Lake Cook Audubon Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society
Birding and Related Field Trips
See you in August!

Our 2015 - 2016 Field Trip Schedule is now complete.  The 2016 - 2017 schedule may be published some time in August, 2016. More effective than "checking back here" for updates, we recommend you sign up for our field trip and program email announcements. We will send you a notice when the new schedule is published. If you join Illinois Audubon Society and the Lake Cook Chapter, you will also be mailed a printed schedule, our bi-annual printed newsletter and receive Illinois Audubon magazine.

 2015 - 2016 Field Trip Schedule

Unless otherwise noted, there is no charge for participation. Some trips have participation limits with prior registration required and are identified as such. You do not have to be a member of Illinois Audubon Society or the Lake Cook Chapter to participate in our events. Good deal, huh? If you like our field trip programming, here are ways to support our organization.

Learn about membership in the Lake Cook Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society here.

If you wish to be notified about upcoming field trips and programs please register to receive email updates. Please leave your pet at home.
2015 - 2016 Completed Field Trips

Following is a list of field trips already held.

Waukegan BeachSaturday, September 12, 2015  7:00 AM
Waukegan Beach & Pines

We’ll check Waukegan Beach for shorebirds, then look for migrating passerines. 

From I-94, exit at Route 120 EAST (Belvidere Rd.), drive to the lake, turn left on Pershing Rd. right on E Clayton, left on Sea Horse Drive, and bear right to beach parking lot.

Leader: Adam Sell (847) 910-7813
Sunday, September 27, 2015   7:00 AMLake Cook Audubon field trip at Illinois Beach State Park North Unit IBSP
Illinois Beach State Park - North Unit
Zion, Illinois

Great place to see fall sparrows and other species heading south.

From I-94, exit east at Route 120, turn north on Green Bay, then east on Route 173, north on Sheridan Rd., and east on 17th Street. Bear left after Sand Pond and drive to the last parking lot. (Map)

Leader: Beau Schaefer 847-265-9067
September 25 - 27 2015Trutter Center - Lincoln Land Community College
Illinois Audubon Society Fall Gathering and
117th Annual Members Meeting
Trutter Center
Lincoln Land Community College
Springfield, Illinois

Join your Illinois Audubon Society for its annual fall gathering featuring regional field trips together with information sessions about your Society. Meet IAS members from around Illinois and learn what your IAS is doing to advance its mission of conservation.
    For additional information contact Illinois Audubon Society

    Saturday, October 3, 2015   7:00 AMLake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Montrose Bird Sanctuary
    Montrose Harbor/Magic Hedge
    Chicago, Illinois

    Late warblers, early sparrows, shorebirds, oh my!    

    From Lake Shore Dr. take the Montrose Ave. exit east, turn right at the Bait Shop at Montrose Harbor Dr., and park along the bend in the road) (Map)

    Leader: Rena Cohen 847-971-1107

    Sunday, October 11, 2015   7:00 AMCuba Marsh - image compliments of LCFPD
    Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve
    Barrington, Illinois

    Search marsh, woodland and grassland habitat for lingering fall migrants.

    Take Lake Cook Rd. west, turn north on Ela Rd. and west on Cuba Road to preserve.

    Leader: Richard Bisbee 847-917-7665
    FIELD TRIP      

    Sunday, October 18, 2015   7:30 AM
    Middlefork Savanna
    Lake Forest, Illinois

    Savanna, wetlands, woodlands and prairie yield birdlife from Ruby-crowned Kinglets to Sandhill Cranes.

    Learn more about birding at Middlefork Savanna

    From Rt. 60, take Rt. 43 north to the traffic light at Westmoreland Dr./Middlefork Dr. Turn left to the end of Middlefork and turn left into the parking lot. 

    Registration is required by writing

    Leader: Richard Bisbee (847) 917-7665
    Saturday - Sunday, October 31 - November 1, 2015   OVERNIGHTERLake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
    Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
    Horicon, Wisconsin

    36 hours at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, one of Wisconsin’s top birding sites and a waterfowl wonderland.

    Horicon National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to provide an undisturbed sanctuary for a number of migratory birds and waterfowl including the redhead duck as well as to provide opportunities for people to connect with nature through many wildlife dependent recreational activities such as wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation, fishing and hunting. Learn more about Horicon Marsh.

    This field trip has a $10 fee for Lake Cook Audubon members and $20 for non-members. There is a registration limit.
    To register (required): email
    Saturday, November 14, 2015  9 AM to 8 PM  Lake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area        
    Sandhill Cranes in Indiana

    All-day trip with several birding stops on the way to Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area to see the spectacle of up to 10,000 Sandhill Cranes staging to migrate.

    We’ll stop for dinner on the way home.

    Carpool advised.

    Registration required. Email 
    Waterfowl in Lake County (IL) LakesSaturday, November 21, 2015  7:30 AM  CANCELED
    Lake County Lakes

    Multi-stop driving trip to find migrating fall waterfowl.

    (Note: This field trip was re-scheduled. It was originally scheduled for 11/7 but the birds have not yet arrived in quantity in our area.)

    Meet at Heritage Lake/Century Park, 1001 Lakeview Pkwy, Vernon Hills. Bring spotting scopes if you have them. Take Route 60 to Lakeview Pkwy between Milwaukee and Butterfield; turn north on Lakeview; driveway is just south of a church.

    Leader: Jeff Sanders 847-657-6431
    Blandings TurtlesINDOOR FIELD TRIP   (Registration Closed - Fully subscribed)

    Saturday, January 23, 2016        10:00 AM
    Notebaert Museum Indoor Field Trip

    Chicago, Illinois

    Blanding's Turtles and more – see Program listing for this date and event.

    Pre-registration for this Field Trip is required and closes (or has closed) December 15, 2015.

    Date To Be Determined
    Winter Specialty  Birding Trip

    We will opportunistically schedule  around both weather and sightings to look for winter speciality birds such as Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks and Rough-legged Hawks.

    This field trip will be short notice by email, Facebook and Twitter with dates and details. If you are not already on our email contact list you can sign up here.

    This field trip was taken on February 6, 2016:

    Saturday, February 6
    Prairie Falcon All-Day Trip
    Coles County, Illinois

    Two Prairie Falcons have been hanging out in Coles County, south of Champaign, since December. This is an unusual species for Illinois but has shown up in the same area for the past few winters.

    A local birder familiar with the area has agreed to provide guiding services to search for these birds as well as Great-horned Owls, Eastern Screech Owls, Lapland Longspurs, Merlin, Kestrel, Rough-legged Hawk and assorted ducks and swans.

    The group will meet at midday, allowing time for the 3-1/2 hour drive, and bird until dusk when the Prairie Falcons usually come home to roost.

    Saturday, February 13, 2016  (Registration is Closed - Fully subscribed)Gull Frolic at Winthrop Harbor, Illinois
    Gull Frolic
    Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club
    Winthrop Harbor, Illinois

    This annual event is produced by the Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS).
    Attendance is limited due to space. Priority registration is given to IOS members. Lake Cook Audubon email subscribers will be notified when public registration is available.

    Learn more about the Gull Frolic

    Common Loon  Diamond Lake Mundelein, Illinois Photo by John MilburnSaturday, March 26, 2016      8:00 AM  (No Limits. No RSVP necessary.)
    Loons of Lake County
    Starts in Mundelein, Illinois

    Our annual search for migrating loons and other waterfowl will begin at Diamond Lake in Mundelein and proceed to other lakes in the area. This is mostly a car driving field trip and not much walking.  Bring a spotting scope if you have one.


    From Rt. 22, take Rt. 83 north to Diamond Lake Rd., turn right (east), and drive ½ mile to the parking lot on the right. (Map)

    Leader: Jeff Sanders (847) 657-6431
    Lake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Air Station Prairie Glenview Illinois

    Saturday, April 9, 2016                       
    3 pm-8 pm
    Waterfowl, Woodcocks & Dinner
    Lake Glenview & Environs
    Glenview, Illinois 

    Afternoon birding, dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, and American Woodcock watching at Air Station Prairie at dusk.

    We'll start at Lake Glenview for lingering waterfowl followed by a bit of nearby land-birding, grab a group dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, and finish at Air Station Prairie to hear (and maybe see) American Woodcocks doing their mating display at dusk. Ticks in residence at Air Station Prairie: dress appropriately.

    Meet at Glenview Park District’s Park Center, 2400 Chestnut Avenue, Glenview (turn east from Patriot Boulevard). Park in the southeast corner.  (Map)

    Leader: Ethan Ellis (contact Rena Cohen 847-971-1107 with questions)

    Experienced and beginner birders enjoy early spring birding at Fort Sheridan Forest PreservesSunday April 24, 2016     8:00 AM
    Beginners Birding
    Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve Highwood, Illinois  MAP

    Bring your binoculars for a Birding 101 lesson and walk at this site just north of downtown Highwood on Lake Michigan. Experienced birders will help find and identify birds with you. No prior birding experience is necessary.

    This is a moderate walk along some asphalt, bark and grass trails. Some trails are wheelchair accessible. Access to the lake shore is closed in 2016 during coastal habitat restoration.

    While children are welcome, this walk is best enjoyed by those who are old enough to use binoculars.

    Please bring binoculars. None will be provided. Wear appropriate trail footwear. Some trails are expected to be wet and muddy.

    Learn more about Fort Sheridan.


    Take Sheridan Rd. north of Highwood to Old Elm Rd/Simonds Way, enter on Simonds Way, turn left on Leonard Wood Drive North, then left on Gilgare Lane to parking area. 

    Notice: Please observe parking regulations or you will be ticketed.

    Leaders: Sonny and Rena Cohen 847-971-1107
    Illinois Audubon Society

    IAS  Spring Gathering Weekend
    Friday, April 29 - Sunday, May 1, 2016
    Illinois Audubon Society Spring Gathering
    Springfield, Illinois

    A gathering of your Illinois Audubon Society with other members and friends from throughout the state. Network with conservationists, environmentalists and birders. This year’s event will be in and around Springfield, Illinois. Details can be found in the Illinois Audubon Magazine sent to members or at the Illinois Audubon website. Members and non-members alike are invited to this birding, social and organizational weekend
    Lake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Crabtree Nature CenterThursday, May 5, 2016       8:00 AM 

    Crabtree Nature Center
    Barrington Hills, Illinois

    Spring should be springing with the first wave of landbird migrants.

    Follow Willow Rd./Palatine Rd. west, turn north into preserve (Stover Rd.) one mile west of Barrington Rd.

    Learn more about Crabtree Nature Center.

    Leader: Bonnie Duman (847) 542-4468
    Saturday, May 7, 2016State of Illinois Spring Bird Count
    State of Illinois Spring Bird Count

    The Spring Bird Count, initiated in 1972, is conducted in almost every county in Illinois on the weekend that falls between May 4 and May 10. Volunteers are invited to help with this state-wide project. Learn more about the history and purpose of this activity.

    For Lake County assignments contact Joel Greenberg: (630) 725-6660
    For Cook County assignments contact Alan Anderson: (847) 390-7437 or
    Sunday, May 8, 2016         7:00 AMLake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary  
    Montrose Harbor/Magic Hedge
    Chicago, Illinois

    Spring migration is in full swing – warblers await! Yes, it's Mother's Day. A great way to start the day.

    From Lake Shore Dr. take the Montrose Ave. exit east, turn right (east) at the Bait Shop (Montrose Harbor Dr.) and park along the bend in the road.

    Leader: Rena Cohen 847-971-1107 .
    Tuesday, May 10, 2016    6:45 AM AND 7:15 AM  (REGISTRATION REQ'D)Lake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Ryerson Woods Forest preserve
    Ryerson Woods
    Riverwoods, Illinois

    Warbler spectacle! To get everyone on the birds, we will have a staggered start time. Registration is required to manage the group size.

    From Deerfield Rd., turn north on Riverwoods Rd., and turn into the Ryerson entrance on the left. Follow the signs to the Welcome Center parking lot.

    To register (required) email
    Thursday, May 12, 2016    6:30 AMLake Cook Audubon birding field trip at The Grove, Glenview Illinois
    The Grove
    Glenview,  Illinois (Map)

    A favorite suburban spring migration stop.

    East side of Milwaukee Ave., just south of Lake St. Meet in west parking lot by Redfield Estate.

    Leaders: Dan and Irene Weinman 847-707-2299
    Lake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Palos, Illinois
    Saturday May 14, 2016
           7:00 AM

    Palos & Southwest Cook County
    Palos, Illinois

    Half-day multi-stop trip to look for migrants and specialties like Pileated Woodpecker, Summer Tanager, Hooded & Kentucky Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrush.

    Meet at McLaughry Springs in Palos Hills (exit I-55 at LaGrange Rd/US 45; drive south to 83; turn east on 83, then south on Kean Ave. to entrance.

    Leader: Wes Serafin 708-997-4825
    Wednesday, May 18, 2016    7:00 AM           Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve - Photo by JanetandPhil from Flickr used with permission under Creative Commons License
    Van Patten Woods
    Wadsworth, Illinois

    An underbirded migrant hotspot in Lake County.

    Preserve is located on north side of Rte. 173 just east of Highway 41. 

    Leader: Jeff Sanders 847-657-6431 
    Sora Rail photo by Ellen Smatlak at McHenry DamSunday, May 22, 2016   8:00 AM  (Gates Open at 8 AM)
    McHenry Dam
    McHenry, Illinois

    Search for migrants and nesting species like Prothonotary, Yellow-throated and Pine Warblers.

    From I-294, exit Rt. 176 and go west 17 miles to River Rd. Turn north, drive 2.5 miles to McHenry Dam entrance, meet at south end of parking lot.

    Leaders: Mark and Lorraine Fritzmann 815-382-0055
    Saturday, May 28, 2016       4:00 PM to 9 PMLake Cook Audubon birding field trip at Illinois Beach State Park South Unit
    Illinois Beach State Park South Unit & Whip-poor-wills
    Zion, Illinois

    BYO picnic dinner, and go Whip-poor-willing after dark.

    Take I-41 north toward Wisconsin, turn east on Wadsworth Rd., and drive 2 miles past Sheridan Rd. into the park. Park at the Nature Center parking lot.

    Leader: Rena Cohen 847-971-1107

    Sunday, June 5, 2016   8:00 AMRock Cut State Park photo by CheepShot from Flickr used with permission under creative commons license   
    Rock Cut State Park
    Rockford, Illinois

    Bird Rock Cut and environs for Blue-winged Warblers, Alder / Acadian / Yellow-bellied / Olive-sided Flycatchers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, White-eyed Vireos, Grasshopper Sparrows, possible Mississippi Kites & more.

    This will be a walking field trip. Please be prepared with water and insect repellent.

    Exit I-90 at IL 173 west; drive less than ½ mile to NORTH park entrance. After entering the north entrance, you will pass through the prairie and come to a stop sign.  Continue straight.  The road will make several twists and turns through the forest and then pass over the dam at Pierce Lake. After crossing the dam, you will come to a large picnic area with bathrooms and lots of parking.  Park in the spaces across from the bathrooms by the white pines. (Map)

    Leader:Rena Cohen 847-971-1107