birder2 has been telling me about this great place for birdwatching, just a few miles from my house, where the Great Blue Herons have a colony of nests, for a couple of years. But the road to the place has been under construction and it's been more or less impossible to get there. The construction is finished, though, and she finally took me there. For my own reference, and perhaps of interest to other people reading this, you get there by taking Henning Road north from US 150 (just east of the M.L.King exit on I-74) past the entrance to Kennekuck Cove County Park, take the first right (2300 N), then the first left, and then after a mile or so, right on West Newell Road, following the sign to Heron Park. (I believe West Newell Road can also be reached from the other side, from Illinois Rt. 1, but that involves going through Danville.
I'll set the stage with some pictures of the area. This is in the artificial swamp at the north end of Lake Vermilion, the water supply for Danville. When you first arrive, you have a view of this fairly nice observation tower:
(The funny looking blob in the sky to the left of the tower is not a bird, nor yet a plane, it is a speck of dirt on the lens, or perhaps on the sensor. I really need to do a better job keeping my equipment clean. Hopefully the shame of having to make this disclaimer will help.)
In addition to the observation tower, there is a nice floating boardwalk; it's only maybe a quarter of a mile long, but this is a minor county park in my poor county right here in central Illinois, not a national park, and I'm pretty impressed with it.
Here's a view of a chunk of the boardwalk from up in the tower:
I have a bunch more pictures to share, but I want to spend some time outdoors today, and this (as always) is taking way too long. I will try to post some exciting bird pictures this evening; I will get to them soon if not today.