Yesterday, when the dense fog finally burned off, we had a beautiful day for the SLAS annual Birding trip to Baldwin Lake/Kaskaskia River State FWA and Peabody River King State FWA in Illinois. We had 9 people (plus 2 others briefly at Baldwin Lake) enjoy the outing. Our fearless leader Mike Grant was sick, but we did well with the expertise of Rad Wilmer and the Friedel family and their scopes which they shared. At Baldwin Lake, we tallied 34 species, at Peabody, 28 Short-eared Owl though.  We saw so many thousands of Snow Geese that we finally gave up trying to estimate numbers. Michelle, our official eBird recorder, said, “Um...eBird won’t let me record a quantity of 100,000 for Snow Geese..”..  She ended up just marking the species with an X and put 50-100,000 in the comments section. (Though I’m pretty sure the number was closer to MY estimate  of 200,003).

After an amazing lunch at J and T Caliber Grill at the Rifle Range, we continued on to Peabody River King, where we tromped through, and drove through, a lot of mud.  Mike, you would have croaked to get all this thick gray clay/mud caking the wheel wells of my car, on your precious white van. Not sure how I will get rid of it....  Unfortunately the Short-eared Owls did not make an appearance. The huge skeinsof Snow Geese continued until we left after dark.when I pulled in to my driveway at about 7:30 pm, I heard Snow Geese overhead...or was it my imagination?

Susan Eaton
St. Louis CO, MO
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