Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cormorants and Red-tailed Hawk at Emiquon

Hundreds of Double-crested Cormorants were sitting around and swimming in the sloughs on the side of IL 78 at the Emiquon Preserve. All of a sudden they began to leave, filling the sky with their striking silhouettes.


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A Red-tailed Hawk soared over Thompson Levee at Emiquon.

The Nature Conservancy recently burned a large portion of the newly emerging prairie and the ridge on the Northwest side of Emiquon.


Thompson Lake is growing. The area surrounding it is becoming submerged. The wetland is returning!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just Before the Rain at Allerton

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.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Fox Sparrow

Brown Creeper

Red-headed Woodpecker

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Dreaming of Spring

I took this photo with my Nikon CoolPix 995 in April 2006. A Maidenhair Fern with a Bee Fly, at Jubilee State Park. Each year when I hunt Morel mushrooms I find these marvelous ferns. I just found out the name of the fern at my Allerton Corp of Discovery class at the Illinois Natural History Survey. We used some photos their photographer (Michael Jeffords) had taken to learn photographic choices and I recognized the fully grown fern and asked its name. This is a new one, just emerging, with a lovely Bee Fly to form the focal point.

(Click on the Title to link to some information about Maidenhair Ferns.)
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