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Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Birding Day of 2010

My Son-in-Law (Thomas Maddox) and I made a brief run to Lacassine Refuge on the last day of 2010. It was our first trip there this winter.

On our way down Illinois Plant Road, Thomas spotted a female Northern Harrier sitting in a field alongside the road. He was preening his feathers, looking about and seemed oblivious to us stopping on the road, watching him and taking his picture. He remained there as we drove away.

Left-Click to enlarge all images.

We came upon some geese a little further down Illinois Plant Road. The white Snow Geese immediately caught our attention but what were the darker geese mixed in with the Snows? As we got closer the Specklebellied Geese (Greater White-Fronted Geese) came into view and much to our delight there were about twenty Cackling Geese mixed in. We haven't seen many Cackling Geese and it was indeed a treat to see these guys.

As we entered Lacassine Refuge a peculiar looking Red-Tailed Hawk with a dark bib perched in a tree next to the road flew off and landed in a distant tree. Fortunately we were able to get close enough for a picture. The black looking blotch of feathers under his chin and on his neck looked different from the typical Red-Tailed Hawks we have seen. Red-Tailed Hawks seem to have so many variations one never knows what they will encounter with these guys.

We saw the usual waterfowl at Lacassine (no Swans) and nothing really out of the ordinary. It was great just being out in good company, taking a few pictures and enjoying good ole Mother Nature for the last birding run of the year.

Year 2010 was an excellent birding year with some outstanding finds by some persistent and talented birders. What will 2011 bring?

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