Starved Rock and LaSalle County

Distant Birds IMG_1980_1

Bald Eagle on ice, Illinois River

As winter wanes (we are experiencing a significant thaw as I write this), I feel compelled to get caught up with the past couple weeks’ photos. On February 24, 2013, I joined two other Elles on a DuPage Birding Club field trip to Starved Rock. It was my last chance to see numerous Bald Eagles, this time on the Illinois River. It was a beautiful day, but because there wasn’t a lot of frozen water, the birds were farther away and harder to photograph.

Eagle IMG_1768_1

Bald Eagle, soaring

Eagles IMG_1786_1

Juvenile and adult Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles, three plumages

Bald Eagles, three plumages

Of course there are always gulls too, although we did not see anything very unusual.

Lock and Dam 13, Illinois Waterway Visitor's Center

Lock and Dam 13, Illinois River

Gull IMG_1721_1

As we moved down the river, we saw more species, some on land, some on water.

Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher

It was wonderful to see a Pileated Woodpecker, but impossible to get close enough for a decent picture. The quest continues.

Pileated IMG_1959_1

I forget exactly where we were when I got the picture below of the Ring-Necked Pheasant.

Ring-Necked Pheasant IMG_2057_1

On the grounds of the Starved Rock Visitor’s Center, where there are some feeders, there was a very cooperative Tufted Titmouse. Since I don’t get these guys in my yard and they can be elusive in the woods, I am always thrilled to see them.

Singing Tufted Titmouse

Singing Tufted Titmouse

And of course, there were a few White-Breasted Nuthatches. I like the branch this bird chose to pose on.

White-Breased Nuthatch

White-Breased Nuthatch

On the way back, numerous flocks of blackbirds. Below, Cowbirds in a Bare Tree. It always amazes me to see Cowbirds find their own species after being raised by others.

Cowbirds in a Bare Tree IMG_1931_1

Brown-Headed Cowbirds

On the way back the three of us stopped at Gebhardt Woods State Park in Grundy County for a little walk along the I&M Canal.

I&M Canal IMG_2083_1

One species we picked up here was a Winter Wren. He was mostly preening, behind these stalks.

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

At the end of a long but beautiful day outdoors, perhaps the full moon from the parking lot where we’d started was the best image of all.

Full Moon IMG_2195_1

8 thoughts on “Starved Rock and LaSalle County

  1. Kingfishers are my favorite bird. Strange and elusive, but fascinating to watch. We had Ring-necked Pheasants years ago where I lived in Maryland, but I think they are all gone now.

  2. Sounds like a great birding trip. It’s always so exciting to see bald eagles! The pillieated woodpecker and tufted titmouse were also great catches – I don’t have these in my yard either.

    • If you get a Pileated Woodpecker in your yard, your yard will become a designated Important Bird Area. I think you’re already halfway there with the Varied Thrush. 🙂

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