2021 marks the third year of Red Hill Birding and Illinois Audubon Society collaborating on a special joint field trip during the peak of shorebird migration to Chautauqua and Emiquon National Wildlife Refuges in Central Illinois.
This section of the Illinois River Valley is surely the state’s top hotspot (and among the best anywhere in the Midwest) for shorebirds. Mid-August is the time of both peak shorebird numbers and diversity. Puddle ducks are also arriving at this time to complete their molt. We will hope for excellent shorebird conditions at the refuges that will allow us to study in the ins and outs of shorebird identification and ecology with an expert guide. We will also search through the many Pectoral Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, and Killdeer for less common birds like Baird’s, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and Stilt Sandpipers, American Golden Plover, godwits, and phalaropes. Some days can net 20 or more species of shorebirds! We’ll also keep an eye out for other migrants like terns and wading birds, and some breeding species will still be around as well (possibly including Western Kingbird).
The trip cost includes two nights’ accommodations; meals from breakfast on August 21 through breakfast on August 22; and an expert guide from Red Hill Birding.
The trip will start on Friday night with orientation and owling, and will finish in the late morning on Sunday. In a nod to coronavirus, this is a self-driving trip.
Field Trip Leader: Adam Sell, Red Hill Birding
Cost: $490/person sharing; $590 in a single room
Maximum Field Trip Capacity: 8