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.

Think Twice Before Your Next Sip and Skip the Straw Instead

2/19/2019

Next time you order a drink from a restaurant, think twice before you unwrap the straw. Americans use millions of straws a day, and many of them end up as litter, eventually making their way into ours lakes and rivers. National Skip the Straw Day, held every February, aims to change that. 

Read More


Creature Feature: The Wacky Woodcock

2/19/2019

The American woodcock is related to the sandpiper, but you wouldn't know it based on its behavior. Woodcocks are known for their unusual antics, including elaborate and sometimes noisy "sky dances" and a weird walk to help them find food.

Read More


Skip the Stink: How to Keep Stink Bugs at Bay

2/15/2019

Winter is stink bug season, at least indoors. If you are finding these bugs around your house, don't squish them or step on them unless you're prepared for their noxious odor. Instead, your best bet is to prevent them from getting inside your house in the first place.

Read More


The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates