By Dave Coulter
Proper winter weather has returned, and there is plenty of evidence that snow birds are back in town. Keep looking up at IBET:
The other small patch of open water had numerous coots and ruddy ducks, all somewhat nervous due to the presence of 44 bald eagles huddled around the edge of the ice, seemingly waiting for the birds to come closer. It was a very interesting scene as at once several eagles would fly over the ducks in unison, flushing the ducks to one side or the other presumably closer to the other edge of open water and near other eagles.
Very large numbers of Starlings, blackbirds and cowbirds are all over the town of Seneca; We didn't stop to look for Brewer's or Rustys mixed in. We headed home via Old Stage Rd east to Morris, along the N side of the river. Interestingly, there were no blackbird flocks at the usual spots we encounter them during this drive. Perhaps they were all in Seneca for the day.
One Short-eared Owl was visible for several minutes late this afternoon hunting gracefully and covering a lot of territory over the open fields at Deer Grove East FP in Palatine. We used to get them in the fields surrounding the Hamilton Reservoir nearby, which is now unfortunately overwhelmed with teasel.
This afternoon about 2:45 we saw 2 adult Bald Eagles in a nest on the Mooseheart property. This is not the man made nest. My partner drives this way daily to work and back and sees at least one several times a week.
After Rainbow Beach we walked around Northerly Island looking for the Snowy Owl, which we found after some searching along the rocks on the east side of the island. The bird was heavily marked and probably a female. The best bird however was an adult male Harlequin Duck feeding about 75 yards offshore at the south end of the beach.
The flocks of Goldeneye were larger then Saturday, there were maybe 60+ in one flock. Just south and west of Kankakee on the country roads there were lots of Horned Larks. Seen a few Eagles, one at the Kankakee dam this afternoon.
The drainage ditch also had one belted kingfisher.