Heron Pond changes and the beginning of swan season

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Got an email from George G about the changes that have been made at the Heron Pond……… and not for the better in his opinion.

He makes a good case as to the number of birds that used the Heron Pond before the COE took out the willows so shorebirds would use the pond. He reminded me about how the birds would be within feet of his chair blind and how he did not have to have a lens above a 300.  He did not have to use his extenders just to get a shot. Can’t say he is wrong since I cut my photographic teeth at the Heron Pond with the 100-400 and only needed the 500 for …. get this….shorebirds.

He pointed out that the pond is now set up for ‘car based’ bird watchers using 20x-60x spotting scopes. The rules about paths and all make even long lens a bit marginal. I know that the changes prompted me to buy long glass and I have an even longer lens on order for use during swan and eagle season.

George said his contacts up north reported that the swans were beginning to flock up and that it shouldn’t be too long before they headed our way.

For the record, my earliest swan images were of a small family group on October 26. I looked at the calendar and that is only a couple days away. I look for November to be the real beginning for swans and eagles but it would be exciting to see those big white birds on Friday since I have the day off.  🙂

Morning at Pere Marquette

We have a custom of going to Pere Marquette State Park on the 3rd weekend of October. In the past it was our ‘last’ outing before duck season made Molly a ‘duck hunting widow’ but now it is our fall foliage road trip.

Saturday started overcast which was contrary to the forecast we heard Friday night. The overcast was high enough to give us soft light but we were looking forward to bright fall colors. Considering the summer drought, the leaves colors were actually pretty good. Temperatures were a bit chilly but still comfortable if the wind wasn’t blowing.

After photographing on the high hill/bluffs there is the added bonus of a great hot breakfast at the Pere Marquette Lodge. Hits the spot and then some. On the way home we always stop at an old barn type structure and an old house that is across from one of the Illinois wildfowl hunting  areas. Light is usually a bit harsh but — you take the picture when you are there anyway.

Grafton had a mountain man rendezvous but it was looking pretty crowded so we chose to head to Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I wanted to see if the duck population was increasing (duck season starts Nov 3) . Yep, there were ducks but they were way out in the middle of Heron Pond. Since Heron Pond becomes a refuge from Oct 15 to April 15– no opportunity to get any photographs. The Heron Pond parking lot was all we had access to on that day.

Molly took a picture of one of the most visually appealing bridges in my humble and oft disputed opinion….The Clark Bridge that connects Missouri with Alton, Illinois. We both love to see that bridge in any type of weather and day or night.

Anyway here are Molly’s photos from the road trip– hit back button after image loads to return to this page.



Cross Country

Zachary Barron makes the turn to the finish line.

This last Saturday Molly and I went to the last cross country meet for the Farmington Middle School cross country team. Our nephew, Zachary (12 years old) is in his first year of running and has cut his times in every race. He may not ever win a race but he loves running.

One of the neatest things in the meet was the kid that came in last– probably a full minute after the next to last runner crossed the finish line was cheered and encouraged to finish the race with the same enthusiasm as if he was the front runner. If you ever get to attend one of these races do it.