I follow the Lake County Forest Preserve District on Facebook and earlier this week, they had posted about migrating waterfowl resting at Independence Grove in Libertyville.
That sounded cool!
Today (Saturday) was the earliest I could get out there, and it was wonderful! The sun was shining, it was above freezing, and there were birds!
Lots and lots and lots of birds!
In the end, it seems like I saw nearly all the ducks in the duck section of my bird book (Stokes), and a few others as well.
This will be two posts, so let’s get started, shall we?
There were two open water areas in the main lake on the property, and we parked in between.
There were a lot of swans that we could see from the land, tons of Canada geese, and way more kinds of ducks than I knew on sight. (I apologize now for any fuzziness in the photos. A. I don’t have a super-zoom lens, only a 55-200, and B. my ability to manually focus said lens seems to have a distance limit at full zoom. Sorry.) There were so many, that every shot has at least a dozen birds in it. These are all cropped out of them. I tried to get the best focused images of each type, adding them to my personal digital bird album.
There were probably more of these than any other kind. I thought they were canvasbacks at the time, but when I looked them up, I was able to identify them correctly. These were part of a group of four males chasing that poor female. I watched her dive at one point and all four dived after her. Worse than a pretty girl at a frat party!
Funny that these are named this. From what I could see, the males didn’t have a ring, but the females definitely did.
The buffleheads were the only ones I could confidently identify, thanks to a blog that doesn’t seem to be active anymore. I didn’t see any females, though – guess I should look a little closer at all the shots I took, they might be hiding in plain sight!
These gadwalls kept to themselves, on the outskirts of the flocks. Oddly, to me anyway, the males seem so much plainer than the females here; at least the females have a pattern in their feathers!
And this was probably the biggest surprise, one I didn’t even see at the time! I assumed they all were mute swans, and when I was looking at the photos, working to identify them, there was a swan with a black beak! Color me shocked! We had walked around to get closer to the first open water, and I fortunately captured this shot without even realizing it!
*Update: Turns out it’s not a tundra swan, but a trumpeter! I think that’s even a rarer site! So cool!
Tomorrow, more surprises!