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Spring Bird Count: May 10, 2008
In support of International Migratory Bird Day, members of the Peoria Audubon Society, went out into the field to take a census of the local bird population in five Illinois counties (Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton, and Mason).
Dennis, humble webmaster for the Peoria Audubon website, assisted Dale Goodner and Allen for the southern half of Peoria County. The objective for the Spring Bird Count is similar to that of the Christmas Bird Count - taking a census of local bird populations, with a minor difference. At Christmas, the count is conducted in a "Count Circle," which is a given radius for the territory. During the Spring Count, key habitats are counted throughout the county.
During the count, Dennis took a few photos when the conditions allowed and the birds were not hiding too much. Feel free to send an email with comments or suggestions.
Great-blue Herons and Great Egrets at Mendenhall Road
In the early morning light, with a slight haze in the distance, the scene of all the great-blue herons in one spot was almost magical. We found perhaps 50 of the great-blues in this one spot.
Dale Goodner Keeping Records of Species (at Mendenhall)
Dale kept the species list and the tally from the count.
Double-crested Cormorants on Tree at Mendenhall Road
Along Mendenhall Road, one of the dead trees had a large number of double-crested cormorants warming and drying themselves in the morning sunshine.
Green Heron at Mendenhall Road
The little green heron, which is usually very shy was in a nearby pool that was photographed from the car as we slowly drove past while leaving Mendenhall Road. Sometimes, a car makes a good blind for taking photos.
Canada Geese and Goslings at Reed City Park (near Mapleton, IL)
Later in the morning, we stopped at the Reed City Park, near Mapleton, intent on picking up a few woodland species. While there, a pair of Canada Geese were moving their new family along the lake.
Mute Swan at Banner Marsh
After the Park, we moved towards the Banner Marsh. Part of the Marsh extended south into Fulton County. An increasing number of mute swans, which are indigenous to Europe and not native to the USA, were making their presence known. The larger, more aggressive non-native swans compete for food and habitat with the native waterfowl.
Canada Goose Keeping Watch from Nest "Box"
Several nesting platforms were available for geese to raise a brood of little ones. One of the geese was peeking from the top at us in the above image.
White-crowned Sparrow at Banner Marsh
Near the levee at Banner Marsh, we walked along a path looking for warblers in the line of trees. Along the way, we found a pair of white-crowned sparrows.
Three White-tailed Deer at Banner Marsh (near Illinois River Levee)
It seemed that deer are were everywhere. The above deer were coming over the levee from the Illinois River. Even though they were perhaps a 1/4 mile or so distant, they were still quite skittish.
Illinois River from Levee at Banner Marsh
View of the Illinois River from the levee.
Tree Swallow in Bluebird Nest Box
Although bluebird houses are put up for bluebirds, tree swallows find them to be just the right size. The swallows are frequent inhabitants for the boxes.
Late in the afternoon, near a pasture southwest of Elmwood, we found the lark sparrow. This was the first lark sparrow Dennis [humble webmaster] had ever seen. According to the field guide, note the dark spot in the middle of the breast and the "bold, harlequin face pattern of rufous, black, and white."
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