Thursday, February 2, 2012

Up in the Sky! Part 2

Here are pictures from my trip to Starved Rock.

On the hiking trail.
Mascot from Raptor show
Can you count how many sparrows in the bush? They're hiding really well.
French Canyon
Illinois River

Barn Owl that touched the top of my head.

Eagle! Way in the distance but it's an eagle!

Wedge Eagle on left and Bald Eagle on the RightBald EagleTawny Owl
Wedge Eagle
Crow that Collected Donations
Here is our birding group. I'm in the purple on the left.

Up in the Sky! Part 1

Hey everybody! It feels like its been a while since I posted. First few weeks of school were busy, busy, busy! Other than school, I took a much anticipated (and needed) trip to Starved Rock State Park in Ottawa, IL. Myself and some avid birders went to see the eagles last week. Real bald eagles! I never even knew there were eagles in Illinois.

When we arrived to the site, we watched the chickadees, red house finches, and sparrows fly back and forth to different feeders. The Illinois river runs through the park, so my group and I walked toward the edge to find the some eagles. To our luck we found one perched in a tree across the river. It looked so serene. It's feathers rustling in the wind. After words, we drove across to the visitor's center to see the raptor show about different birds of prey. All the tickets were gone, but next day's show looked promising.

It was getting dark, so we had dinner in the lodge on the park grounds. I had large fried shrimp and mashed Yukon gold potatoes. We all shared food and stories by a huge brick fire place. The fun didn't stop. Back at the hotel was wine, sake, and mascato to liven us up even more. We even had a twist dance contest. One of the women in our group is the head of the Audubon society for Chicago. She suggested we dance for the volunteers and bird rescue group meeting on the lobby floor. We all figured why not! And went down to the breakfast room in the hotel. They got to judge the twist contest, and some even participated! It was most fun I think a lot of us had in a while. We danced back to our rooms for the night in anticipation of more eagle watching the next day.

It had snowed over night, but Starved Rock State Park was beautiful. Although most of the trees were bare, the white pines gave a soft green color to the landscape. Some of the oaks had some orange leaves left on the branches adding a hint bold color to the snowy ground. First order of business was the raptor show. Our antics last night paid off because we were able to get front row seats in the show. There were hawks, owls, and eagles that flew right over our heads during the show. One owl touched the top of my head flying back to the handler it actually made me feel lucky.

After the show, some of us hiked down the French canyon. It was slippery on the stairs into the canyon, but the yellow sandstone looked lovely in the snow and sunlight. After lunch and a little more bird watching, it was time to go home. Our bird count was 10 eagles. We all went home satisfied with the success of our trip. I want to go back to Starved Rock as soon as possible.

Pictures from my trip are in part 2. Enjoy!