Date: 1/27/18 4:36 pm From: Bob Fisher <BFisher928...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Hennepin Hopper and surrounding spots on Saturday
Karen and I decided to enjoy the blue sky, mild air temp. and light winds by heading W on Saturday
A gorgeous adult dark morph western Red-tail on Florid Rd, just E of the tiny town of Florid. This is almost certainly the same bird we saw at virtually the same location on 12/3/17 - 8 weeks ago. Clearly a successful winter resident in that area.
Eurasian Tree Sparrows at their usual location at a farmhouse complex on 500E in Putnam County, just N of the Marshall/Putnam County line and just 50-100 yds E of Rte 29.
3000+ Brown-headed Cowbirds in a single enormous flock ( a few starlings were mixed in, but it was predominantly cowbirds) on Hwy 71 in LaSalle County, the 1st road W of Rte 39/51.
2, possibly 3 Pileated Woodpeckers along the road to the Consolidated grain terminal, directly across the river from the town of Hennepin.
The ice is pretty well gone from the Illinois River, but there was still a good concentration of gulls at Marseilles, including one adult and one 2nd winter Thayer's (Iceland) Gulls
TWI's Dixon Wildlife Refuge at Hennepin-Hopper Lakes had some open water directly W of the boat launch. Lounging, enjoying the sun just like us, were Canada Geese, Mallards, a couple of Gr. White fronted Geese, a lone male Pintail, a lone male Redhead, plus small numbers of C Goldeneyes and C Mergansers.
Best of all, we had the side roads, even the state highways, largely to ourselves, making for very relaxed driving while birding. But you could still tell it was January, virtually no passerine bird activity in the wooded areas we traversed.