Today my husband and I traveled about two hours south of our home to some state wildlife preserves. It was a crystal clear day with very little wind. We left over 9 inches of snow at our house, and by the time we reached our destination there was no snow, and the temperature was in the low 50s. It was a great day for exploring!
Our first stop was Banner Marsh in the Canton, Illinois area. There were so many great marsh areas to explore, but we didn’t go very far because we could hear the gunfire from the duck hunters. We saw several species of ducks, a blue heron, and these beautiful mute swans.
The next stop was Emiquon Preserve in Lewiston, Illinois. The area is amazing! The views were breathtaking, and the lake had several types of waterfowl, some that I have never seen before. Unfortunately most of the birds were too far out to get good photos, however I managed to get an acceptable photo of a ruddy duck. This was the first time that I have seen this species.
We also paid a short visit to Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Havana, Illinois. This area is definitely worth a trip back. There are hiking trails, observation platforms, marsh areas, and wooded areas that are worth exploring. This was the last stop of the day, and we needed to get back home, so we did not stay long. However, I was able to spot a beautiful male kestrel on our way out of the refuge. I had hoped for a closer shot (this one was cropped quite a bit) but he didn’t like our intrusion in his hunting area.
I am definitely looking forward to the next time I am able to travel back to the Havana area! I think I might make it a two-day trip:-)