In contrast to the rather gloomy mornings in Illinois, the sun prepared to rise into a placid blue sky.
We did keep an eye out on our back yard lake, and on the day of our arrival were greeted by herons, ibises and this Pied-billed Grebe:
The grebe, usually a rather shy creature, swam right up to the edge of our lawn:
White Ibises foraged in the turf...
...and perched on our neighbors' roofs.
An Anhinga dried its wings while roosting on our neighbor's goose decoy, which serves as a float for the intake of their lawn irrigation system.
Another neighbor's Snow Goose decoy had broken loose and greeted us at the water's edge:
A Double-crested Cormorant sat on our duck decoy and allowed me to approach rather closely.
Finally it became alarmed by my presence and launched clumsily into flight...
...splattering and splashing before gaining altitude.
On our way to the Post Office we visited the local Bald Eagle nest, where we found both adults. The female was sometimes deep in the nest, leading to speculation that she had possibly laid the first egg, an event that usually occurs in early to mid-December. However, she did not stay down consistently, and when we checked again neither adult was visible on or near the nest.
After a three-day delay, we set out for the wetlands before sunrise. I captured a glimpse of the pre-dawn color through the space between our house and that of our next door neighbor. Next week I'll have a full report of our sightings.