I went to a place called Almond Marsh Forest Preserve today, and it fits this description perfectly. Almond Marsh is the home of an active Great Blue Heron nesting site--called a rookery--in addition to a lake, some prairie, forest, and of course marsh that house tens of bird species during their breeding seasons. The cool thing about Great Blue Herons, for those of you who don't know, is that they nest at the tops of trees and giant tripods installed by a group of local birders that I went with today called the Lake County Audubon Society. At Almond Marsh, these structures are out at the middle of the lake, which is flanked by a parking lot, so the nesting herons are super-easy to see with binoculars or a spotting scope. This makes it easy to get a peak into the everyday lives of the birds in the process of raising young, and it's an amazing experience to watch from when the birds are incubating, like they were today, to when the young herons are just about ready to leave the nest.
|A Great Blue Heron. Image credit Wikipedia|
|male Gadwall. Photo Credit Wikipedia|
|male Wood Duck. Photo credit Wikipedia|
|Male American Wigeon. Photo credit Wikipedia|
|Wilson's Snipe. Image credit wikipedia|
The people in the Lake County Audubon Society are just great, and if any of you have even the slightest interest in birds and nature, I strongly encourage you to get out there on one of the saturdays before June (The Marsh is only open from 8 am till noon on Saturdays). There are some great birds out there. After getting 3 new birds for this year today, my Lake County year list is at 99 species, and my Illinois list is at 107 species. At Almond Marsh, the birding is easy, and you can see some great birds too. Maybe you'll run into me there too one day.