Friday morning I visited Allerton Park in Piatt County, Illinois. The 1500-acre woodland, garden, meadow, and prairie landscape that surrounds the Allerton Mansion was once the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton. Named “The Farms,” the estate was the center of the 12,000-acre Illinois agricultural enterprise acquired during the latter half of the 1800s by Robert’s father Samuel. In 1946, Robert Allerton gave his beautiful Illinois estate to the University of Illinois for use as “an educational and research center, as a forest and wild-life and plant-life reserve, as an example of landscape architecture, and as a public park.”
I visited the park on Friday, March 21. Clouds were building up and I knew it would rain soon, but I walked the path to the river bottom and found the bottom land to be full of birds: Five Chickadees, four Nuthatches, three or four Brown Creepers, one Eastern Phoebe, one Fox Sparrow, six Cardinals, two Blue Jays, three Crows, one Great Blue Heron, three Turkey Vultures, five Red-headed Woodpeckers, three Red-bellied Woodpeckers, four Downy Woodpeckers, and at least eight Robins. The sky grew increasingly dark while I was there, making photographs difficult. I was able to crop some soft photos of some of the smaller birds.