Big Year 2-week point.

The first 100 species came in 5 days -- in the 10 days since, I've added 58. This is expected, of course. This time of year, there isn't much new stuff arriving or popping up, so as the easy ones go, all you're left with is critters you need to work for. Still, some of the holes have filled in -- some easy birds like starlings, bluebirds, and robins, and some of the more recognizable trees. I've decided, though, that a lot of the trees are going to wait until they have leaves. (and hopefully acorns for the oaks!)

A couple of nice finds on the bird front this week, though -- Sunday, after a 3-week absence, a female Harlequin Duck was back at Waukegan Harbor. This is a species that usually shows up somewhere on the lakefront in the winter, but not always in Lake County. And today, a Northern Shrike popped up at Raven Glen West Forest Preserve -- these guys are irregular winter visitors. There's always a few around, but they wander across large territories, and they don't like to pose for pictures. Some years they come down in greater numbers, but this year they didn't.

I checked Illinois Beach SP today -- anyone hoping to come up and visit should probably wait a while. (Hopefully just a few weeks....) Right now, the Dead River Trail is part of the Dead River, and our Grass-Pink hollow is part of the river backwater. The boardwalk heading out to the beach was 4 inches underwater, by the ice left on it, although at least that water level has fallen, and the trail out to the beach is blocked by water at the gravel trail. You can see far enough to realize that there's water covering much of the sand prairie behind the beach as well. Even in the North Unit, the parking lots by the beach are inaccessible due to flooding.

While I'm writing this, I want to give some credit where it's due -- the main reason I can even contemplate this crazy Big Year project is the hard work done by both the IDNR -- they manage Illinois Beach, Chain of Lakes, and Volo Bog -- and the Lake County Forest Preserve. They've managed to preserve a wonderful selection of natural landscapes throughout the county, and do a wonderful job of managing them, both for conservation and for public access. Without them, at the rate that we're seeing subdivisions and shopping malls crop up out here, there wouldn't be anywhere worth looking.

Publicado por psweet psweet, 14 de janeiro de 2020, 11:51 PM

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