Spring birding weeknd: Great birds, friends and scenery

The IOS Spring Birding Weekend (May 15 – 17) was a terrific weekend of birding on the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois. The event was planned and organized by Urs Geiser using the Chestnut Mountain Resort for accommodations.

For the field trips we split into groups and birded  Lost Mound Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Spring Lake, Ayers Sand Prairie, Thompson Causeway and Lock & Dam 13. We birded the grounds of the Chestnut Mountain Resort and watched nighthawks from the back deck. We birded along roadsides and even checked for warblers in a pine stand at a trailer dump station. (It wouldn’t be a real birding trip without a dump or sewage pond would it?) Bugs? Not too many. Rain? A few showers. But mostly it was dry and birdy.

A preliminary tally puts us at 150 species of birds for the weekend including some real treats like Brewster’s Warbler, Cerulean Warblers, Kentucky Warbler, Yellow-throated Warblers, Blue Grosbeaks, Eastern Whip-poor-wills, a singing Winter Wren,  and at least three endangered species including Loggerhead Shrike, Yellow-headed Blackbird and Common Gallinule. We were serenaded on and off all day to migrant and nesting warblers as well as Baltimore and Orchard Orioles and other species. We relished every look at the magnificent American White Pelicans gliding overhead and Bald Eagles soaring or perched in trees.

We particularly want to thank Urs Geiser for all the work of planning and organizing the weekend, The stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge for escorting and leading our groups into the restricted portion of the Lost Mound Refuge, and Dan Williams, Matt Fraker, Bob Fisher and Urs Geiser for leading field trips.

Special thanks go to all the IOS members who attended and lent their sharp eyes and ears to the group effort as well as sharing their good humor and boundless curiosity and interest in all things natural history.

WE Need Your Help to Fund the 2015 Grant Requests!!

A total of 10 Grant Requests have been received.

Grant awards will be announced April 15th. Some funds have already been received but more contributions are needed so more of the grants can be funded. Any organization or individual may fund all or part of a Grant. Donations can be for any amount. Donors/sponsors will be recognized on the IOS web site.

Funding for the 2015 IOS grants can be provided via PayPal (using either PayPal account or bank card).

Or you can send your check made out to IOS to:


Attention: Denis Bohm

PO Box 931

Lake Forest, IL 60045

IOS field notes compiler featured in

davidjohnsonphotobysheryldevore   Meadowlark editor Sheryl DeVore wrote an article about Field Notes compiler David B. Johnson and his 25 years of leading looney trips in Lake and McHenry Counties for the Chicago Tribune and News-Sun. Take a peek. Dave needs to be praised over and over for all the wonderful work he has done on behalf of birds and birding in Illinois over the years. Thank you Dave! We’re also thrilled that he’s starting to write more articles for Meadowlark. See you all at the annual spring weekend in May. Don’t forget to sign up!

IOS Spring Birding Weekend — May 15–17, 2015

Galena / Northwestern Illinois

Nesting warblers at Mississippi Palisades and other breeding birds with southern affinities at Lost Mound N.W.R. are just a few of the reasons to join us at this year’s spring birding weekend. Songbird migration should still be in full swing in the scenic hills of the driftless

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Rusty Blackbird Blitz, Year two

We’re gearing up for the second year of the Blitz. Nick Sly, IOS Coordinator for the Blitz, posted complete details here on the Illinois Birders Forum website. IOS is proud to be a sponsor of this important project here in Illinois. Mark your calendar and make your plans to get out there between March

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Cerulean Warbler gets help from major grant

A five-year project targeting conservation of the imperiled and iconic Cerulean Warbler and focusing on the states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia got a big boost following the granting of $8 million in funding from the Dept. of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Read more about this exciting project that

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Amar Ayyash: A Birder You Should Know

Amar Ayyash is the man behind the IOS Annual Gull Frolic, which he organized this year and persuaded Birding editor and author Ted Floyd to speak. As you likely know, Amar is “crazy” about gulls, and indeed very knowledgeable about this difficult-to-identify group of birds. In honor of the upcoming Gull Frolic, we

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Jeff Sanders featured in Chicago Tribune article

For at least three days in December and early January over the past 50 years, Jeff Sanders has gone outside in the predawn cold to count birds in and around Chicago.

In 2015, Sanders will celebrate a half-century since he began helping with the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, just a few miles

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Trip Report: Carlyle Lake Pelagic

September 27, 2014

43 birders participated in the annual IOS Carlyle Lake field trip that was held on September 27. The day started very well as a visit to the Dam West Beach just after sunrise yielded a beach full of gulls, mainly Ring-billed, but with a few Franklin’s Gulls sprinkled in as

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14th Annual Gull Frolic

14th Annual Gull Frolic February 14, 2015

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

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