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Chillicothe Christmas Bird Count

January 5, 2008

Photo Gallery 

On a crisp January 5 morning Dennis and Karen covered the Hallock Hallow area of the Chillicothe Count Circle of the 108th annual Christmas Bird Count.  And along the way Dennis took a few photos to capture the flavor of the trip.  With the recent rains following a spat of cold weather, the ice in the Illinois River had started breaking up. 

In the early morning fog, the lighting cast a shade of blue along the Illinois River.  The image to the left was taken just south of Chillicothe. 

A little later in the morning, Dennis and Karen came back to the river a little further south.  By then, the fog had lifted somewhat, but with warming temperatures, the air over the ice was somewhat warmer causing a little distortion. 


In the following image, ring-billed gulls are in the foreground and large group of mallards had the appearance of contiguous mass extending for perhaps 1/2 mile up the river.  With a spotting scope, Dennis counted 25 groups of about 100 mallards each for a total estimate of 2500 mallards in the long group.   

Ring-billed Gull and Distant Mallards

Female Mallard Swimming out of a Cove

While viewing the expanse of mallards, a bald eagle flew up and landed above us in a tree.   

Bald Eagle Overhead

While viewing an expanse of the Illinois River, several bald eagles were resting on the ice.  In the following image Dennis focused his camera on one of the eagles while a barge approached.  Dennis thought the eagle would fly off almost immediately.  But this did not occur. 

In the following sequence of images, the eagle patiently waited on the ice until the barge was almost past, then flew toward the stern area of tugboat.  It appeared that the bald eagles have learned, just as the gulls, the tugs stir up the water and may cause a fish to come closer to the surface to make an easy meal.  Besides, the tug certainly disperses the ice making for a clear "fishing hole."

Bald Eagle Resting on Ice

Barge Passing Bald Eagle on Ice

Bald Eagle Flying Toward the Aft of the Tugboat

Bald Eagle with Gulls Behind Tug

Ring-billed Gull on Ice

In the above image, note the "sharp point" of the ring-billed gulls bill.  This is a perspective not too common.  When viewed from the side, the bill on the same gull has a much wider appearance.  See below.

Ring-billed Gull on ice

Later in the afternoon, Dennis and Karen watched a flock of about 50 american tree sparrows feeding in the grass and snow. 

American Tree Sparrows at Three Sisters Park

American Tree Sparrows at Three Sisters Park


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