Monday, July 12, 2010

Walking Thompson Levee

Thompson Lake is still pretty deep and spreads out across most of the Emiquon Preserve. On most days I haven't seen many water birds from the front side of the lake, so on Monday I took a walk along the south levee to see what I would see.

Before the power poles came down last winter, a long line of power poles lined the eastern edge of the preserve. Now there is only one pole remaining. The above ground electric line was replaced with an underground line to the pump house, allowing TNC to pump some of the water from the lake that accumulated over the past two years of high water on the river system.



Dragonflies were everywhere, a couple even showed up in this landscape as two black specks near the top of the photo.

I didn't find many waterfowl on the south end of the levee.

As I turned the bend heading north, I found some ducks far out on the lake.

A female Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly rested on a dry patch of dirt on top of the levee.

A Conehead Katydid hid in the grass growing on the side of the levee.

A Slender Spreadwing damselfly rested on a blade of grass with its wings open.

A male Widow Skimmer dragonfly posed briefly for a photo.

Halloween Pennant dragonflies were everywhere, seemingly on every grass seed spike or leaf on both sides of the levee.


A Stillwater Clubtail dragonfly sunned himself on the gravel and shells brought in the fill used to cover the ruts left by the electric and gas line repairs.

As I walked north on the levee, I heard loud cries from several birds rising out of the cattails south of the lake. Black-necked Stilts flew over and around me. There must have been eight of them at one time. Three persisted and followed me crying their warnings as I continued my walk.



On one of the high spots along one of the former agricultural canals I spotted an egret with some gulls. Farther out were a line of gulls, and more farther out were a group of pelicans.

A female Wood Duck flushed as I approached.

Far away in Fulton County, smoke rose over the bluffs as I walked back to my car.


Anonymous said...

Very nice! It's just like being there, only cooler...

Ed Kinsel

Jane said...

Ed, it wasn't so hot on Monday. Today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week it will be sizzling, and no way I'm walking a levee!

ILBirder said...

How would one get to this south levee viewing area? I'm from Chicagoland and I would love to see this place. Beautiful wetlands!

Jane said...

The Nature Conservancy doesn't allow the general public out on the levee at this time. As a member of the Emiquon Corps of Discovery, a group of volunteers working to document the restoration at Emiquon, I have access to areas that others do not. However, TNC has opened up a wonderful area off of IL 78/97 (the highway that bisects the nature preserve) with boardwalks, viewing stations with scopes, and a 1.5 mile trail through the wetlands, that is now open to the public.