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White Pelicans at Duck Island Aug. 2007

Local Birding

Duck Island (Part of Rice Lake)

Directions From the Interstate 474-Highway 24 interchange in Bartonville, go about 24 miles south on Highway 24 until you pass the main entrance to Rice Lake. Continue south of Highway 24 for another three miles, watching for a "Duck Island." sign. Turn east on Duck Creek Road.

Public access is available and posted even though a some gravel mining continues. Road entrance is south of Rice Lake entrance and marked with a sign.

Note: In fall 2001, the Department of Natural Resources acquired this property. You are no longer required to pay an admission fee. Although the state now owns this area, the gravel mining will continue for some time.

Location (although incorrectly shown as private property as of February 2005) is shown on the Illinois DNR Rice Lake site map.

Coord. Lat.= 40.4617064 Long.=89.9337249

Click for Google Map to Duck Island

eBird: Birding Hotspot Map

Description Duck Island is a good spot and can be birded by car.  The short drive is through bottomland forest. There are good views of the south end of Rice Lake. The large gravel pits have deeper water and small islands which are good for migrating waterfowl and some unusual birds have shown up on the deep water.

Rough, unpaved roads provide access to a variety of gravel pits that now act as deepwater lakes. There is usually open water in the Duck Island Lakes long after other lakes have frozen.

Duck Island is situated between Rice Lake and Big Lake (described on the Rice Lake page in this web site), so it also provides different view of those areas. Duck Island also contains some weedy areas with tall vegetation that attract sparrows.

Suggested Route/Stops Drive the main roads and look out over the lakes. The brushy areas at the north end of the island are where the Eurasian Tree Sparrows are most commonly found.
Commonly Seen Birds Spring/Fall -- Diving ducks, large numbers of gulls and terns. Large numbers of vultures.

Winter -- Diving ducks and mergansers often remain after departing other sites in Central Illinois.

Specialties This is the best area in Central Illinois to find Eurasian Tree Sparrows. Over the years numerous rarities have been found here including Western Grebe, White Ibis, White-faced Ibis, Laughing Gull, Ruff, Black-necked Stilt, Willet, Snowy Plover and more.
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