Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Greater Prairie-Chicken, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area

This weekend I went to Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Illinois with my Avian Conservation class that I'm taking at IU.  We arrived Saturday afternoon and birded the area for a couple of hours.  The highlight was seeing one Loggerhead Shrike and running across a flock of 200+ American Golden-Plovers.  We also had a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds and a large flock of 50+ American Pipits.  The next morning we arrived early to view the lek of Chickens at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area.  The male chickens start displaying early and soon after the females arrive.  This ritual goes on day after day during the early spring.  After getting our fill of the displaying chickens we birded around the area again.  We ended up getting about 6 Henslow's Sparrows, one of our targets, but none allowed good views.  We also went back to the Loggerhead Shrike spot but instead of there being one, there were two calling back and forth to each other.  After searching for Brewer's Blackbirds we finally found a small flock with one female and probably a couple of males but they took flight too soon to sort through all of them.

Greater Prairie-Chicken:  this was taken a few years ago from the blinds
-Eric

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