressed purpose of birding. Like many of you, birding has to take place in the cracks and crevices of my family and professional life. I was delighted, therefore, when on an August visit to some friends in Pittsburgh, they suggested we visit the National Aviary.
Some history: Even though the U.S. Congress honored the aviary in 1993 by allowing it to call itself the “national” aviary, the aviary is not connected with the federal government. Located in a park on the city’s north side, the aviary was built by the city of Pittsburgh in 1952, but because the city was losing its tax base, the aviary’s public funding ended in 1991. At that time, volunteers and community leaders developed a business plan and raised money that allowed the aviary to continue operations. Since then, various capital campaigns and donations have allowed the aviary to continue, as well as to expand its educational and conservation programs. Today it is the largest indoor nonprofit aviary in the United States, whose collection of 500 birds representing 150 species exceeds even the National Zoo’s collection in Washington, D.C.
Except for some holidays, the aviary is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There is an admission of $14 to $25 adults (depending on how many shows are seen), and seniors receive a slight discount. There are visitor centers at each entrance, one with the obligatory gift shop. The indoor exhibits are mostly open flight [more….]
Saturday December 20, All Day Event
Fermilab Circle Christmas Bird Count;
Sub-teams assigned to various location
Greene Valley Hawk Watching Field Trip Report
Even though this was ʻpart oneʼ of our Hawk Watch series of field trips, it should have been called ʻpart threeʼ as temperatures were more typical of November than
September. Still we had a good turnout of 15+ participants. After a brief orientation on how the hawkwatch operates we settled down to watch for migrants. The first hour was somewhat slow with only 3 migrating raptors, 1 Osprey, 1 Cooperʼs Hawk and 1 RedtailedHawk. Local non-migrants kept viewers busy as they hunted and chased each other around the hill. Things picked up a bit after noon as we added 3 immature Bald Eagles and a Turkey Vulture to the trip list in the next 2 hours. Those that stuck it out to the end were rewarded with great views of a Peregrine Falcon circling over the east end of the hill. Raptors werenʼt the only birds seen on the hill. We saw a total of 10 Sandhill Cranes and several flocks of Double-crested Cormorants heading south. Chimney Swifts and Barn Swallows were always present and at least 4 Hummingbirds zipped past heading north into the wind. Those of us who were up on the hill early witnessed a hill first when 2 large, dark, wading type birds flew north, directly over us. We were stumped for a minute or so as to their identification but soon narrowed it down to Glossy or Whitefaced Ibis. We also saw a Black-bellied Plover and a flock of 50 or more American White Pelicans all before the hill opens to the public. The full eBird report for the day can be found at :http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19822078 . All of our Hawkwatch data can be viewed by visiting www.hawkcount.org . Part 2 of our hawkwatch series will be in October when there is a chance to see Golden Eagles, Red-shouldered Hawks, and other later migrants. You are always welcome to join us on Saturday and Sunday mornings through October. The hill is open to the public from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. [more….]
Pratt’s Wayne Woods FP - October 18, 2014
Yesterday, I substituted for Kyle Wiktor on the DuPage Birding Club field trip at Pratt's Wayne Woods Forest Preserve. We had two good birders participate with me. Tom Lebryk participated with his pocket electronics and his new large telescope. Bryan Pugh is a new DBC member and wanted to check out the preserve. He has birding experience and great ability to spot the birds. I also brought our spotting scope, which we used for part of the birding.
We went to four locations at Pratt's Wayne Woods: Harrier Lake, Yellow Barn, Eastside "Dog Park", and the main area on the west side of Powis with all of the trails. The "Dog Park" location entailed a walk some distance into the fields and bogs on the east side of Powis Road. The west side was full of people on this opening day of fishing (all parking spots taken), but they were not at our birding locations. At the end of our time we made a short visit to James "Pate" Philip (formerly Tri-County) State Park, which offered no new species.
The three of us worked the preserve for about 5 hours, both to get birds (checklist) and to acquaint Bryan with the site. We were able to log 32 species. I have attached a PDF copy of the eBird tally that I filed via the Club's eBird account. We pretty much saw the birds that were typical of this time of the year. Some of the nice birds included a Ruby-crowned Kinglet showing his ruby crown and the continued presence of Yellow-Rumped Warblers. I regret that we were not able to get the many waterfowl we had hoped to see on Harrier Lake. Secondly, we could not find the Wood Ducks that Jean and I saw in our scouting visit on Thursday, Oct 16th.
Cantigny - November 14, 2014
Today's Cantigny Park walk, co-sponsored by the DuPage Birding Club, was attended by 22 birders. Twenty-eight species were seen or heard -- one less than Nov 2013, our highest November total on record. Most of our birding today was on the golf course, knowing that few golfers would be present. We were rewarded with outstanding views of Red-Headed Woodpecker (3 seen), Eastern Bluebird (at least 10) and Red-Tailed Hawk. A kingfisher was heard but not seen. Waterfowl activity on the golf course was a bit disappointing, restricted to mallards and one all-white domestic duck! After the group broke up, a Pine Siskin flew over the parking lot, witnessed by three birders. Also, a female Wood Duck was found on the pond by the Shaffner Road gate. Thanks to everyone who turned out today and especially our first-timers! Plus, a tip of the birding cap to Jim Frazier and Joan Campbell for helping lead the walk. Joan and Jim are each Cantigny volunteers as well as DuPage Birding Club members. See checklist for a complete list of birds seen today.
The next Cantigny Bird Walk will be Saturday, December 20. Note this is the THIRD Saturday of the month because of the Christmas Bird Count. The data collected at Cantigny will be included in the Fermi CBC, conducted by the DuPage Birding Club. If you want to be on the Cantigny CBC team please let me know via email (email@example.com) or just reply to this message.
Happy Thanksgiving and best birding wishes,
Cantigny Birding Program Coordinator
1. Pied-Billed Grebe (golf course)
2. Canada Goose
3. Wood Duck [more….]
Mississippi River Waterfowl Report - March 22, 2014
Jeff Chapman led a group of nine on his annual Mississippi River Trip looking for waterfowl and other regional specialties. We started the trip further south this year due to frozen conditions upriver. Lock & Dam 14 was the first stop. Eleven duck species were recorded here including Greater Scaup and a lone Red-breasted Merganser (two species which arenʼt always found). Good numbers of American White Pelicans and Bald Eagles were found here as well. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17601336.
We worked north along the river with a brief stop in Cordova where the normally reliable overlook waspretty much devoid of ducks. A few feeder birds were recorded. We checked along River Road north of town for more feeder birds with the main target being Eurasian Tree Sparrow. This was one case where being in the lead car did not work out as the back of the pack found an E Tree and 2 Eurasian Collared Doves. A couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers was the only other highlight. http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17601414. A roadside stop just south [more….]
Website Design: Jim Green Photos: Christian Goers
Hennepin Area/Peacock Marsh Field Trip Report - October 16, 2014
I have attached some photos we took on our DBC Field Trip to the Hennepin Area (see ) last Saturday, Oct 26th. Some indicate the 1000's of birds, some pick up the variety (digi-scope), some show specific birds (e.g., snipe and eagle), and a few show birders.
We had a great experience with thousands of birds (see Bureau County checklist and Peacock Marsh checklist). All told we listed about 75 species.
Jean and I checked out Peacock Marsh after we got back. We got a a dozen species. But the big thing was to watch over 500 Canada Geese come back to marsh to spend the night.
Fermilab Christmas Bird Count - Saturday December 20, 2014
Join us in December as we conduct our annual Christmas Count throughout western DuPage and Eastern Kane County. If you counted last year, your area captain will be contacting you to go over details. If you haven’t counted previously, please email Jeff Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will assign you to an area. We again will have a post count dinner.
SPECIAL NOTE: The post count dinner will not be at Portillo’s. Instead, this year’s dinner will be held at Geno’s East, 1590 East Main Street in St. Charles. (This is West of the Portillo’s location). Cost will be $15.00 per person, payable the night of the dinner. Pizza, salad and appetizers, along with soft drinks and coffee will be included. (alcohol available for purchase.) Please RSVP with your captain no later than one week prior to the count
Here’s a link to a Daily Herald article featuring long-time volunteer site steward and DuPage Birding Club member and Past President Joe Suchecki and his great restoration efforts at Springbrook Prairie:
Channahon November 22, 2014
Our DuPage Birding Club field trip to the Channahon area was successful. We used the McDonalds/BP of I-55 on Hwy 6 as the rendezvous string point at 8:00am. We had six birders: Ted Wolff and guest Susan, Tom Lebryk, Jan Susner, plus Jean and myself. (We expected some others, we waited, but alas we needed to move on).
The cloudy and chilly morning turned out to be reasonable for birding. We visited four general locations: Des Plaines River views off Front Road east of Channahon, the boat launch further west on Front Road, The McKinley Woods overlook and trails south of Channahon and finally the south end of McKinley Woods on the River and the A&M Canal. We birded until about 1:30pm. Ted and Susan headed back to Chicago. The rest of us ate lunch at the Lonestar Restaurant in Channahon. Ted Wolff is an exceptional birder. He kept the tally on his smart phone and we all reviewed the data mutually. Ted filed two eBird reports with the details, which we appreciate. We got a total of 45 species on this field trip. Here is the listing for all sites. Everyone agreed that this was a good field trip.
Website Design: Jim Green Photos: Christian Goers
Next Club Meeting
January 8, 2015 7:30 p.m
Topic: A Birder’s Trip to Cuba
Presented by Roberta Asher
This will be a multimedia presentation about the IOS sponsored trip to Cuba last year. Cuba is one of the most important countries for neotropical migratory birds. A total of 370 species have been recorded on the island. Cuba has 26 endemic bird species and 25 endemic subspecies including the small, but spectacularly colorful, Cuban Tody, the elegant Cuban Trogon, and the Bee Hummingbird (the tiniest hummingbird in the world). This presentation will highlight many of the birds seen on this trip. In addition, Cuba is an island full of 50’s nostalgia, enchanting scenery, rich culture, friendly people, spectacular architecture, and alluring music. Experience the sights and sounds of today’s Cuba, from the street scenes and music of Havana, to pastoral countryside. Learn what to expect when you go birding in Cuba – birds and then some.
Bobbi is an avid birdwatcher and, since retiring, she has pursued that passion and travelled around the world to see birds. She has been actively involved in bird conservation as the VicePresident of the Bird Conservation Network, a Board member of the Chicago Audubon Society and a member of the Chicago Mayor’s Nature and Wildlife Committee. She also is participating in a teaching program jointly sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools and Openlands that involves visiting Chicago public elementary schools and talking to the students about the birds in their neighborhoods. She is currently the bird monitor for Thathcher Woods FP in River Forest.
Select here for more detailed Meeting information.