The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

For First Time in Years, Red-Throated Loon Sighting Reported in Will County




(Photo courtesy of Jon Grainger via Will County Wildlife Facebook group)

There's a wide variety of bird species one can spot in the preserves, but every now and then, birders get a rare treat. Such was the case last week when a red-throated loon was seen hanging around Whalon Lake in Naperville.

The sighting was flagged on the District's Will County Wildlife Facebook group. Chris Gutmann, the facility supervisor for the District's Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, was out at Whalon Lake on Friday and confirmed it was indeed a red-throated loon.

According to eBird data, it's the first time the bird has been reported at Whalon Lake in seven years. The last time one was reported in Will County came in 2015 in Channahon at the Des Plaines Conservation Area.

In the Chicago area, red-throated loons normally don't migrate west of Lake Michigan, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

So why was it at Whalon Lake?

"I can say it’s not unheard of for species normally associated with large bodies of water to wind up at Whalon Lake," Gutmann said. "Sometimes birds get blown off course. Sometimes they simply get too tired and are forced to land. If this loon is a first-year bird, it may be still learning the ropes and hasn’t discovered Lake Michigan yet."

It's fairly common for migratory birds to get to a point where their energy reserves are spent and they need to take time to rest and refuel. That happens each year with American white pelicans at McKinley Woods in Channahon.

 

"Forest preserves, in general, are of paramount importance as stopover sites for migrating birds," Gutmann said. "Use as stopover sites is the reason the birding is so amazing in preserves during peak songbird migration in May and September. Many species of waterfowl are on the move right now, and they are fond of our old quarry lakes, like Whalon and Lake Renwick. More tantalizing sightings are likely still to come."

If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the red-throated loon, you're out of luck.

On Friday, just a day after it arrived, it was seen circling over the lake, gained altitude and headed east.

____________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to our digital newsletter, The Citizen. Signing up is easy, free of charge and provides subscribers with weekly updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family.

Don't Pitch Your Pumpkins; Put Them To Good Use

10/27/2020

Halloween is over, but you've probably still got some pumpkins on your porch. Rather than throw them out with next week's trash, put them to good use. 

Read More


Nature Curiosity: Why Is Blue So Rare in the Animal Kingdom?

10/24/2020

Creatures come in all sizes, shapes and colors, but not all colors are represented equally. Find out why blue is so rare in the animal kingdom.

Read More


Creature Feature: The Creepy, Crawly Wolf Spider

10/19/2020

With eight long legs, eight eyes and fangs for mouthparts, wolf spiders look scarier than they are. In reality, they aren't dangerous at all, and they play an important role in the ecosystem.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter