I traveled up to Thompson, Illinois along the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful day and there were lots of birds out and about. One of them was this great egret. Great egrets are tall wading birds with long necks. They have yellow dagger-like beaks they use to jab fish, frogs and other small aquatic animals. Egrets live in the shallows of both fresh water and salt water and nest in trees. Because they were hunted almost to extinction in the late nineteenth century, great egrets were one of the first subjects of conservation laws.
I believe that this is an albino Eastern Gray Squirrel. There are white squirrels around the town that I live in, but the eye color is what leads me to believe that this is a true albino. He is a frequent visitor to my feeder, and can easily scare other squirrels from the area.
I drove down to Sunset Marina in Rock Island, Illinois this morning. My friend sent me a text letting me know that there were pelicans on the lake. When I arrived there was a group of over 40 pelicans just hanging out. So, I took advantage of the opportunity to shoot a few pictures. The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in North America. Pelicans migrate through the midwest in the spring. During winters they tend to live along the coast. These photos show breeding adults; you can tell by the protrusion on their beaks.
I have been trying for weeks to get a good picture of a female cardinal. She visits my backyard feeders often, but I could never get a good shot of her. Today, I bought a new lens for my camera and was able to get some very good shots. I purchased a Tamron 150-600mm lens this afternoon and from the looks of some of the photos I took, I think I am going to like it:)
A friend of mine shared that there were a pair of owls nesting in her backyard. So I took my camera and with a lot of effort was able to get a few pictures.
This beautiful owl is the most common owl in North America. Great horned owls are carnivores and range in size from 18-24 inches in height and 2-5.5 lbs in weight. Their wing span is from 3 to almost 5 feet. Monogamous pairs nest in a variety of places that include stumps, wholes in trees, and even old abandoned nests of other animals. The female lays 1-5 eggs. The male and female both incubate the eggs. Great horned owls are nocturnal creatures.
Grackles are very common in my area. They travel in flocks, and can get quite noisy at times. Grackles are omnivores, eating seeds, insects, berries, and sometimes even small rodents. Many people find them to be annoying pests. I find them beautiful!!
Late this afternoon I went out the enjoy the beautiful weather. It was sunny and in the upper 70s. On my walk I spotted this beautiful red-bellied woodpecker. It is a medium sized woodpecker that lives mostly in forests. Red-bellied woodpeckers are omnivores feeding on seeds, fruits, and insects. They nest in the cavities of dead trees.