A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Mississippi River Birds
This past weekend Val and I joined up with friends and camped along the Mississippi River. They had a house boat and docked on a sandy beach on one of the many islands dotting the mighty Mississippi's thoroughfare, while we pitched a tent on the beach. We took a speed boat and explored along the Iowa and Illinois shores and came upon what they called "bird island" (Below, 8-7-10).
Two-thirds of "Bird Island"
"Bird Island" is a long strip of land (maybe a 1/2 mile long) on the Iowa side of the river which comprised of two areas of land with trees, connected in between by a sandbar. The photo above shows the sandbar on the left and the land mass to the north (right) of the sandbar. What was astounding is the number of birds inhabiting this place. Nesting in the taller trees with bare branches to the north of the sandbar were hundreds of Double-crested Comorants (Below top, 8-7-10) and in the shorter leafier trees a few dozen of Great Egrets (Below bottom, 8-7-10). Nesting in the trees (not shown in the photos) to the south of the sandbar were Commorants and at least one Bald Eagle. On the sandbar were a good number of American White Pelicans (the tiny white spots on the left in the photo above) and Canadian Geese. Throughout the entire stretch of the island were Ring-billed Gulls and a smattering of ducks, which I believe were our standard Mallards.
Double-crested Comorants nesting in some of the many trees of "Bird Island."
The tiny white spots are Great Egrets on "Bird Island."
"Bird Island" was quite a find housing all of these different species of water birds. I'll write more about these birds (with pics of course) in the next few days of this blog.
If you would like to see "Bird Island" for yourself, drive to the Savanna Marina, Illinois, just south of the Mississippi Palisades Illinois State Park. Take a boat south about nine miles and bird island will be on the Iowa side of the river. Even before you get to "Bird Island," you may spot several other large flocks of American White Pelicans. I'll showcase them in tomorrow's blog and throughout the week I'll showcase pics of Great Egrets, Double-crested Comorants, and Ring-billed Gulls.
Sunset from the beach of the Mississippi River Island (8-7-10)
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought my current lens, Sigma 150-500mm.