Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Another Emiquon Visit

I drove down to Emiquon on Thursday. The weather is supposed to turn hot again, and I wanted to get down their while it was still mild. I'd been looking at Google maps of the area and was curious about Forgotten Road. I drove part way down that road before parking and walking. As I walked along the road I flushed 10 or 20 herons and egrets from mud puddles left after the flood. I didn't see any shore birds with the herons. The road ends at a parking area for hunting. I walked into the wooded area on the former road.

An Eastern Kingbird flew from his perch on a wire.
EKingbirdFlight080062009JGWardIMG_7212

Honey Bees were busy in the milkweed.
HoneyBeeMilkweedEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7223

Wood Sage was blooming on the side of the road.
WoodSageEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7228

As I drove along Dickson Mounds road, I spotted what I thought was a Snowy Egret preening his wing feathers. It turns out it is a juvenile Little Blue Heron. When I stopped the car to photograph him, the heron froze absolutely still with his wing in the position it had been in when preening, his eye staring straight into my camera lens.
SnowyEgret-frozen-08062009JGWardIMG_7259

I stopped at a pull-off by the levee surrounding the National Wildlife Refuge Wilder tract. I knew if I walked the five miles around the tract I might see some remarkable shore birds, but that seemed entirely too far to me, so I contented myself with walking along the levee that runs parallel with the road.

A Common Buckeye butterfly spread his wings on the mud.
CommonBuckeyButterfly08062009JGWardIMG_7278

What looks to me like Arrowleaf Plantain was growing in the shallow water, which seems like a good sign for a wetland.
ArrowleafPlaintainEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7279

While hundreds of egrets and herons flew around far out in the field, a half dozen Great Egrets and one Snowy Egret were feeding in the waters near the levee. I was able to take a few photos before they flushed.
GreatEgretEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7289

SnowyEgretEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7292

One Black-necked Stilt flushed as I walked past.
Black-necedStiltEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7294

Three juvenile Gadwalls were swimming near the levee.
JuvGadwallEmiquonRefuge08062009JGWardIMG_7305

As I walked back to the car, I noticed some really bright yellow Flannel Mullein. When I got closer I saw that a pair of male Goldfinches were sitting atop two mulleins, like tree-top ornaments.
GoldfinchesEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7332

Numerous dragonflies were patrolling the area. Not many stopped for photos though. I did get photos of a male Common Whitetail and female Widow Skimmer.
CommonWhitetailDragonflyEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7339

WidowSkimmerDragonflyEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7345

My next stop was at the south levee around Thompson Lake. I parked and walked a ways. Many egrets were far out on the southern end of the lake. A small flock of Pelicans flew over.
PelicansEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7417

A pair of goldfinches were feeding near the gate. I photographed the female. The male kept hiding behind leaves.
FemaleGoldfinchEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7489

Several Double-crested Cormorants flew over.DoubleCrestedCormorantEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7443

I next drove Prairie Road to get a look at the prairie flowers now in bloom.
PrairieRoadEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7569

EmiquonRidge08062009JGWardIMG_7674

Yellow Cone Flower
YellowConeflowerEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7589

Small White Asters
WhiteAsterEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7592

Tickseed Sunflower
TickseedSunflowerEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7595

Possibly Porcupine Grass
PorcupineGrassEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7603

Blue Vervain
BlueVervainEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7619

Strange Insect on Cup Flower
BeetleEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7632

Cup Plant
CupFlowerEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7660

CupFlowerEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7610

Queen Anne's Lace
QueenAnnesLaceEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7678

On my way home, I drove along Clark Road, where I found the biggest treat of all, a dozen Cattle Egrets were following a small herd of cattle in a narrow pasture at the base of the bluff on the west side of the road!
CattleEgretsCattleEmiquonClarkRd08062009JGWardIMG_7692
CattleEgretsCattleEmiquonClarkRd08062009JGWardIMG_7708
CattleEgretsCattleEmiquon08062009JGWardIMG_7723

1 comment:

ilovecats said...

This is the first time I saw your blog and I love the photos, especially the one of the bug and the egrets with cattle.