Saturday, January 24, 2009

Baker Hollow Revisited

On our way back from Emiquon on Friday, we stopped at Baker Hollow Creek, which runs down the bluff into the proposed Banner Mine site. This stream is a perennial stream, which means it runs year round. It ends at the wet prairie where I found the threated Decurrent False Asters. It just seeps into the porous ground and disappears into the ground water system.

I found a spot in the sunlight where the ice was melted and the birds were gathering. Goldfinches, Cardinals, and Bluebirds were flying to and fro. What a lovely spot! I watched through my 400 mm lens from the bridge, not being allowed onto the property for a proper look.





Scott is looking at the foot prints of the many animals that cross the snowy path every day. Rabbits, mice, voles, coyotes, raccoons, and more . . . this place is alive!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Emiquon in January

As I drive down IL 78/93 and come around the bend at the top of the bluff, I get my first glimpse of Thompson Lake at Emiquon.

I go a little farther and I see it in its glory: Thompson Lake! A lake which had completely vanished under farm land has been reborn. You can see Prairie Road leading to The Nature Conservancy on the right.

Pumphouse Road runs through the lake now. You need a canoe to cross to the other side when it isn't frozen. Today I supposed I could walk across, but I didn't try that.

I look to the south, and I see Havana's powerplant, steam billowing into the air.

To the north I see frozen lake covered in snow with the bluffs in the distance.

As we drove north on 78, an American Kestrel flew from the wire to the other side of the highway.

We drove along Emiquon Prairie Road past The Nature Conservancy.

We saw a hawk on the side of the road. When he took off we could see that it was a female Northern Harrier. I wasn't prepared for that! Photos are fuzzy, but here they are:

We found six hawks along Clark Road. Of course I was driving, and by the time I would get out of the car to take a photo, they were gone. They seemed to be in pairs, hunting the fields on the east and the bluffs on the west side of the road.

This guy posed briefly before flying to the other side of the bluff.

This guy, most likely a Red-tailed Hawk, landed way out in the prairie, with the sun providing a back light that made him or her a mere silhouette.

This guy, a Rough-legged Hawk, flew directly over my head while I was out of the car.

Emiquon is a delight, no matter the time of year or time of day. Conditions continually change and the landscape changes with it. I eagerly await the open waters of spring!