Over Labor Day weekend, I went "down South" to Southern Illinois. I always make the trip "home" over Labor day weekend for my daughter's birthday, and this year was no different.
We were going to do her birthday stuff (dinner, cake, presents, etc..) on Saturday, after which, she was supposed to be leaving for the weekend. However, something happened with her plans and she ended up sticking around for the weekend. So, that was nice...got to see the family and daughter over the long weekend.
Of course, as usual, I got about 3 calls over the weekend about things happening back here in Peoria...that weekend, there's always parties, cookouts, poker tournaments, etc... This year was no exception. I tried to talk one event organizer into having a card game "here". But, once "here" was defined as 4 hours South, things didn't go my way. haha!
Sunday evening, though, dad and I went driving around the National Wildlife Refuge around Crab Orchard Lake.
I always enjoy hitting that area around sunset. I'm sure it would be just as beautiful at sunrise...but, I'm never awake to see it. :-) I was hoping to get a really spectacular shot of a Snowy Egret, but didn't have any luck. I saw a few, but they were generally too far away, or if we had stopped and gotten out of the truck, I'm sure they would have taken flight (been there done that). I did get a shot of a Great Blue Heron, but it is far from spectacular.
There was one spot/scene that I am dying to get a shot of, at least under these conditions. As we were driving along the highway, we came across a cove that was LOADED with Snowy Egrets! There had to be 40+ birds there! Which, from what I have seen and from what I have read is somewhat unusual. The sun was setting, the trees lining the lake were in shadows, so the reflections in the water were pretty dark, but, it was peppered with all these beautiful white birds and their reflections (the water was like glass). But, since we were driving down the highway, we didn't stop right there. We did look for a way to get back there from a side road, but the only side road leading to that area has been closed off for several years now.
After that, we went back to the house, had beer and brats and just chilled for the rest of the evening. Monday, got up, mom made a huge breakfast, and we ate, then I headed out for the 4-hour trek North.
Nothing too eventful on the ride home, but I did see a buttload of cops and more motor homes/campers/boats than I could count. This is the first sign that it's time to start storing food for the long hibernation season that will be here before you know it.
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