Local Birding

Photo Galleries

Bird Sightings

Bird Counts

Conservation News

Sanctuary News

Favorite Links

About PAS

Contact Us

Become Member



Oak Bluff Savanna

Photo Gallery

Field Trip with Peoria Audubon Board: May 5, 2015 

In early spring , Trustees of the Peoria Audubon Society took a field trip to the Oak Bluff Savanna, located about 4 miles west of Henry, Illinois to experience the biodiversity led by the owner: Maury Brucker and Emiko Yang.  At the time of this field  trip, Maury and Emiko were pondering transfer of ownership of their nature preserve to the Peoria Audubon Society for long-term preservation. 

Maury Brucker pointing out features of the Oak Bluff Savanna

In August 2015, the Peoria Audubon Society, acting as a land trust, accepted the gift of the 22-acre parcel of land in Marshall County as part of its efforts to protect high quality habitat along the Illinois River Bluffs ecological corridor.

This gift of high quality oak woodlands, savanna, and hill prairie included a maintenance endowment for future needs.  It includes the Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve, dedicated as an Illinois State Nature Preserve.  

Oak Bluff Savanna: Registered with Illinois Nature Preserves Commission

This site is registered as a nature preserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission.  Additionally, The Peoria Audubon Society has adopted the standards and practices of the Land Trust Alliance to conserve the Oak Bluff Savanna for future generations.        

Maury pointing out features of the steep hill

In the above image, Maury is showing the small pond that is at the bottom of a very steep hill.

Small Pond Surrounded by Woods

Note the growth of woods, showing a high biodiversity, surrounding the pond.  A restored prairie is in the foreground. 

Closeup of Small Pond

One of the main attributes and benefits of having a nature preserve is to maintain a high level of biodiversity, which keeps nature in balance.  The species rich environment is more resilient and adaptable to the external stresses on it. 

Emiko Gazing onto Frog Pond at Oak Bluff Savanna

Near the entrance of the Oak Bluff, there is a small frog pond.  To promote a high concentration and biodiversity of frogs, the frog pond is believed to be free of fish.  

Vegetation in the Frog Pond

The shallow water and wetland vegetation serve as good habitat for frogs.  

Numerous Green Frogs were Calling at the Frog Pond

At the time of the visit, during their breeding season, a lot of Green Frogs (a mid-size species of frog, 2-4 inch body-length, native to the eastern half of the USA) were calling to establish their territories.  

Board Members Gazing onto the Restored Prairie

During the visit, the board members were introduced to the high biodiversity of the restored high quality native prairie.   Maury and Emiko worked over 20 years preserving and enhancing the quality of the natural features on the site.  Their enhancements include:

  • Hiring a botanist to survey and document the native plants found on the property.  
  • Facilitating a grant from the Midwest Foresters to restore 9 acres of woodlands
  • Received assistance from the State Wildlife Grant system of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, to have a Restoration Ecologist assist in the removal of invasive, non-native plants in the prairie habitats.
  • Restoring 3 acres of former farm ground to a high quality native prairie.

Strolling Through the Prairie

As we continued to drive very slowly along a canal at Spring Lake, we saw a couple of Hooded Mergansers in the distance.  They were too skittish to wait for a calm clear shot.  The above blurred image of the male Hooded Merganser building up speed for flight was the only one that almost came out. 

Woods on the Oak Bluff

This high quality natural area sits on an important migratory flyway for numerous species of neotropical songbirds as they migrate from their breeding habitat in the north to their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

  • Dozens of warbler species can be found in the preserve during spring and fall migration.
  • Resident species such as Eastern Bluebird, Indigo Bunting, and Baltimore Orioles are found nesting on the site.
  • Recent bird surveys show that over 160 species of birds utilize this important natural area; which will be preserved for future generations.

Designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve

As a registered Illinois Nature Preserve, all plants, animals and natural features are protected by law. 

Puccoon Prairie

Among many of the prairie plants are Puccoons.  According to Wikipedia, "Puccoon is a common name that refers to several plants formerly used by certain Native Americans for dyes.  The dyes were made from the plant's roots."  

Ravine at the Oak Bluff Savanna

On behalf of the residents of Central Illinois, Peoria Audubon Society is fortunate to conserve this important habitat for generations to come. 

Photos courtesy of Dennis Endicott - All rights reserved

Home | Calendar | About PAS | Contact Us | Webmaster | Become a Member