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Birding the Illinois River - August 2012

Photo Gallery:

Field Trip with Peoria Park District: 08-Aug-2012                 

Mike Miller of the Peoria Park District teamed up with Maury Brucker, Conservation Chair of Peoria Audubon Society, to organize and host a birding trip along prime backwater sites of the Illinois River south of Peoria.  This trip has become an annual Spring and Fall event to showcase all the migration and abundance of waterfowl in Central Illinois.  The Peoria Park District provided transportation in two 15-passenger vans along with food and drinks for a day of birding. 

The timing of the August trip was chosen to match the southern migration of shorebirds and the earlier fall migrants.  In order to maximize the opportunity to view ducks and geese, Maury and Mike scouted the area the Friday before.  This year, the three main areas we visited were Spring Lake; the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge, and the Emiquon Restoration.  

Mute Swans at Spring Lake  (Larger Image)

First up was a stop at Spring Lake, as we crossed Spring Lake, there were several Mute Swans.  

Mute Swans at Spring Lake (Larger Image)

In the above image, many of the Mute Swans were resting near a launching ramp/parking area at Spring Lake.


Migrating Purple Martins at Spring Lake (Larger Image)

In the fall, swallows and Purple Martins gather in large flocks for their migration southward.  In the above image, male and female Purple Martins are resting on the wires.  One of the estimates was that about 600 were perched on the wires at this one location. 

Bank Swallow on Highline Wire

A Bank Swallow was spotted among the others perched on the wires.  Notice the white chin and dark brown breast band which are some of its field marks.  Note the very small size of this bird as it perches on the copper electrical wires

Great-horned Owl by Spring Lake (Larger Image)

As we drove past Spring Lake, we spotted a Great-horned Owl perched on one of the electrical poles.  Note how large the bird is. 

American White Pelicans at Chautauqua (Larger Image)

There were a few hundred American White Pelicans flocking at teh Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge.  The above group was viewed from the cross-dike at the site. 

Black-necked Stilts & Snowy Egrets at Emiquon (Larger Image)

At the Emiquon Preserve, which is one of the largest floodplain restoration projects in the US, there were several Snowy Egrets and Black-necked Stilts. 

Snowy Egrets and Black-necked Stilts at Emiquon (Larger Image)

According to our field guides, the Black-necked Stilts have one of the longest leg to body length ratios of any bird; second only to the Flamingos. 

Great Egret at Emiquon

A Great Egret was spotted at the Emiquon Preserve

The Peoria Audubon Society wishes to thank the Peoria Park District and its personnel for helping to put on this field trip.  It was a great use of local resources to showcase the wildlife along the back-water lakes south of Peoria along the Illinois River.    

Photos courtesy of Dennis Endicott - All rights reserved

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