My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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Exploring Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

Published March 30, 2013
Tags: Parks and Preserves, INWR, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, American Kestrel, Brown Creeper, Red-tailed Hawk, Short-eared Owl, Northern Harrier, Northern Shrike, Horned Lark

My son and daughter joined me on a hike through Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge yesterday. The weather was beautiful and signs of spring were starting to appear despite the lingering winter birds. We added 6 lifers to my daughter's life list and 3 to my son's.

At Swallow Hollow, I saw my FOY Brown Creeper and a very vocal Red-tailed Hawk. In a neighboring marsh, a Great Blue Heron was fishing right out in the open, giving us a leisurely opportunity to watch him as he caught and ate several fish. We passed a male American Kestrel perched on a wire on our way there too. Unfortunately, he had the sun behind him, so we didn't capture any photos of that guy.

Our hike around Ring-necked Marsh yielded an Osprey! And although he was perched very high in a tree top, we got some great views. Along with hundreds of Canada Geese, we saw several Great Blue Herons here too. There were a couple of Mallards mixed in with the geese, but nothing else of interest.

When we arrived at the location where Short-eared Owls have been known to frequent, there was already a small group of folks with a scope on an owl who was perched out in the field. Soon, other owls joined him and the hunts were underway. It was exciting to see my daughter's obvious thrill at seeing these guys for the first time.

At the same location, we were treated to 2 other noteworthy birds: a Northern Harrier joined the owls in their hunt for voles and a Northern Shrike was perched far out in the field.

On our way out, we saw movement in a farmer's field and pulled over to confirm our suspicion: Horned Larks were still about. That topped off my daughter's life list additions at #6 for the day!


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Great Blue Heron - preparing to strike
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Jabbing at a fish
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Gone in a flash!
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Beautiful plumage
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A fly-by by a Great Blue a little earlier at Ring-necked Marsh
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Osprey
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Osprey
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Osprey
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Brown Creeper
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Northern Harrier
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Northern Harrier
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Northern Harrier
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl
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Froggie near the water at Ring-necked Marsh
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Horned Lark
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Horned Lark