Monday, 23 March 2015

Birding Illinois USA

I have just returned from a five day trip into the United States.  Most of the trip was spent visiting friends in Illinois, but I also managed to visit several birding hotspots, mainly lock and dam 13, a bald eagle hotspot in winter and early spring.  My ebird list is available here.

Before the visit to the locks, I got a chance to take a walk in a natural area in the town of Peoria Illinois.  I added tufted titmouse to my list.  I'm kind of embarrassed that it's taken me this long to add a species that is quite common in North America.  For some reason they just are not a common occurrence in Perth County, Ontario where I live.

Two days later, I managed to visit the Lock and Dam 13 on the Illinois-Iowa border of the Mississippi River

The view of the locks from the Illinois side of the river.

A friend who was with us, got some excellent pictures of the eagles, but I unfortunately I did not think to ask permission for them, so you will have to deal with my binocular-scoped-phone pics.

I was surprised when the first flock of greater white fronted geese flew over.  For about 10 minutes the flocks flew steadily over the Mississippi.  At least 1000 birds flew over in this brief period of time.  I had never seen this species of goose before and it was a real surprise to have these massive flocks to scan.
It's difficult to see, but I took a picture of one of those many flocks.

I also heard the distinctive rumbling call of a sandhill crane, a species that has been recently observed here.

The view of an old windmill not far from the locks.

I ended the trip with 4 more species on my lifelist: bald eagle, tufted titmouse, greater-white fronts and sandhill crane.  The eagles and cranes can hardly be considered lifers, but I saw these birds a long time ago before I started my lifelist and I feel good having seen them again recently. 

The birding in this area can be amazing if you get the chance to visit the area.  In the winter, the bald eagles congregate on the open water around the dams in the hundreds.

I missed seeing the canvasbacks which were also apparently around during the time I was there.  I have been trying to add cans to my life list for a long time.  They are not very common in my area of Ontario.  I had considered trying to find them along the St Clair river where they have been commonly reported in the winter, but by the time we had crossed into Canada, I was tired and ready to get home.

This warmer spring weather continues to bring in new migrants.  Good luck birding.

No comments:

Post a Comment