A Birding Club for kids, teens, and young adults
A Birding Club for kids, teens, and young adults

Field Trip Reports

Read field trip reports and view highlight photos from past trips taken by the Illinois Young Birders Club. Trip reports are written by both young birders and adults. If you would like to contribute, let us know!

Starved Rock State Park

March 5, 2017

Scoping Illinois River

Scoping the Illinois River

Thirteen young birders and several family members joined guest leader, Andrew Aldrich, for a trip to Starved Rock State Park along the Illinois River on Sunday, March 5th. Despite having been hit recently by a tornado, the surrounding area was as scenic as ever and there were plenty of birds to keep us occupied.

We met at the Starved Rock Lock and Dam Visitor's Center and scoped the Illinois River. A couple of Bald Eagles were perched on the far shore and one immature eagle flew down river. From our vantage point, we could see hundreds of American White Pelicans huddled together near the shallow pools and islands that dot the river bed. A large flock of Scaup flew overhead as well.

From there, we went to the opposite side of the river, Starved Rock State Park. Several species were visiting the bird feeders including Red-headed, Red-bellied, and Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, and Tufted Titmice. We hiked up to the lookout and on our way, we all heard and a few of us saw Carolina Wren and Fox Sparrows and a Pileated Woodpecker flew by. From our vantage point a top the sandstone cliffs, we could see a great distance up river and Golden-crowned Kinglets called in the surrounding junipers. Andrew spotted an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk on the opposite shore. The kids got to study the key field marks of this tricky to ID species. A few kids had a brief look at Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

We then moved further up river to Lone Point Shelter. From this vantage point, we spotted several species of ducks including Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Black Duck, Green-winged and a few early Blue-winged Teal.

We decided to cross the street afterward and hike up Illinois Canyon. While it wasn't birdy, the scenery was fantastic. We ended a very successful day at about noon with 44 species having been observed.

Fox River Run

January 29, 2017

Scoping Fox River

Scoping the Fox River

Everyone met at Carpentersville Dam with guest leader, Scott Cohrs. In the parking lot, Scott heard a Brown Creeper and a Bald Eagle flew over. Once everyone got there, we looked at the river finding a banded Canada Goose (N6Y3) (white numbers on an orange band) and four Greater White-fronted Geese (good spotting by Ethan Ellis) among the hundreds of Canadas. After the excitement of all of the geese, we walked down the path where Matthew Cvetas found the leucistic Common Goldeneye. On the walk back, we found a lone Green-winged Teal, and a perched Bald Eagle.

After a stop at Panera, we went to the Gail Borden Library. There we saw that up the river at Judson there were a lot more Geese. So we made the stop there short.

We drove to a place across from Judson where we found some Cackling Geese and a very cooperative Brown Creeper. We walked up a path, finding the Long-tailed Duck (which has not been seen since Wednesday), another Cackling Goose, and a couple Bald Eagles.

Then we drove down to John J. Duerr Forest Preserve, where the best bird was a low flyover, juvenile Bald Eagle.

-Oliver Burrus