Thursday, March 11, 2010

They're Back! More Snow Geese

On Thursday, with 68 degree weather and beautiful billowing clouds blowing across a blue sky, Thompson Lake was wide open. Ducks and Coots were not as plentiful as they were just a few days ago, and we weren't seeing many geese flying over. However, as we approached the far southern end of the lake, we could see a long line of white about a mile out on the water. We turned around at the National Wildlife Refuge and stopped at the pull-off directly across from the line of white. Before I could get out of the car, the Snow Geese making up this long line started rising from the water. Scott and I estimate about 50,000 geese in this flock. It was fun to watch them rise and fall, rearranging themselves in the water, but not leaving.





A few lines of geese flew off from the flock.



A few Coots came in for a landing near the edge of the lake.


Looking North from Pumphouse Road pull-off towards the boat ramp, you can see the down power lines.


The power poles along the former Pump House Road that had been held up by the ice have fallen under water.


Along Prairie Road, new power poles bring power to The Nature Conservancy.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow Geese Today, Gone Tomorrow

Yesterday the air in Fulton County was full of geese, mostly Snow Geese, long lines of geese in all directions joined up into one huge mass of geese circling around over Thompson Lake, which was beginning to open up in the center of the lake. They came in lower and lower, and I was sure they were going to land, but at the last moment they changed their mind and flew off to the west. When they circled back over the lake they were sky high again.

A storm blew through over night, leaving clear blue skies today, and not a goose to be seen.  I'm glad I went out yesterday and didn't wait for the sunny weather!








Large trucks are a constant on IL Route 78, the levee highway bisecting the Emiquon Preserve. They create a sudden wind when they pass while I'm on the side of the highway photographing waterfowl, and one caused my hat to fly off my head before I could grab it.  I thought it landed in the creek/channel that runs beside the highway, but I found it on the other side of the car.  It is my favorite hat, too!


The flooded fields near Prairie Road on the West side of IL 78 were covered with waterfowl, mostly Greater White-fronted Geese and Mallards, 10s of thousands of them, far out in the field.


A lone coyote roamed the frozen fields with the geese and ducks.

At Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge, south of the Emiquon Preserve, we found a pair of Hooded Mergansers.

We also found two Bald Eagles flying over the refuge, high in the sky.