Shivering in the Snow and Sunshine

Bald Eagle L&D 1-19-14 1723.jpg-1723

Yesterday three of the Four Elles joined the DuPage Birding Club outing to Starved Rock in LaSalle County, Illinois. Although the fourth Elle could not join us, she participated in the same field trip with two of us last year. We met a large group of birders at the Lock and Dam across the river from the main entrance toΒ Starved Rock State Park, where we watched birds on the Illinois River from the comfort and convenience of the deck behind the visitor’s center.

Common Mergansers flying on the Illinois River

Common Mergansers flying on the Illinois River

Common Mergansers L&D 1-19-14 1753.jpg-1753The Bald Eagle pictures are from this location. The birds were not always close enough, but they were active and in general viewing them turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

Bald Eagle L&D 1-19-14 1794.jpg-1794Bald Eagle L&D 1-19-14 1774.jpg-1774

Bald Eagle L&D 1-19-14 1787.jpg-1787

There were not many species of waterfowl, but we did have a couple Great Blue Herons, one of which is flying below.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

We then caravanned across the river to the visitor’s center adjacent to the lodge at the state park, where they have well-stocked bird feeders. There were many Blue Jays, not willing to sit still for the most part; this one looks pretty cold.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

On and around the feeders, White-Breasted Nuthatches were common, like the one below.

White-Breasted Nuthatch

White-Breasted Nuthatch

And invariably, we saw Downy Woodpeckers. And Tufted Titmouse, Dark-Eyed Junco, American Tree Sparrow and Black-Capped Chickadees, although less available for good shots.

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

After lunch, the field trip took off for Lee County instead of further down the river this year, a change driven as much by the weather as the opportunity to search for a previously reported Snowy Owl. We scanned field after field like the one below. Unable to keep up with the 4-wheel drive vehicles in the blowing snow on the roads, after an hour or two we turned homeward and did not see the eventual Snowy. Luckily there are still opportunities closer to home.

Lee County farm field

Lee County farm field

(Last weekend on another field trip, I saw a Snowy in Bolingbrook but could not get a decent picture. Three individual birds have been spotted near this location, so there may yet be a chance to return and try again.)

Snowy Bolingbrook 1616.jpg-1616

Bolingbrook Snowy Owl

11 thoughts on “Shivering in the Snow and Sunshine

  1. A great collection of different species, etc. Lisa. By the way, since you like to travel, one place you should put on your ‘bucket’ list is the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. You would go wild looking at the diverse collection of species, quail, raptors including several hawks, eagles, ducks and all kinds of waterfowl, egrets, herons, you name it, it is there. I would love to back there someday. Fantastic! πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Bob. I’m really happy to see almost any bird this time of year. ! I’d love to go back to Bosque too. I was there a couple years ago, February to be exact. Maybe next year for New Mexico. Right now looking forward to Texas in April!

    • Thanks, Jason! Seriously I’ve been closer to eagles on the Mississippi, but these guys were particularly active so that made it worthwhile. I’m just glad some of the shots came out sharp enough!

    • Thanks very much. As for the owl, even though we have had a lot of Snowies, they are still dificult to find and even more difficult to photograph. Hats off to the guys who have all day to find them and then the huge lenses to capture images.

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