Peoria Audubon Society is a local affiliate of both:
Metropolitan Sanitary District Wetlands
Members of the Peoria Audubon Society traveled by car pool to a private facility that is owned by the Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary District, just west of Canton, IL. The 17,000+ acre wetlands were originally purchased by the Chicago MSD 40+ years ago with the intent of using the formerly strip mined land as a location to transport sludge from the Chicago area.
The original intent was to ship the sludge to the Canton facility for use as a fertilizer for farming. Over the years, perhaps due to economics and the logistics of transporting the semi-liquid sludge from barges in the Illinois River (pipe?), the shipment of sludge was stopped. In the interim, the lakes, wetlands, and woodlands serves as a wildlife refuge for migrating water birds. Some farming operations are going on, but much of the acreage simultaneously functions as a refuge.
Audubon Members Car Pool from Farmington to MSD Wetlands west of Canton, IL
At MSD, Audubon members had the opportunity to view numerous flocks of Geese and other birds. Bert said it was amazing that they identified 60 species, with none of them being a House Sparrow or Starling.
Canada geese resting in a lake
As the members stopped to eat lunch between two of the lakes near the MSD Headquarters, they were treated to watching more geese. Dennis tried digiscoping the geese in the above photos.
Snow Geese, blue morph (Blue Geese) flying in the flock
Several geese species were spotted, including: Canada, Cackling, Snow, White-fronted and Bert claims he also spotted a Ross's Goose.
Bald Eagle looking for food
As Dennis was digiscoping a flock of geese, a Bald Eagle did a fly over. What a great place to eat lunch! Sometimes you just get lucky.
Get out the scopes and field guides
Checking out the shorebirds
While viewing a couple of Snipes and a few Dunlin, the members spotted a pair of shorebirds that they at first could not identify. After consulting with Bert and checking out the field guides, the group was lucky to spot and identify a pair of Pectoral Sandpipers. What a great way to spend a day!
The Peoria Audubon Society wishes to thank the Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary District for the opportunity to visit their facility.
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