We just got back from a short visit to Fox Lake, just 10 minutes from where we live, to see some Common Loons and American White Pelicans after reading about them on the Illinois birding list. Someone reported seeing pelicans and loons at Fox Lake with detailed instructions on how to get there, so we got in the car with our new Leica spotting scope and headed for the Mineola Marina in Fox Lake. It was pouring down rain, so we didn’t stay too long, but we did get to see 20 pelicans and 7 loons, which are two new birds for our lifelist. 🙂 More »
Today we participated in one of the Maple Syrup Hikes at Ryerson Conservation Area. On the one-hour program we learned about the Sugar Maple trees that make sweet sap and how they tap them to make syrup. I love maple syrup on my pancakes and waffles and have always wanted to see this.
Yesterday we went to Nippersink Forest Preserve for a walk, which was rather unpleasant because of the freezing wind. We saw only two other people there that were crazy enough to be outside in the cold. We made only a quick walk around the lake before our faces froze off but did see most of the area and trails. It seems like a nice place that we’ll need to check out further in the spring, when it’s warmer.
Here’s a panorama photo (16 pictures stitched together with Windows Live Photo Gallery) from a lookout point at the south side of the park:
We moved into our new digs in Round Lake Beach ten days ago and hadn’t seen a single bird in our backyard. All that changed today when we saw a goldfinch on one of two bird feeders that we put up five days ago.
Today we drove down to Starved Rock State Park for the 12th annual Bald Eagle Watch. It was about a 2-hour drive and we got there nice and early at around 9 o’clock. The activities for the fair were split over two buildings: the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center on the north side of the Illinois River and the Starved Rock Lodge on the other side. There were educational programs, live raptor presentations, stands from companies and organizations and other activities in both buildings throughout the day.
We first stopped by at the visitor center and were immediately struck by all the Bald Eagles flying around and sitting in the trees:
Two years ago we were in The Gambia where we stayed at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. We were in this great country from 5 to 15 January 2007 and during this time we did a five-day birdwatching safari upriver to Georgetown under the expert birdwatching guidance of Ebrima Sidebe. We had a great time and saw over 175 different species of birds. After the 5-day excursion and on our last day in The Gambia we visited Abuko Nature Reserve.
Here is a list of my five favorite birdwatching places in the Netherlands and some of my favorite photos of birds that we’ve seen. My top 5 birding locations are:
- Lepelaarplassen, Flevoland
- De Muy & De Petten on Texel, Noord Holland
- Starrevaart in Leidschendam, Zuid Holland
- Zuidpier in IJmuiden, Zuid Holland
- De Putten, Noord Holland
Common Kingfisher near De Lepelaarshut
Yesterday we drove down to Lincoln Park in Chicago and briefly visited the Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary. We had heard that a Great Horned Owl had been sighted there the last few days so we went to have a look for it. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it, but it was still nice to see the bird sanctuary.
Today we visited Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park IL, just 20 minutes from here. The 250-acre preserve is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline at the site of the former Fort Sheridan army base. The area features rolling terrain, bluffs, ravines and trees set against the shoreline. There are a few scenic trails that wind through the preserve to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, providing the first official public access to this section of shoreline since the Fort’s military operations began in 1887.
Yesterday we drove up to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. The weather was beautiful again. It’s around 77oF / 25oC these days. Horicon Marsh is the site of both a national and state wildlife refuge. The extinct glacial lake is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. The refuges are known for their many species of birds. Millions of waterfowl migrate through the marsh. Here are some photos of our visit.
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center