Kane County Audubon Society birders on east trail at Nelson Lake:
The eastern portion of Nelson Lake/Dick Young Kane County (Illinois) Forest Preserve offers a greater variety of habitats than the newly developed northern and western part of the preserve. As noted im my previous post, the latter area is dominated by tall grass prairie. Interfaces between different habitats are usually more ecologically diverse. On the east side there are many more “edges” to explore, between the lake, wetlands, woodlands and grasslands.
This panoramic view was taken from the entrance path, facing to the west. Directly in front is the observation platform that overlooks the lake. Extensive woodlands encircle the lake, and grasslands are on both sides, to the south and north. A 3 1/2 mile mowed path follows the lake’s perimeter.
Click for a scrolling panorama at http://clvr.eu/acc (reduce image size to better appreciate the view):
The grasslands on the east side of Nelson lake are not extensive enough to attract Bobolinks and Henslow’s Sparrows, but during spring and summer we usually hear a half dozen Sedge Wrens singing
next to the entrance path.
Four male Sedge Wrens were still singing on August 18th:
The Kane County Audubon Society sponsors 8:00 AM field trips on the first Saturday of each month. In November, the general public is invited to participate in “scope day,” when members bring their spotting scopes and array them on the metal deck, where the lake and wetlands may be conveniently scanned.
Scope Day, back in November, 2007:
Last week, we arrived at the observation deck early, and saw this Coyote hunting along the shore of Nelson Lake:
A family of Eastern Kingbird fledglings waited patiently to be fed:
Backlighted by the low sun, a third chick readily accepted an insect treat:
A red-eyed Eastern Towhee scolded us from a nearby bush:
A Brown Thrasher glared at us with white eyes:
A Gray Catbird showed us its reddish under-tail coverts:
A molting Indigo bunting craned his neck, as if to get a better look at us:
It is hard to turn down an American Goldfinch photo opportunity:
Back at our condo, a male American Kestrel hunting for grasshoppers posed on a painted post just outside our front door, but his mate was out of camera range: