NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

KD Park and North Branch Conservation Area

I've had to work every other day this week and it's been in the 90's every day so I've stuck close to home for my walks. I hit the North Branch Conservation Area which is part of the Grand Illinois Trail that runs through Richmond, Illinois and Genoa City, Wisconsin before turning back toward Hebron. They've done some prairie restoration out there and there are lots of birdhouses and wildflowers along the trail which is used by hikers, bikers, and snowmobiles in the winter.

We had rain the night before for the first time in two weeks and the birds were very active.  I know very little about birds but would like to learn, so if I've identified these birds incorrectly please let me know! It looks like the first picture is of tree swallows, I can't tell what the one by the hole of the birdhouse is unless it's a juvenille tree swallow. I was about to give up on the second one until I got almost to the back of the National Geographic Field Guide and determined it must be a Dickcissel. What a pretty call it has!

This morning my neighbor and I checked out KD Park, a new Kenosha County Park on Route KD. Very original name, isn't it? A former gravel quarry, the KD Park encompasses 234 acres of land and a 39-acre lake.  A 36-acre wetlands within the park has been identified as a critical species habitat  because the site supports two rare bird species (Forster's Tern and Great Egret).  It also supports a healthy tick population because Margie found two on her in my car on our way home! Somehow I was spared, even though I kept nosing around on the edges of the 2.5 mile trail looking for wildlife.

And in my front yard this morning I found these guys foraging in the flower beds. The little one might be a chipping sparrow, but I checked two different field guides and the internet without determining what the gray one is. Help me! I'm getting ready to run some errands now and might stop at the McDonald Woods in Lake Villa, Illinois. Hopefully I'll see wildlife and not a red-haired clown!

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