Kankakee & Jasper-Pulaski FWA
This is the second report of our birding activities and I hope it will continue further.
Birding for us provides a unique opportunity to meet people out of our usual circle or work. These folks are some of the best we know, they are caring, loving and most of all know a lot more than you know about birds, what else you need. Today we had such an opportunity to meet Joel Greenberg. Though I don't know much about him yet, but I could feel he is someone you want to be friends with, someone who could recognize your interests, hope there will be more interaction with him in the near future. So meeting him was a great start to otherwise a chilly, windy freezing day.
Today's birding was part of a field trip organized by South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society and led by Steve Sass. We started the day at around 1 PM at Kankakee FWA on Toto Rd. Initially, we started by scouting for birds in the nearby marshes from the back of the FWA building. Along with hundreds of Canada Goose, we saw a Northern Harrier (a lifer) gliding in the nearby fields and many waterbirds in the marsh. Soon there were a bunch of noisy geese that started flying around, which were identified as Greater White-fronted Goose (another lifer). After spending some time at that location, we headed out to a nearby viewing area to get a better look at the birds in the marsh.
While at this location we also saw a Northern Harrier (not sure if it's the same one) and a Red-Tailed Hawk in the nearby fields. The marsh had numerous migrating waterbirds, but all the reeds didn't allow me to take very good shots. We saw many Northern Shoveler & Gadwall couples, interspersed among them were few Green-winged Teals, Ring-necked Ducks (this name is totally misguiding!!), Redheads and American Wigeon. My complete checklist can be found here. Just before we left the spot 4 Northern Pintails gave a nice flyover for some time. Since many people were cold from the persistent wind and chill, we decided to head for our next destination Jasper-Pulaski FWA.
The weather condition didn't change, but the prospect of seeing so many Sandhills made everyone very excited, our daughter also had started to enjoy the mid-west winter by then (she was sitting in the car until now)!! We have been to JP FWA Sandhill Crane viewing before also, its truly amazing experience. The presence of hundreds and thousands of cranes, their noise, their activity, their behavior….one must see it at least once, it's an undescribable experience.
We Spent few hours there, while Joel spoke about how their numbers had decreased decades ago and how conservation efforts led to what we see today. We left there with a hope that someday we will be able to see Whooping Cranes, another beautiful, majestic crane in same numbers in my lifetime.
The group had dinner at Brantwood Restaurant in North Judson. After a long dinner, we left home hoping to see these amazing birds soon again.
The entire gallery along with some shots from the previous year can be found here, below are some sample shots.
Till the next report,
Shwetha & Keshav (Avani in car for most of it!!)