Sometimes, you just go with what you get in outdoor quests.
On Friday, we never found a gray partridge in Lee County, the Bureau County bear or the snowy owl near Ransom in LaSalle County.
But we did find my first confirmed Eurasian collared doves while taking a side trip at the end through the tiny town of Ransom in LaSalle County.
Let me start at the beginning.
Before dawn Friday, Andy Sigler and I met at Joel Greenberg's house in Westmont, then started west on a quest to find gray partridge in Lee County. Sigler and Greenberg are two of the top birders in Illinois. Greenberg is a friend. It was the first time I met Sigler.
Our original quest was to find gray partridge. Greenberg had asked me to post a request for information in October. Faithful reader Mike Cardona came through with a good tip for gray partridge near Green River SWA.
Sigler had done a preliminary attempt a week earlier. We gave it a hard couple hours Friday without seeing any.
So, and this is why I like doing outdoor quests with people with Sigler and Greenberg, we all agreed a drop down to Bureau County to try to find the bear there.
It made sense. To us at least.
So we did. Without bear success, but saw some wonderful country.
Then we swung along the Hennepin Canal (saw half a dozen eagles), then a fine back road drive along the Illinois River between Depue and Spring Valley (saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers).
Again, we changed plans and decided to try to find the snowy owl that Robert Kelly had reported (check it out here) near Ransom.
On a windy day, our chances weren't good and we never relocated it.
So, I easily convinced them to swing through Ransom.
Just after we saw the town's historic water tower, we located a first for me anyway, several Eurasian collared doves.
Sigler leaned out the window and took the photo above of one for me. Also mixed in with them was some sort of hybrid ringed turtle dove.
It was time.
But on the way home, we made one last swing through country roads for a last chance at the snowy owl. That didn't happen, but we did see an unidentified merlin or falcon.