Peoria Audubon Society is a local affiliate of both:
MSWRD Wetland Trip
April 18, 2009
Thad Edmonds, of the Peoria Audubon Society, received special permission from the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MSWRD)
This 20,000+ acre facility a few miles west of Canton, IL (Click for Google Map) was originally purchased by the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District 40+ years ago for use as a location to deposit sludge from Chicago. The intent was to use barges to transport liquid sludge down the Illinois River, pump it to the facility, then deposit it onto farm fields for use as fertilizer.
Allegedly, in the early pilot stages, it was determined that the logistics were too expensive and the sludge process was never put into full action. Over the ensuing years, the facility remains closed to the general public (unless special permission is obtained from the Chicago headquarters).
Entrance to MSWRD Wetlands west of Canton, IL
A portion of the grounds once represented strip mining operations in varying degrees. After the mining, much of the grounds were reclaimed. This resulted in numerous lakes.
Male & Female Blue-winged Teal
In the above image, a pair of blue-winged teal were fairly close to one of the numerous roads that traverse the facility.
"Concerned" Canada Geese
At one of the lakes, several of the Canada geese watched our group of birders to see if they would need to take flight.
Savannah Sparrow on Barbed Wire
In one part of the facility, where the roadway goes along a ridge, we found the above savannah sparrow.
Our Convoy of Birders
At lunchtime we parked between a couple of the lakes near the headquarters of the MSWRD facility. We grouped together for birding to reduce the number of vehicles driving around the place. In order to keep everyone in good communications, Dennis brought along enough FRS two-way radios for every vehicle. This way, everyone in the group could keep updated on what the birders in the other vehicles found. This way, no one was left out when we found a unique bird.
Distant Scaup, Coots, Ruddy Ducks, ...
Using a number of spotting scopes, the group had a good view of the expansive color of ruddy ducks. The above image didn't do justice to show the blue bill.
Painted Turtle Crossing Road
Always a conservationist, Thad stopped to move the painted turtle to a safe spot out of the road.
It seems that every time we visit the MSWRD that we have a good chance to see deer. Today was no exception.
At several places, tree swallows were abundant. The one in the above image was close enough for Dennis to take a good photo.
Eastern Meadow Lark
It seemed that all morning long, we could hear meadow lards all around us. They were more difficult to photograph, but there were many around.
At one location, we took a long walk into a small woods and Thad brought along a tape of screech and barred owls. On this special day, not one, but two barred owls returned the call and came out to watch the "rival" barred owl.
The Peoria Audubon Society wishes to thank the Chicago Metropolitian Water Reclamation District for the opportunity to visit their facility.
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