The Illinois River Valley offers a variety of habitats from floodplain forest, wetland and open water. This section of the Illinois River Valley at Chautauqua and Emiquon National Wildlife Refuges in central Illinois is surely one of the state’s top hotspots for birds. Early March is a fantastic time to locate large flocks of waterfowl including congregations of Snow Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese and Canada Geese. We will scour through these flocks to find less common Ross’s and Cackling Geese. A wide diversity of puddle ducks and divers are expected as well as swans, raptors, pelicans, overwintering sparrows and early migrant shorebirds such as Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson’s Snipe.
The group will meet at Riverfront Park in Havana, Illinois, where we will load into a 15-passenger van. First destination will be the levies at Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. We will then travel to areas around The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve and Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge for more birding and lunch.
Spotting scopes would be helpful for waterfowl species, but please be prepared to carry your gear and other necessary items.
NOTE: the van will leave from Springfield at 7:30 a.m. Anyone wishing to leave their cars at IAS HQ and board from there is welcome to do so.
Field Trip Leader: Jo Fessett and Brian “Fox” Ellis
Cost of trip includes transportation by van, lunch, water and snacks
Maximum Field Trip Capacity: 12
Photo of Ross’s Goose by Bob Schifo (Middlefork Audubon Society)