We headed down to the Union County Conservation Area to drive the levee in search of Mississippi Kite. We missed them, but did meet up with Vernon Kleen. Close to Lyerla Lake we had a very wet adult Bald Eagle. As we were about to leave the refuge, we finally had excellent looks at the striking Prothonotary Warbler, which we'd been hearing all morning.
May 4 - More Cold Weather
Saturday morning started out misty and 42 degrees. Fortunately the rain abated, and Roger and I were able to see a fine selection of birds. As we spotted our quarry, Roger recorded them for the Illinois migratory bird count. We started out at Lake Murphysboro State Park with good numbers of egrets, a Green Heron, a Barred Owl, swallows, vireos, warblers, flycatchers, and a pair of dueling geese.
At Oakwood Bottoms we added a number of resident species and a got a great look at a gem of a Yellow-throated Warbler.
The agricultural fields were flooded in many spots, creating a smorgasbord for Tree, Cliff, Barn, and the odd Northern Rough-winged and Bank Swallows.
Along the gravel road in the newly-created Big Muddy Bottomlands were a flock of 11 Solitary Sandpipers and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. Even more surprising was a calling Least Bittern, and a short while later, a Sora!
Along the Big Muddy Levee were more flocks of colorful Bobolinks and good numbers of singing (buzzing?) Dickcissels. An immature Bald Eagle was scanning the river from a dead snag. The final new bird for the day was American White Pelican; a flock of 45 was soaring above Rt. 3. We finished our count at 12:30 p.m. with a respectable 104 species for the morning.
May 5 - Never-ending Rain
Sunday morning was the rainiest day yet, so I did a bit of scouting for new birding spots. The water treatment facility east of town on Old Rt 13 looked great, even in the rain--looking forward to visiting that location on all future trips.
May 6 - Columbia Bottom
Monday was overcast but warmer, and I birded my way up to St. Louis. At the Columbia River Bottom Conservation Area I located a Eurasian Tree Sparrow at the visitor center and then took the loop drive through the bottoms. Lesser Yellowlegs were out in force, with a total of 40 birds found in just two flooded areas. And then it was off to the airport and back to Yuma. It had been a great visit with my parents and fine time birding with Roger!