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)

1 comment:

Chesney said...

If I could enjoy everyday that sunset plus an island of birds I would be one happy camper! Wow, that sunset is glorious!