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Elgin - Bluff Spring Fen, Midwest United States (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Elgin - Bluff Spring Fen, Midwest United States

Map of Elgin - Bluff Spring Fen, Midwest United States



Spotted Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) - Eastern Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) - Slaty Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) Female
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) Male

Growing up in the area, Bluff Spring Fen was known as the abandoned quarry, and there was plenty of summer partying going on during my high school years. The disused land became a Illinois Nature Preserve in 1987 mainly due to the presence of rare prairie plants. After years of restoration, the fen is now one of the premier birding areas in the region.


I recently visited the fen, and I found several birds that can be difficult to find in the area including Indigo Buntings, Eastern Wood Pewee, Green Heron, and Belted Kingfisher. Other birds included American Goldfinch, House Wren, Double-crested Cormorant, Northern Flicker, Common Grackle (including a grackle with white wing feathers), Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Savannah Sparrow, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Downy Woodpecker. You might be able to see some fairly tame White-tailed Deer. Some of the cooler looking plants are in a sandy area near the southwest corner of the reserve.


To get to the reserve, you must park inside the Bluff City Cemetery. Hours are seasonal and posted at the entrance. There is an exit for Bluff City Blvd. from Rt. 20. It is also possible to access the reserve from Gifford Road, but don't park your car for risk of tow.


Species Recorded (47)

Birds ( 43 )

Cormorants ( Phalacrocoracidae )
Double-crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritus

Herons ( Ardeidae )
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias
Green Heron - Butorides virescens

Swans, Geese, and Ducks ( Anatidae )
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos

New World Vultures ( Cathartidae )
Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura

Kites, Hawks, Eagles, and Allies ( Acciptridae )
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis

Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers ( Laridae )
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus

Pigeons and Doves ( Columbidae )
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura

Kingfishers ( Alcedinidae )
Belted Kingfisher - Megaceryle alcyon

Piculets and Woodpeckers ( Picidae )
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker - Picoides villosus

Tyrant Flycatchers ( Tyrannidae )
Eastern Wood-Pewee - Contopus virens

Swallows ( Hirundinidae )
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - Stelgidopteryx serripennis

Jays and Crows ( Corvidae )
American Crow - Corvus brachyrhynchos
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata

Chickadees and Titmice ( Paridae )
Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus

Nuthatches ( Sittidae )
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis

Wrens ( Troglodytidae )
House Wren - Troglodytes aedon

Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers ( Sylviidae )
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Polioptila caerulea

Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
Eastern Bluebird - Sialia sialis
American Robin - Turdus migratorius

Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Allies ( Mimidae )
Gray Catbird - Dumetella carolinensis
Brown Thrasher - Toxostoma rufum

Starlings and Mynas ( Sturnidae )
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris

Wood-warblers ( Parulidae )
Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas

Grosbeaks and Buntings ( Cardinalidae )
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis
Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus ludovicianus

Brushfinches, Seedeaters, Sparrows, and Allies ( Emberizinae )
Henslow's Sparrow - Ammodramus henslowii
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
Savannah Sparrow - Passerculus sandwichensis
Eastern Towhee - Pipilo erythrophthalmus
American Tree Sparrow - Spizelloides arborea
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis

American Blackbirds and Orioles ( Icteridae )
Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
Baltimore Oriole - Icterus galbula
Orchard Oriole - Icterus spurius
Brown-headed Cowbird - Molothrus ater
Common Grackle - Quiscalus quiscula

Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis

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