Riverlands is the Corps of Engineers’ gift to birders. Actually, it’s Congress’s gift to birders. Congress required that the Corps mitigate acre for acre the wetlands lost to the construction of Lock and Dam #26 at Alton, Illinois. Riverlands is the largest and most accessible of several mitigation areas. It is, in essence, the overflow lands behind the dam turned into a refuge. And, the refuge office posts a daily list, of which birds have settle where in the refuge.
Between December 14 and January 5 serious birders come to Riverlands for the Christmas bird count conducted annually by the Audubon Society.
Not a serious bird I go in hopes of spotting eagles: One lone bird sitting in a tree, but lots of gulls, mostly Herrin, some tundra swans, scads of Canada geese, a few mallards, and one great blue heron, with its neck scrunched down in the cold.