We had 31 participants show up in spite of the frigid cold temperatures to cover nine different areas within the 15 mile diameter count circle in northern Kane Co. and part of southern McHenry Co along the Fox River in the east and going west to Burlington and Hampshire, IL. Sites in the circle included the Algonquin, Carpentersville and Elgin Dams, Brunner F.P., Burnidge F.P., Fox River Shores, Raceway Woods, Pingree Grove, Fitchie Creek, Rutland, Freeman Kame, Hampshire F.P., Muirhead Springs, Binnie F.P., Tyler Creek, Exner Marsh, and others. Here's a map of the area: https://goo.gl/zQexPM
Two intrepid birders did some owling predawn without any success in the cold and wind, but we still added owls later in the day and during some owling in the evening. Most participants started the day between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. with the temperature around 3 degrees (F) and a -17 degree windchill. Fortunately the skies were clear almost all day and the sun make for a still beautiful day. After a long day of both short walks by many, long walks by more intrepid individuals than myself, breaks for lunch, and lots of birding by car, about 15 people concluded their day with a casual dinner and opportunity to share their results at Jimmy's Charhouse on Randall Rd. in Elgin.
We ended the day with a total of 66 species! The full list with totals is below. Congrats to everyone who helped. That's a very respectable number for thirty people, a very cold day, and our first time ever conducting a count here. We also had at least 7 additional birds reported during the extended "count week" window between Dec. 27 and Jan. 2.
Most areas had about 20-25 species with the river areas coming in higher partially due to the birds congregating along the water and in the ravines and woods near the river. 40 Bald Eagles were seen just between the two sections of river in our area. We also had 6 species of ducks and all the expected woodpeckers (no Red-headeds) as well as Carolina Wrens, Winter Wrens, and Tufted Titmice. The western areas represented with Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and all the expected country roadside birds included Horned Larks, Lapland Longspurs, and Snow Buntings. Area 4 also had a nice mix of the count's only Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Rusty Blackbirds. Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskins were both represented in a number of areas this year. The only two documentable species included two Thayer's Gulls and a California Gull, all seen at Carpentersville Dam. Many woodland birds as well as hawks and sparrows were in low supply due to the cold.
If you didn't join us this year, but are interested in helping in the future, feel free to contact me to get added to next year's contact list. We're glad to have help recruiting too if you know of others who might be interested in joining. Next year's tentative date will be Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018 with Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 as a secondary option depending on everyone's availability and potential conflicts with other counts.
Thanks again to everyone who participated. Have a wonderful new year and here's to hoping that this new count becomes a fun yearly tradition as well as a great resource for documenting the birds wintering in this area.
--------------------- Eric Secker Rutland CBC Compiler West Dundee, Kane Co. <rutlandcbc...>
Total Species in Area:66
33 - Walked: Miles 30.25 - Walked: Hours 352.75- Driven: Miles 34.75 - Driven: Hours 0.75 - Owling: Miles 1 - Owling: Hours 16 - Parties:
2 - Cackling Goose 4447 - Canada Goose 1 - Wood Duck 2 - American Black Duck 655 - Mallard 237 - Common Goldeneye 3 - Hooded Merganser 4 - Common Merganser 16 - Great Blue Heron 40 - Bald Eagle 2 - Northern Harrier 2 - Sharp-shinned Hawk 6 - Cooper's Hawk 32 - Red-tailed Hawk 1 - Rough-legged Hawk 5 - Ring-billed Gull 122 - Herring Gull 85 - Rock Pigeon 103 - Mourning Dove 1 - Eastern Screech-Owl 5 - Great Horned Owl 4 - Belted Kingfisher 47 - Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 59 - Downy Woodpecker 21 - Hairy Woodpecker 4 - Northern Flicker 1 - American Kestrel 1 - Merlin 49 - Blue Jay 52 - American Crow 296 - Horned Lark 87 - Black-capped Chickadee 2 - Tufted Titmouse 6 - Red-breasted Nuthatch 40 - White-breasted Nuthatch 8 - Brown Creeper 4 - Winter Wren 3 - Carolina Wren 4 - Golden-crowned Kinglet 3 - Eastern Bluebird 1 - Hermit Thrush 56 - American Robin 588 - European Starling 124 - Cedar Waxwing 185 - Lapland Longspur 11 - Snow Bunting 2 - Yellow-rumped Warbler 308 - American Tree Sparrow 3 - Fox Sparrow 398 - Dark-eyed Junco 6 - White-crowned Sparrow 42 - White-throated Sparrow 11 - Song Sparrow 2 - Swamp Sparrow 99 - Northern Cardinal 37 - Red-winged Blackbird 25 - Rusty Blackbird 17 - Brown-headed Cowbird 147 - House Finch 1 - Purple Finch 10 - Pine Siskin 68 - American Goldfinch 485 - House Sparrow 2 - Thayer's Gull *** 1 - California Gull ***