Monday, May 9, 2011

Illinois Spring Bird Count

Spring Migration Scavenger Hunt
  ... A little piece of DeKalb

P.A. Nehring Forest Preserve

Seeing six Scarlet Tanager fly in and hunt bugs 
around us was just one highlight of our day. 
They really do take your breath away!

Northern Illinois University Lagoon

N.I.U. Lagoon near the Kishwaukee River. 
They were also in the wooded area by the Technology building. 

P.A. Nehring Forest Preserve

I always hope to see this little beauty during migration. 
I am amazed how very quickly they move through the trees
while searching for and collecting insects.  
I continue to try and capture it's essence in the brief seconds available to me.
Until we meet again sweet American Redstart.

Bathing in the Kishwaukee River! How sweet is that!
I love birdwatching!

Taking a little drink.

N.I.U. Lagoon

I posted this one just so I could say "ROCK N' ROBIN"
I counted 51 Robin in DeKalb, Illinois today.

Just a splishing and a splashing.  
Tweet, tweet, tweedle deet.

 The Northern Flicker is a striking bird up close.
Texture rich, beautiful!

A Pheobe melody "feee beee" ... music to my ears.

Home sweet home. DeKalb, Illinois.

This guy was working the same area as the Tanager's.
He hopped up on this branch for a moment to survey the area below.
They like to forage through the leaves for goodness.

This is the last bird I counted today. He even posed for me.
I whispered 'thank you' after taking this shot. 
He turned his head and looked me right in the eye 
with a 'happy bird count day' gaze just before flying off.

This is the first time I participated in a bird count. 
This is what I saw while out and about in DeKalb, Illinois today.  
I started birding at 5:45 a.m. with another birder from our group, 
then continued searching the rest of the day with my husband. 
I stopped counting at 4:30 p.m. 
It felt like we were on a scavenger hunt. 
We enjoyed every moment!

Birds seen today                                                Count                                                         
  1. American Goldfinch                                                6             
  2. Baltimore Oriole                                                      2
  3. Blue-headed Vireo                                                   1
  4. Blue Heron                                                               1
  5. Black and White Warbler                                         1
  6. Black-capped Chickadee                                          9
  7. Black-throated Green Warbler                                 1
  8. Blue-gray Gnatchatcher                                           3
  9. Canadian Geese                                                      41    
    Canadian Geese Chicks                                          21
  10. Cat Bird                                                                    6
  11. Chimney Swift                                                        18
  12. Chipping Sparrow                                                     3
  13. Common Yellow-throat                                             3
  14. Crow                                                                          4
  15. Downy Woodpecker                                                  1
  16. Eurasian Tree Sparrow                                              4
  17. Great Horned Owl                                                     1
  18. Grackle                                                                    12
  19. House Sparrow                                                          5
  20. House Wren                                                               2
  21. Magnolia Warbler                                                      2
  22. Mallard                                                                     17
  23. Mourning Dove                                                          4
  24. Northern Rough-winged Swallow                              7
  25. Northern Flicker                                                          3
  26. Northern Cardinal                                                       6
  27. Palm Warbler                                                              4
  28. Phoebe                                                                        4
  29. Red-winged Blackbird                                              14
  30. Red-bellied Woodpecker                                            4
  31. Robin                                                                        51
  32. Redstart, American                                                     1
  33. Rose-breasted Grosbeak                                             4
  34. Rock pigeon                                                                3
  35. Ruby Crowned Kinglet                                               3
  36. Scarlet Tanager                                                           4
  37. Swamp Sparrow                                                          1
  38. Swainson's Thrush                                                      1
  39. Starling                                                                      34
  40. White-crowned Sparrow                                             4
  41. White-breasted Nuthatch                                            3
  42. Vulture                                                                        3
  43. Yellow Warbler                                                           8
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler                                              2
Days Count   TOTAL                                                        332
Days Species TOTAL                                                         44

Area Covered: DeKalb, Illinois
                        Elwood House Woodland & Cemetary behind it      5:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
                        My Backyard                                                             8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
                        Around NIU Lagoon & Technology Bldg woods     9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
                        Fairview Cemetery                                                   2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
                        P.A. Nehring Forest Preserve                                    3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


  1. wonderful photos and impressive bird list


  2. What a fabulous list of birds, Debbie! Awesome photographs! How glorious that you saw 4 Scarlet Tanagers during one outing. I'm especially fond of the Blue-headed Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch and Swainson's Thrush images, though all are wonderful. Sounds and looks like a fabulous day of bird counting. As always, a joy to visit your terrific blog!

  3. Absolutely awesome day. Great coverage and even greater captures. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful birdy day. Thanks for sharing you great time afield..I enjoyed it a lot.

  4. Heavens to Betsy, what a birding adventure! Great shots, Debbie! That list is impressive. It must have been a truly outstanding experience. Lucky you!

  5. How did I miss this post? Fabulous photos, and an amazing number of birds. What a wonderful day you had!

  6. A great birding day, your photos are wonderful. I just love the beautiful Scarlet Tanager. The warblers are a real treat to see. Good Birding and have a great weekend.

  7. What a wonderful post! So many beauties! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Wow! Excellent birdies to count! Great pics. I am having such a hard time taking pictures of those Warbly birdies...they hop skip jump and fly too much! :)

  9.! What a day....Your Scarlet Tanager photos are primo too...

  10. Great Job Debbie! Love that Scarlet Tanager!

  11. Thank you very much for the views and nice comments. I was amazed with how many birds you actually do see while out and about in the neighborhood. Counting and writing them down make a difference!

    My favorite sightings from this adventure were the six Scarlet Tanagers (all male too!) and the sweet Blue-headed Vireo who appeared to let me take it's portrait then wish me a happy bird count day. I remember quietly tiptoeing closer and closer until I actually found myself needing to back up to take the picture. I'll bet that I was near some juicy insects and that what I considered a sweet (happy bird count day) gaze was really a 'Lady back away from the bug!' stare. It was incredible ... I think I was holding my breath until it flew away. A truly incredible, unforgettable moment.

    I must say too that even though I chose a few favorite sightings and moments, that each and every sighting and the moment and memory attached to it was exciting. Each and every sighting! My first bird counting adventure was wonderful!

  12. wow nice birds!

  13. wow cuties. i love them