Friday, February 04, 2011

Snowy Emiquon

After viewing eagles in Havana, I drove back home through Emiquon, taking a detour through Prairie Road, which had been cleared of snow. Before turning onto County 9 from IL 78, I stopped on the only spot of shoulder along the stretch of highway that bisects the Emiquon Preserve. I took a photo of the frozen lake. The gray area on the lake is the last open area and the first that will open up if the temperatures get up above freezing.

I stopped on County 9 and took a photo of the bluffs far across the snowy cornfield.

From Prairie Road, I had a different perspective using my wide angle lens.

Dickson Creek was picturesque in the snow.



A Pinto horse stood at the fence near the road as I passed one of the farm houses on Prairie Road.

A Red-tailed Hawk took off from the prairie and flew along the bluff before disappearing to the other side.

An American Kestrel landed in a tree in front of me and stayed put for a few moments before relocating farther away.

Little winter birds, mostly America Sparrows, darted into the prairie for shelter as I drove by. The snow covered bluff in the background stood out against the bright blue February sky.

I stopped at the Prairie Road Wetland and looked back at the bluffs. I could still see the scrolls of Prairie flowers that had bloomed in golden colors all summer.

I turned back towards the wetland and the juxtaposition of blue sky, white snow and dark trees, with the Havana cloud maker pumping away in the background.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Eagles at Havana's River Front

The Illinois River at Havana is a great place to view eagles. I stopped by on January 30 and found 8 - 10 eagles in the trees on the west side of the river. However, one beauty posed for me on the sign for Tall Timbers Marina on the east side.

In the parking lot, a flock of Ring-billed Gulls hung out, waiting for someone to throw out some bread, or a fish to land, not sure which:

Yesterday, after digging out from the blizzard that passed through on Tuesday, I drove back over to the riverfront. The light was much better, but no eagles posed on the east side. The temperature was in the lower teens, and steam billowed out of the power plant south of the bridge.

Two eagles were out on the ice. As I attempted to focus on one, it lifted off and flew upstream.

I focused on the other eagle, thinking what a strange looking eagle. Once my lens focused I could see that it was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting out on the ice.

Fifteen or more eagles were perched in the trees on the west side of the river and the west side of Tall Timber Marina.






As I returned to my car, I took one parting shot of the Red-tail, who continued his icy vigil.

I stopped by the grocery store before heading back across the river, and found an American Crow on the icy parking lot. I took one shot before it took off to move farther away.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Briney's Bird Farm -- Schuyler County

While driving south on IL 100 last Sunday, Scott and I encountered Briney's Bird Farm, a huge game farm. Thousands of Chukars and Pheasant in fenced enclosures covered the bluff. All for Euro style hunts, with the birds released just in time to be shot. Hardly seems fair. Yet there was something eerily beautiful about the place.







On the other side of the river, in a field beside the long road from IL 78 to the Sanganois Conservation Area, we spotted a group of 12-15 wild pheasants. By the time I stopped the car and hopped out, only 4 remained, and they headed into the brush.