Friday, October 28, 2011

A-birding we will go

A couple of weeks ago, hubby was invited to give a talk at Northern Illinois University, so we tagged along to do some birding around the Great Lakes area.

Our hotel in Aurora was next to a pond so the kids and I did some birding outside while hubby was giving his talk.  There weren't too many birds there, at least not that we could see, although we heard plenty.  We spotted Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. We suspect many more were hiding in the tall reeds.

The next day, we went to the FermiLab and walked around, hoping to see birds there.  Unfortunately, we didn't see a whole lot, but we had some nice walks.
Some fluffy wildflowers...not sure what they are.
Chicory is one of my favorite "weeds."
Son1 had been reading up on Monk Parakeets descended from escaped pets that now populated areas within Chicago, notably the Hyde Park area. He persuaded us to stop at a little park near the University of Chicago to look for them. We walked all around the park and didn't see any, and were just about back to the car again when we heard a squawking sound. Looking, there was a Monk Parakeet right above us. I tried to use the PS Express app on my phone to crop and sharpen the photo, but it's still not a very good one:
Maybe you can see it better in this photo?
After leaving the Chicago area, we went to explore Indiana Dune National Lakeshore. We were last here about 15 years ago, and it's shifted a bit.
Here are the guys dumping sand out of their shoes after we came back from the beach trail.
We didn't see anything at all on the beach trail, but saw lots of wonderful birds (including a Lincoln Sparrow, a Swamp Sparrow, and a large flock of Wood Ducks) at a marsh trail at the Dunes.

All in all, not a bad birding outing. And I think this is the part where I put in a plug for the Great Backyard Bird Count, Audubon, and WildBird Magazine to get you hooked on birding!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams