Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at

Prairie State Outdoors Categories

Top Story :: Opinion :: Illinois Outdoor News :: Fishing News :: Hunting News :: Birding News :: Nature Stories :: Miscellaneous News :: Fishing :: Big Fish Fridays :: Big Fish Stories :: State Fishing Reports :: Other Fishing Reports :: Fishing Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Fish :: Fishing Calendar :: Hunting :: Hunting Reports :: Hunting Tips, Tactics & Tales :: Where to Hunt :: Tales from the Timber :: Turkey Tales :: Hunting Calendar :: Big Game Stories :: Nature and Birding :: Birding Bits :: Nature Newsbits :: Critter Corner :: Birding Calendar :: Stargazing :: In the Wild :: Miscellaneous Reports and Shorts :: Links :: Hunting Links :: Birding Links :: Video ::

Big Buck Stories

1960s :: 1980s :: 1991-92 :: 1992-93 :: 1993-94 :: 1994-95 :: 1995-96 :: 1997-98 :: 1998-99 :: 1999-2000 :: 2000-01 :: 2001-02 :: 2003-04 :: 2004-05 :: 2005-06 :: 2006-07 :: 2007-08 :: 2008-09 :: 2009-10 :: 2010-11 :: 2011-12 :: 2012-13 ::


Flathead's Picture of the Week :: Big bucks :: Birdwatching :: Cougars :: Dogs :: Critters :: Fishing :: Asian carp :: Bass :: Catfish :: Crappie :: Ice :: Muskie :: Humor :: Hunting :: Deer :: Ducks :: Geese :: Turkey :: Upland game :: Misc. :: Mushrooms :: Open Blog Thursday :: Picture A Day 2010 :: Plants and trees :: Politics :: Prairie :: Scattershooting :: Tales from the Trail Cams :: Wild Things ::


H. David Bohlen photographed the roseate spoonbill during its brief stop at Lake Springfield.

Roseate spoonbill stops at Lake Springfield

December 05, 2013 at 12:42 PM

The State Journal-Register

After an early cold snap, warm winds blew up from the south, moderating temperatures in central Illinois over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Those winds may have brought a rare visitor along for the ride.

On Nov. 29, Susan Hargrove and her husband Tim were birding at Lake Springfield when a large pink bird flew by.

The couple only got a glimpse, but as they started searching, they found H. David Bohlen, assistant curator of zoology at the Illinois State Museum. He also was observing birds at the lake.

They told Bohlen they thought they saw a roseate spoonbill.

The spoonbill is a tropical bird with pink plumage and a large spoon-shaped bill that breeds in south Florida and along the Gulf Coast of Texas.

“We were sure, but not 100 percent sure,” said Sue Hargrove, a biologist with the Illinois Department of Transportation. “Dave was justifiably skeptical.”

Sightings of the roseate spoonbill are fairly rare in Illinois. In 2003 and 2009, birders spotted them along U.S. 51 near Vandalia.

Hargrove said the trio got out the Sibley Guide to Birds and started looking up large wading birds.

“Tim got a glimpse of the beak,” she said. “But I only saw it from behind.”

Bohlen speculated the bird might be headed for a location near City Water Light and Power’s power plant.

Because Bohlen has been studying birds in Sangamon County for years, he has special permission to access some parts of CWLP property near Spaulding Dam. Bohlen’s hunch was right. He found the bird and snapped a picture during its brief stopover.

“We were fortunate to run into Dave Bohlen, and he tracked it down and photographed it,” Hargrove said.

It hasn’t been seen since, despite Bohlen’s best efforts to find it.

The arrival of the spoonbill is a birding trifecta of sorts.

“This is probably the farthest north it has been found in Illinois, the first Sangamon County record, and the latest one in the state,” Bohlen said.

Before the 2003 sighting by birder Travis Mahan, there had been no records in modern times.

There is a record of a roseate spoonbill found in an American Indian burial mound, but it is unclear if it was a local bird or if it was brought here in trade, Bohlen said.

The Thanksgiving weekend bird likely was a young bird.

“I think, like any other heron, there was a post-breeding dispersal,” he said. “It was a juvenile bird because it still had white feathers on its head. Adults lose those feathers.”

The spoonbill likely had a tail wind.

“There was a southerly flow of air,” Bohlen said. “It just came up on that.”

However the bird got here, it surprised even the unflappable Bohlen.

“It was totally unexpected,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense.”

Hargrove said she and her husband received a message later from an excited Bohlen.

“I found the bird. It’s a roseate spoonbill. And I got pictures,” he said on the voicemail.

Bohlen has seen a lot of birds, plenty of them rare. But Hargrove said it was clear he was excited.

“He was bubbling over as only Dave can bubble over.”

Contact Chris Young at 341-8487 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow him at

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Comment Area Pool Rules

  1. Read our Terms of Service.
  2. You must be a member. :: Register here :: Log In
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Stay on topic.
  5. Be civil, honest and accurate.
  6. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Log In

Register as a new member

Next entry: Audubon Christmas Bird Counts start Dec. 14

Previous entry: Unusual number of Arctic snowy owls seen in US

Log Out

RSS & Atom Feeds

Prairie State Outdoors
PSO on Facebook
Promote Your Page Too

News Archives

February 2020
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Copyright © 2007-2014 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Some Rights Reserved
Original content available for non-commercial use
under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.
Creative Commons