This is the part one of six of Birdfreak’s 72-hour birding extravaganza. Our goal was to find as many bird species as possible within Winnebago County, Illinois.
We began our 72-hour birding event at 0330 at Pecatonica Wetlands in the hopes of finding bitterns and rails. We struck out on both families, but we did find a Sedge Wren. Our first official bird, heard along the drive, was an American Robin. The first warbler of the count was the Common Yellowthroat.
Our next stop was a short jaunt through Pecatonica River Forest Preserve where we found Henslow’s Sparrows and Wood Thrushes, but none of the warblers that were present earlier in the week.
Next, we headed to Rock Cut State Park, a wonderful large park with many miles of trails to cover. Here we found the bulk of the first day’s totals including three Blue-winged Warblers, one Yellow-throated Warbler, and a Blackpoll Warbler.
One of our goals here was to find Cerulean Warblers, which nest at the park. Success! At four different locations we saw singing Ceruleans. We also saw three singing Veeries, and a photogenic Chestnut-sided Warbler.
Unfortunately, the camera’s battery died right after the Chestnut-sided Warbler so we went photoless until later in the evening.
After having lunch and checking a few more spots, we headed home for a much needed nap in preparation for the night-time birding activity at Deer Run Forest Preserve.