17th Annual Gull Frolic

February 17, 2018

Start Time – 9:30 a.m. (please note the later start time).

The Gull Frolic is a unique winter event at Illinois’ premier gull-watching hotspot: North Point Marina. Bring your binoculars, scope and cold weather gear, and join birders outside of the yacht club to enjoy close study of some of our harder-to-find winter species such as Iceland (Thayer’s Iceland and Kumlien’s Iceland) and Glaucous Gulls!  A variety of waterfowl typically make an appearance too (scoters and other diving ducks), along with the occasional raptor, owl, or winter finch. Birders wearing bright orange hats will be available to help answer questions along the “boardwalk”.


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Prepare Your Data for Listers Corner

Lister's Corner

Lister’s Corner

Since we’ve officially hit December, it’s time to start thinking about gathering your data for your submissions to the 2017 IOS Listers Corner! As always, you may submit in any manner you choose, be it email to Joe Lill, sending Word docs or Excel files, or by snail mail to:

Joe Lill
5736 N. Avondale
Chicago, IL 60631

All tallies should be as of the end of 2017, so my email should start to fill up on January 1st. We can’t wait!

Since the American Ornithological Society (AOS) issued its 58th Supplement to its Check-list of North American Birds in which Thayer’s Gull was relegated to a subspecies of Iceland Gull, there have been a number of questions from the Illinois birding community about the handling of Thayer’s Gull with regards to list submissions. The Listers Corner Committee (with the approval of the IOS Board) will be handling the Thayer’s Gull question in this manner:

  1. Thayer’s Gull will be countable for all 2017 year lists (state, county, etc.). Technically, one shouldn’t count it if it is first found after July, when the IOS Records Committee amended the official state list. See the official Illinois State List of Birds on the IOS Web site.
  2. Thayer’s Gull will be countable for all Big Days and Big Months through July 2017, but not afterwards.
  3. Thayer’s Gull should not be included with any submitted life lists (state, regional, county, sites, buddy, etc.). This pertains to any total submitted for inclusion in the 2017 Listers Corner.
  4. The Listers Corner Committee will not be going back and vetting any lists from the past. Even though we know for certain that some birders have Thayer’s on their lists, it would be impossible to apply retroactive adjustments in any kind of equitable manner. If a birder does not submit an updated number, the number on record will not be changed.

If you’re new to the listing game, or need a refresher, please check out the 2016 lists at Listers Corner on the IOS Web site. You’ll see quite a number of lists. Feel free to submit to one or dozens! You do not need to be a member of IOS is order to participate, but we encourage you to become an IOS member.

The deadline for submission is January 31, 2018. So, don’t wait. Send in your 2017 data and check it off your list.

Questions? Please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email. We are already starting to receive submissions from some who will be out of the state for the duration of the year.

IORC Update – 26 November 2017

The Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC) recently concluded evaluations of 15 records of occurrence of rare birds in Illinois, accepting 11 and not accepting four. 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 the end, the record number is indicated in parentheses, followed by, for accepted records, names of the documenters. IORC thanks all the documenters, for accepted and unaccepted records alike, for their submissions. All documentation is maintained in the IORC archives so that there is a permanent record of all these observations. Documentation, regardless of the Committee’s decision, is a valuable part of the record of bird life in Illinois.

Records Accepted

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, 22 July 2017, Army Depot Road, Carroll County (2017-028; Dan Williams)
  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, 7 August 2017, Zuma Creek flats, Rock Island County (2017-033; Steve Freed)
  • White-winged Dove, 17 May 2016, Chicago, Cook County (2016-100; David Mroczkowski)
  • White-winged Dove, 6 July to 26 August 2017, Kaneville, Kane County (2017-026; Marion Miller, Vince Moxon, Dan Williams)
  • Ruff, 20-21 August 2017, Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, Fulton County (2017-035; Matthew Cvetas, Bob Fisher)
  • Little Gull, 20-21 April 2016, Lake Springfield, Sangamon County (2016-101; H. David Bohlen)
  • Wood Stork, 6-20 July 2017, Rend Lake, Jefferson County (2017-024; C. Leroy Harrison, Dan Kassebaum, Dan Williams)
  • Wood Stork, 5 August 2017, Sexton Creek wetlands, Alexander County (2017-032; Allen Gathman)
  • Neotropic Cormorant, 28 March 2017, Pontiac, Livingston County (2017-009; Demetri Lafkas)
  • Neotropic Cormorant; 4 August 2017, Lake Shelbyville, Moultrie County (2017-031; Ron Bradley)
  • White Ibis, 9-20 July 2017, Grand Tower Township, Jackson County (2017-025; Whitney Gregge, Dan Kassebaum)

Records Not Accepted

  • Black Rail, 10 May 2010, Worship Trail, Cook County (2010-031)
  • Royal Tern, 8 May 2017, Channahon Township, Will County (2017-027)
  • Great Blue Heron (white form), 12 July 2017, Savoy, Champaign County (2017-029)
  • Say’s Phoebe, 7 August 2017, Cape Bend wetlands, Alexander County (2017-034)

A Distant Eagle Primer

Golden Eagles (like this juvenile) have wings that pinch in to the body with bulging secondaries that taper to the hands

As November rolls in, many Illinois birders shift their focus to a shorter list of target species. The majority of migrants have left the state for the winter, but some are still moving

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Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Map

IOS has created a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) map so you can easily find count circles near you. Click on each circle to find the date of the count and contact information. If you have updates for a count, use the Contact Us form and direct your message to “Christmas Bird Counts.”


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Rare Bird Alert – 31-Oct-2017

Glossy/White-faced Ibis by Suzanne Bidgood

Glossy/White-faced Ibis: McHenry (North) – Up to nine dark ibis were present at Glacial Park Conservation Area in McHenry County for several weeks in October. Only one, perhaps two individuals have been positively identified as White-faced Ibis.

Glossy/White-faced Ibis: Cook (North) – On October 21st, Josh Engel found a

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From the Archives: Illinois’ First (and Still Only) Hepatic Tanager

A shorter version of this account was published in the Spring 1982 edition of the Illinois Audubon Bulletin.

Exotic birds? Unusual birds? Probably none so unusual ever crossed our path as the one that appeared in our midst on November 23, 1981.

“Hepatic,” it means “relating to the liver” or, in this case, liver-colored. Not

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IORC Update - 8 October 2017

The Illinois Ornithological Records Committee (IORC) recently concluded evaluation of 20 records of occurrence of rare birds in Illinois, accepting 18 and not accepting two. 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

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2017 Carlyle Lake Pelagic Wrap Up

My First “Pelagic” Trip

“I’m not talkin’ ’bout pleasure boatin’ or day sailin’. I’m talkin’ ’bout workin’ for a livin’. I’m talkin’ ’bout sharkin‘ (pelagic birdin’)!” – Quint, Jaws (1975).

There’s few occasions where I’ve birded sunup to sundown. In fact, the only one I can think of was my first Christmas Bird Count last

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IOS Shorebirding Weekend Recap

On August 19 and 20, more than fifty birders joined IOS for an excellent weekend of birding in central Illinois. The weather was perfect, the camaraderie even better, and birds were abundant.

Birders Gather for the Day by Tyler Funk

Everyone gathered at the Holiday Inn Express in Pekin, home base for the weekend,

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