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68504IBET Recent Bartel/Killdeer Wetland & nearby area sightings

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  • calcariusp
    May 18, 2014

      I have been too extremely busy this spring to get a bunch of reports out to IBET of some of my better birds & birding days (like the male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD that I had at the El Paso Sewage Ponds in Woodford County, May 6th!  Luckily Ted Hartzler got wind of my sighting and also saw the blackbird!).  However, I thought I would post a few good sightings I had at Bartel Grassland  this past Wed. the 14th before and after my work surveys there.  At Bartel, no Upland Sandpiper this time, but the BOBOLINKS were now back, at least 75+  There were also a minimum of 30 singing HENSLOW’S SPARROWS and I saw a few well, perched atop forbs, including once on top of last year’s rattlesnake master stalk!  There were a lot of small pools of water in the grassland from the recent heavy rains and in the wetlands there, I also flushed 6 SORA and 2 VIRGINIA RAIL.  However, the only shorebirds were 6 LESSER YELLOWLEGS, 1 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and a SPOTTED and SOLITARY SANDPIPER. I also flushed one female RING-NECKED PHEASANT and heard one singing male CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

                      Across the road in the Killdeer Wetlands, besides at least 4 BLUE-WINGED TEAL and a few more LESSER YELLOWLEGS, I flushed 4 WILSON’S SNIPE (nesting??), 2 AMERICAN BITTERNS and 2 LEAST BITTERNS, my first bitterns of any kind the whole spring!  I also flushed/heard 9 more SORA and 2 more VIRGINIA RAIL. There was also one singing male GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, the species that I’m guessing will be one of the next birds added to the state threatened list, since they are now harder to find than Henslow’s Sparrows.  

                      At the Matteson Auto Mall pond just south of Vollmer Rd, there were at least 100+ swallows flying low over the lake, including many CLIFFS.  Believe it or not, I’ve had breeding COMMON GALLINULES & a few breeding rails regularly in this pond/wetland in past years, but none the last 6-7 years.  Every year I go back to census the pond, the water has gotten deeper and deeper, with less and less cattail edge, apparently from rainwater runoff from the huge parking lots which now are all around about 2/3 of the wetland.  Just because a nice wetland is saved, it doesn’t mean that the rare birds that inhabit them will stay as well, especially if unchecked building wind’s up completely encircling the wetland. At the large wetland area along the hiking/biking trail just a little farther south of the auto mall (just west of Central Ave.), there were 60+ AMERICAN COOTS & 150+ more swallows including at least 5+ BANK SWALLOWS (my foy!) & 25+ CLIFF SWALLOWS.  There was a nice group of migrants, especially warblers in the short trees and shrubs along the biking trail as well.

      1              Philadelphia Vireo (foy)

      1              Tennessee Warbler

      1              Yellow Warbler

      1              Chestnut-sided Warbler

      2              Magnolia Warbler

      5              Yellow-rumped Warbler

      6              Palm Warbler

      2              Blackburnian Warbler (male & female)

      2              Blackpoll Warbler

      3              American Redstart

      1              Northern Waterthrush

      2              Common Yellowthroat

      2              Wilson’s Warbler


      Good birding!


      Steve Bailey

      Mundelein (Lake Co.)