IOS Shorebirding Weekend, August 19th - 20th

Kevin T. Karlson is an accomplished birder, professional tour leader, speaker and wildlife photographer who has published numerous articles on bird identification and natural history for an assortment of magazines, journals, calendars and electronic media. Kevin is a co-author of The Shorebird Guide (Houghton Mifflin Co. 2006) and has completed a new book with co-author and wife Dale Rosselet for the Roger Tory Peterson Reference series at Houghton Mifflin Co. called Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds (April 2015 release date). He completed a Shorebird ID App in 2013 for called Shorebirds of the United States and Canada, which is available in the Apple Store. Kevin has produced four laminated ID foldout guides for Quick Reference Publishing (Raptors of Eastern and Western North America; Waterfowl of North America; Shorebirds of North America and Warblers of North America).

Where: Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, Emiquon and surrounding areas.

  • Kevin Karlson will be the guest speaker for the weekend. Kevin will be hosting two presentations at the Dixon Mounds State Museum on Saturday evening for all those attending.
  • Shorebird skin samples from the Chicago Field Museum will be available at the Dixon Mounds State Museum for members to view while attending lectures.
  • Lunch will be provided at the Dickson Mounds State Museum on Saturday August 20th. During this time, take a moment to enjoy the artifacts and information at this excellent museum.
  • Field trips will be available all day Saturday, August 19th, and the morning of Sunday, August 20th. Local experts will be conducting field trips at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, Emiquon and surrounding areas. Kevin Karlson will be participating in a few of the field trips which will be provided. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Lodging for this event will be at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Pekin. You may book your rooms for the 18th and 19th using room block code, IOF. Field trips will start early in the day, so it may be necessary to book rooms for both Friday and Saturday evening. Registration will be at the hotel on Friday evening.
  • Raffle Prizes, including Kevin Karlson autographed books, Eagle Optics T-shirts and more!
  • Eagle Optics is providing three Vortex Spotting Scopes in different price ranges for IOS members to sample.
  • 25th Anniversary IOS T-shirt will be available for purchase to commemorate the weekend.

Weekend Agenda:

August 18th:

Check-in and registration at the Holiday Inn Express in Pekin, Illinois. Participants will receive name tags, field trip schedule, field trip leader contact information, raffle tickets, and area maps highlighting field trip routes for their respective group. IOS 25th Anniversary T-shirts will be distributed and available at this time.

August 19th:

Tentative plan. Holiday Inn begins free breakfast service at 6:00am. Hotel manager stated that most breakfast items start being available shortly after 5:30am.

6:45am Field trip groups will leave for the designated field trips.

*note: Field Trip plans are still being arranged for this weekend. Stay tuned for further information! A big sit will be incorporated into the weekend schedule for any that might be interested in such an event. This would likely take place along the cross dike at Chautauqua. Spotting Scopes provided by Eagle Optics will also be set up here for any interested in using them and sampling some available scopes which Eagle Optics sells. Kevin Karlson will be participating in the scheduled field trips. We will attempt to move him through the group rotations so all have a chance to visit and do some bird watching with him!

12:00pm Participants will meet at Dickson Mounds State Museum for complimentary Lunch. (Cold cut sandwiches, chips, water and cookie)

12:30pm Kevin Karlson will give an amazing pictorial presentation in the Auditorium.

1:30pm Groups will depart the Museum for afternoon field trips

5:30pm Participants will return to the Museum for another great presentation from Kevin Karlson concerning Shore bird identification. Shorebird skin samples will be on display, which will give you an opportunity to compare some unique species to those we encounter on a more frequent basis. Raffle prizes will be drawn at this time.

6:30pm One of three options: 1. The museum is hosting a musical night and musicians will be playing for anyone in attendance. 2. Return to Holiday inn Express for the evening. 3. Continue birding in the evening either separately or with an informal group. In Pekin, there is an Applebee’s Restaurant near the hotel, which would be a good venue for an evening drink and socialization.

August 20th:

Breakfast schedule same as for Saturday August 19th.

6:45am Field Trips will continue through the first half of the day. Participants and field trip leaders will continue or disband at their discretion. *schedules are still being completed.

Register Here

LODGING: Rooms have been blocked out at the Pekin Holiday Inn Express, 3615 Kelly Ave, Pekin, IL 61554.

Use discount code IOF (that’s not a typo, it’s IOF), for the special rate of $120/night.

IOS Members:
Illinois Young Birders:
IOS 25th Anniversary T-Shirt:
Second T-Shirt:

Saturday Field Trip:

#1 Big Sit Chautauqua Cross dike (Josh Engel)
#2 Emiquon Water Control Structures and levees (Andy Gilbert)
#3 Emiquon Overlook and surrounding areas/Globes (Colin Dobson)
#4 Mobile birding with Travis Mahan Chautauqua and surrounding areas

Sunday Field Trip

#1 Chautauqua and Goofy Ridge
#2 Emiquon
#3 Mobile birding with Colin Dobson
#4 Mobile birding with Travis Mahan

Rare Bird Alert - 23-Jul-2017

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: Carroll (North) – On 22-Jul-2017, Ethan and Cindy Brown found a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck along Army Depot Rd. near the entrance to the Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in Carroll County.

Ruff: Mason (Central) – On 18-Jul-2017, Colin Dobson found a Ruff at the pool south of Chain Lake, at Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area in Mason County.

Recent Taxonomy Updates to the Official Illinois State List of Birds

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) recently issued its 58th Supplement to its Check-list of North American Birds. Since the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC, a committee of the Illinois Ornithological Society) follows the AOS taxonomy in keeping the official Illinois State List of Birds, all relevant changes from the 58th supplement get reflected in the Illinois list. These changes are summarized below.

  • Thayer’s Gull was lumped into Iceland Gull. Thayer’s Gull thus no longer appears on the Illinois list.
  • The genus Chen was merged into Anser. Thus, Snow Goose and Ross’s Goose have a scientific name change, and they move ahead of Greater White-fronted Goose in the taxonomic sequence.
  • The puddle duck genus Anas was split into a few separate genera, and the taxonomic sequence of the species was changed. Garganey, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, and Northern Shoveler become part of Spatula; and Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, and American Wigeon become part of Mareca.
  • The sequence for the Sandpiper family (Scolopacidae) changed, resulting in Whimbrel moving ahead of Eskimo Curlew, American Woodcock moving ahead of Wilson’s Snipe, and Lesser Yellowlegs and Greater Yellowlegs swapping positions.
  • Northern Harrier was split into Hen Harrier (in the Old World) and Northern Harrier (in the New World). Our Northern Harrier retains its common name, but gets a new scientific name, Circus hudsonias.
  • Northern Shrike is split into Northern Shrike (New World and northeast Asia) and Great Gray Shrike (Old World). Our Northern Shrike retains its common name but gets a new scientific name, Lanius borealis.
  • The taxonomic sequence of the finch family (Fringillidae) changed.
  • Our sparrows and towhees were split out of the Emberizid family into a family all their own: Passerellidae, the New World Sparrows. The position of this new family is different in the new sequence.
  • The common name for Ammodramus leconteii changed from Le Conte’s Sparrow to LeConte’s Sparrow. This change was made to agree with how John Lawrence LeConte, after whom the sparrow is named, wrote his surname.
  • The Yellow-breasted Chat is moved out of the wood-warblers and into its very own family, Icteriidae, the Yellow-breasted Chats. Don’t confuse this family with Icteridae, the Blackbirds, in front of which the Icteriidae is positioned in the new taxonomic sequence. The Yellow-breasted Chat is the only species in the new family.
  • In addition to the Blackbird family being moved up in the taxonomic sequence, the order of the species within it also was changed.

The new taxonomic sequence, name changes both common and scientific, and the disappearance of Thayer’s Gull from the Illinois list are all reflected in an updated version of the Birds of Illinois.

Merlins Nesting In Illinois

Merlin Copulation by Eric Walters

Back on April 3, 2017, I was in a northeast Lake County area when I heard a loud, unusual bird chattering along with various birds and an Eastern Gray Squirrel running for cover. Suddenly, a Merlin came flying by, chasing after some prey. Over the next week, when checking

Continue reading Merlins Nesting In Illinois

Rare Bird Alert – 10-Jul-2017

White Ibis by Whitney Gregge

Anhinga: Jackson (South) – On 10-Jul-2017, while looking unsuccessfully for the White Ibis, Craig Taylor photographed an Anhinga flying over Highway 3 in Jackson County. This bird has been in the area since the spring.

White Ibis: Jackson (South) – On 9-Jul-2017, Don Mullison discovered an immature White Ibis

Continue reading Rare Bird Alert – 10-Jul-2017

IOS & Red Hill Birding Trip to Panama

It is with great excitement that IOS announces an international trip to the tropical forests of Panama! IOS will be traveling down to Panama June 26th – July 5th, 2018 (Click Here for Itinerary). IOS is partnering with Josh Engel and his new tour company, Red Hill Birding, for what is going to be a

Continue reading IOS & Red Hill Birding Trip to Panama

What is Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) by Mike Ward

What is the Breeding Bird Survey and what does it do for the birds?

All of us reading this article enjoy birds and want to protect the birds and the places where birds live. One of the most important ways that we both protect birds and our environment is by monitoring bird populations. Unlike nearly

Continue reading What is Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) by Mike Ward

IORC Update - 8 June 2017

The Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC) recently concluded evaluation of 19 records of occurrence of rare birds in Illinois, accepting 14 and not accepting five. For each record, we indicate below the species or form, with number of individuals in parentheses if greater than one, followed by date or date range, location, and county. At

Continue reading IORC Update – 8 June 2017

Rare Bird Alert - 4-Jun-2017

Western Tanager by Chuck Fields

White-winged Dove: Cook (North) – A White-winged Dove visited the feeders of Susan Szeszol’s River Grove home on 5-Jun-2017. Surprisingly, this is the second occurrence of this species at her home in the last ten months.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck: Peoria (Central) – Bill Kulschbach captured images of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks on

Continue reading Rare Bird Alert – 4-Jun-2017

Rare Bird Alert - 20-May-2017

Western Tanager by ‎Jennifer McHenry Green‎

Ruff: Putnam (North) – A female Ruff or Reeve was in scope view of Bob and Karen Fisher at the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in Putnam County on May 14th.

Western Tanager: Cook (North) – A Western Tanager was photographed by Jennifer McHenry Green

Continue reading Rare Bird Alert – 20-May-2017