Rock Cut State Park – Introduction

One of my favorite places to bird is Rock Cut State Park, located in Winnebago County in Illinois.  The park is not huge but it is nestled in an area that is increasingly getting more “developed” and is a great place to go to get away from all the traffic and bustle of the city.  For a long time I was avoiding Rock Cut because it has a tendency to get crowded with people, mostly bicyclists and fishermen and sometimes loud, unruly people that distract from the naturalness.

However, in the last few years I have found great places to get away from this and have had awesome birding times.  Rock Cut compares only to Horicon Marsh in local places where I have had tons of life birds.  I have tallied some 17 species of ducks, countless warblers including some rarer ones like Cerulean and Yellow-throated and just recently we’ve spotted a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on separate occasions.

My most recent outing to Rock Cut yielded few birds but it is always a joy to get out there.  We only saw Mallards, Canada Goose, and American Coot on the lake which is about 90% frozen.  Especially in the late winter, when the lake is still partially frozen (February to March) there can be tons of ducks out on the lake.  Various gulls and sometimes Scoters have made their way to the lake as well as Common Loon.

This is a mass of Canada Geese, Mallards, and about five Coots.

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