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Birding the Illinois River: Emiquon

Field Trip: Sat. March 3, 2011

Photo Gallery:

About a mile southeast of Havana, Illinois there are a few fields, where much of the year remain flooded.  Locally, these are known as Sand Lake. 

Female and Two Male Bufflehead Ducks at Sand Lake

These Bufflehead were in only a mile southeast of Havana in a flooded area visible from the main road. 

Male Bufflehead Taking Flight at Sand Lake

A male bufflehead duck takes flight at Sand Lake. 

Bald Eagle on Sand Lake

A Bald Eagle was resting along the shore of the Sand Lake. 

After the visit to Sand Lake, we were treated to a catered lunch at Grandpa's in Havana, IL.  Mike, trip organizer with the Peoria Park District had made the arrangements.  After our delicious lunch, we headed back to Emiquon for more waterfowl viewing. 

American Coots at Emiquon: View from Road

After our Lunch, we could see several flocks of Coots at Emiquon.  The above image was taken from the passenger side of the van along the road. 

Ducks at Emiquon  (Larger Image: 1200x687)

Stopping at one of the Emiquon entrances, we could see several duck species in the distance.  Again, a long spotting scope was essential.  Note that the above and following images were highly cropped from the long telephoto lens. 

Canvasback, Ring-necked, Redhead Ducks at Emiquon

Even though the weather remained overcast, the ducks seemed to be taking advantage of the down time to rest and find food.  Also, the lack of direct sun made for viewing without the thermal distortions that cause shimmer. 

Canvasback, Ring-necked, Redhead Ducks at Emiquon

Everyone had a good opportunity to view the ducks through spotting scopes. 

Melissa Tries Digiscoping the Emiquon Ducks

Melissa tried coupling her cell phone to one of the spotting scopes to digiscope the image.  Note that digiscoping is the coupling of a digital camera to a spotting scope. 

Distant Ducks at Emiquon - Dickson Mounds Museum in Background

In the distance, were several large flocks of ducks.  Note that the Dickson Mounds Museum is in the background of the above image taken from the road to Dickson Mounds. 

American White Pelicans over Emiquon

American White Pelicans were in the air and distance over Emiquon.  Note the black tips on the wings. 

Common Merganser "Showing-Off" at Emiquon

At Emiquon a few Common Mergansers were showing off their breeding plummage. 

Flotilla of 20,000 Snow Geese at Emiquon

In the distance - perhaps a quarter to half mile out - was a large flotilla of snow geese; estimated to be 10,000 to 20,000.  The snow geese were almost too distant for good imagery. 

Snow Geese at Emiquon; White Pelicans in background

In the above image, a number of White Pelicans were visible in the distance. 

The Peoria Audubon Society wishes to thank Mike Miller, JD Russell, and Mike Ingram of the Peoria Park District for organizing providing the transportation for the trip.  Note that the small fee to the Peoria Park District covered the lunch and transportation for a very enjoyable day.  Peoria Audubon wishes to thank Maury Brucker for scouting out the areas and providing commentary along the way. 

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