Friday, September 07, 2007

Birds of Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge

An American Avocet was foraging along the back edge of a grassy mudflat along with hundreds of pelicans, some gulls, and a few other shorebirds.

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Three juvenile Turkey Vultures were soaring over the North Pool at Chautauqua near the Pelicans on the mudflats. They would swoop down to the surface of the water and then back up, circling around, and beating their wings to gain altitude. I think they were taking something off the surface of the water, but couldn't see anything. A dead pelican was near by but they didn't seem to notice it. They soared in this manner along the dike between Chautauqua and Clear Lake, at the Goofy Ridge Access point.
I thought at first that they were Black Vultures. I had never seen Turkey Vultures behave this way, and I guess I have never seen juveniles up close, so I thought I had Black Vultures, but alas, they were not. I'll keep looking at vultures, in case one or two wander up this far north!
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

American White Pelicans at Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge

Pelicans are migrating through the Illinois River Valley. I went looking for them on Sunday and found large numbers on the North Lake at Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge. To get a good view I had to walk out on the dike to the other side of the lake. It was a long, hot, sunny walk! But I was rewarded with some nice flyover photographs. I noticed another large group of birds across the lake, but I was too tired to go looking for them then. However, I did go back the next day, this time to the Goofy Ridge (yes that is the name of a town!) access point. Hundreds of pelicans were resting or milling around on a large mudflat with some gulls and shore birds.

A couple of American Avocets were in the mix, but I could not photograph them, not with my 400mm lens. They were too far away. A nice gentleman let me view the birds through his scope, so I was able to add this distinctive shore bird to my Life List!

Oh and chiggers got me on both walks! I didn't expect them up on the dikes. I wasn't walking around in tall grass or anything, but the little buggers found me!

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Hundreds of Pelicans were gathered on the mud flats.

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Pelicans flew dirctly over me as I walked out on the dike.

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