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Spring Bird Count: May 10, 2008

We traveled toward a grassland, looking for bobolinks.  With one of the few trees in what must be one of the largest contiguous grassland pastures in Peoria County, we saw some movement in a tree.  A savannah sparrow made its presence known. 

Savannah Sparrow

According to the field guide, note the "usually yellow lores" and the fine streaks on the breast. 

Savannah Sparrow

As we came to one place in the field with a deep depression in the terrain, we saw a large bird fly away from its hiding place near the road.  It was being mobbed by 2-3 blackbirds at the time (red-winged or grackles?). 

The photo below, taken at maximum telephoto zoom, provides a perspective on the distance.  Note how the fence poles are visually compressed together.  With the fuzziness of the distance, we could just barely tell that it was a great-horned owl. 

Great-horned Owl in Distance - Full Telephoto Image


With the thermals rising from the afternoon sun and after much cropping of the image, the blurry, distant image of the owl emerged. 






On the right, Allen is scanning the grassland for a bobolink or dickcissel.  Dale said that he found bobolinks at this large field, about 2 miles southeast of Elmwood, each of the past two years.  Since we didn't find any, Dale felt that perhaps they have not yet arrived. 





Allen Searching for Bobolinks         .

Lark Sparrow

Moving along toward the east, we found another lark sparrow in a tree by the road.  In this image, you cannot see the dark spot in the center of the breast. 

Eastern Kingbird

In one of the more serene, quiet roads, we were able to get close enough to take a picture of the above eastern kingbird.

Great Egret off Mendenhall Road

At the end of the day, we headed back to the Mendenhall Road where Dennis had parked his car. 

Great Blue Heron off Mendenhall Road

House Wren off Mendenhall Road

Dale found a spot along Mendenhall Road where a house wren has apparently taken up residence in some fallen timber and tree trunks.  At first, we thought it was a Winter Wren.  But after examining the photo in detail, Dale decided that it was a House Wren instead.  Dale said that he had seen this wren in the same spot several times in previous visits to the area.  This is the usual habitat for a winter wren. 

Marsh off Mendenhall Road in Late Afternoon

All in all, it was a great way to spend a day with fellow birding friends and the chance to see nature.  The bright sunshine warmed it up and the earlier prediction of rain never came about. 

Afterwards, Dale provided the results with the Peoria Count coordinator, whereupon our results from the southern half of Peoria County  was combined with the results from the team on the northern half.  This provided the final Peoria County list of 115 species below. 

  2008 Spring Bird Count - Peoria County
  Canada Goose 55     White-breasted Nuthatch 11
  Mute Swan 2     Carolina Wren 6
  Wood Duck 8     House Wren 31
  Mallard 24     Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 9
  Hooded Merganser 5     Eastern Bluebird 24
  Ring-necked Pheasant 2     Swainson's Thrush 4
  Wild Turkey 12     Wood Thrush 2
  Northern Bobwhite 4     American Robin 175
  American White Pelican 12     Gray Catbird 28
  Double-crested Cormorant 59     Brown Thrasher 16
  Great Blue Heron 82     European Starling 260
  Great Egret 30     Cedar Waxwing 20
  Green Heron 5     Blue-winged Warbler 2
  Turkey Vulture 55     Tennessee Warbler 24
  Bald Eagle ** 4     Nashville Warbler 14
  Cooper's Hawk 4     Northern Parula 8
  Broad-winged Hawk 2     Yellow Warbler 41
  Red-tailed Hawk 18     Chestnut-sided Warbler 3
  American Kestrel 8     Yellow-rumped Warbler 32
  Sora 2     Black-throated Green Warbler 2
  American Coot 5     Blackburnian Warbler 1
  Killdeer 17     Blackpoll Warbler 1
  Greater Yellowlegs 1     Cerulean Warbler 1
  Solitary Sandpiper 4     Black-&-White Warbler 3
  Spotted Sandpiper 3     American Redstart 16
  American Woodcock 2     Prothonotary Warbler 2
  Ring-billed Gull 62     Ovenbird 3
  Rock Dove 70     Northern Waterthrush 1
  Mourning Dove 60     Louisiana Waterthrush 2
  Great Horned Owl 2     Common Yellowthroat 24
  Barred Owl 1     Summer Tanager 1
  Common Nighthawk 4     Scarlet Tanager 5
  Chimney Swift 45     Eastern Towee 6
  Ruby-throated Hummingbird 8     Chipping Sparrow 70
  Belted Kingfisher 6     Field Sparrow 4
  Red-headed Woodpecker 10     Vesper Sparrow 3
  Red-bellied Woodpecker 19     Lark Sparrow 4
  Downy Woodpecker 10     Savannah Sparrow 2
  Hairy Woodpecker 1     Grasshopper Sparrow 5
  Northern Flicker 12     Song Sparrow 55
  Pileated Woodpecker 2     White-throated Sparrow 16
  Least Flycatcher 1     White-crowned Sparrow 26
  Eastern Phoebe 21     Northern Cardinal 55
  Great Crested Flycatcher 11     Rose-breasted Grosbeak 35
  Eastern Kingbird 37     Indigo Bunting 37
  Yellow-throated Vireo 7     Dickcissel 10
  Warbling Vireo 65     Red-winged Blackbird 450
  Red-eyed Vireo 16     Eastern Meadowlark 42
  Blue Jay 37     Western Meadowlark ** 65
  American Crow 50     Common Grackle 65
  Horned Lark 14     Brown-headed Cowbird 65
  Purple Martin 16     Orchard Oriole 1
  Tree Swallow 280     Baltimore Oriole 35
  North Rough-winged Swallow 270     House Finch 10
  Bank Swallow 15     American Goldfinch 55
  Barn Swallow 65     House Sparrow 140
  Black-capped Chickadee** 26     Peregrine Falcon 1
  Tufted Titmouse 13        

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