Well, it looks like citizen alerts to threatened and endangered species are not welcome by the owners of the land near Banner Marsh and Rice Lake Conservation Areas. They have erected a fence with a gate across the road.
It looks like something to keep trespassers out. The fence runs along Rt. 24, stopping at the creeks on both ends. However, still no visible No Trespassing sign.
It runs down to Baker Hollow Creek where it ends.
Here is a look at the creek from the Rt. 24 bridge.
A closer look:
Here is a view of the bridge showing the other side of the highway.
I then tried to drive down Banner Dike Road on the other side of the site, but it was closed for work on a pipeline, unrelated to the coal mine activities. So I went to the adjacent state conservation area, Bell's Landing at Banner Marsh SFWA where I found many swans and some other waterfowl too far out to identify. Hunters were probably in the blinds near by, but I didn't hear any shots.
Two Horned Larks flew in front of my car as I drove towards the levee.
The beaver lodge was quiet on this overcast early December morning.
Then I spotted a Northern Harrier, a marsh hawk, flying low over the grassy areas. Harriers are an endangered species, so finding it close to the mine site is important.
The area where it was flying was approximately 1/2 mile from the proposed mine site. Harriers and Short-eared Owls could very well be hunting that area as well.
On the way out, I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk flying out to a tree in the grasslands of the protected Waterfowl Preserve.
On Sunday I will drive out (no pipeline workers!) and see if I can find any harriers on the mine site!