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May 2021

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Zoom Program: Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Sight
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Bird Walk: Pecatonica River Forest Preserve
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Field Trip: Wildflowers & Birds of the Palisades
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Meeting: NIAS Board MeetingMeeting: NIAS Conservation CommitteeField Trip: A Stroll at Bald Hill Prairie Preserve
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Bird Walk: Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve
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Bird Walk: Krape Park
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Field Trip: An Evening of Birding at Lost Mound
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Bird Walk: Espenscheid Forest Preserve
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Full Moon Campfire at Elkhorn Creek
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Zoom Program: Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Sight

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
7 p.m.
Virtual via Zoom
Presenter: Mark H.X. Glenshaw

Mark H.X. Glenshaw is an award-winning naturalist who has closely observed and documented the lives of Great Horned Owls in Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri since December 2005. Mark does extensive outreach work with the owls. He leads dozens of owl prowls each year. He also gives scores of talks each year across Missouri and Illinois and beyond to a wide range of different institutions and organizations.

Mark’s talk, Forest Park Owls: Hiding In Plain Sight, will cover how he found these owls, basic facts about the species, and the different behaviors he has been able to see and document with photos and videos to illustrate these behaviors.

For all individuals who want to join the program, please email nwilaudubon@gmail.com to receive the link to join this Zoom program. This program will begin at 7:00 pm, first with any chapter announcements from the president and board members, followed by our presenter. There will be time for questions and discussions at the end. This program is open to the public!

Field TripsBird Walk: Pecatonica River Forest Preserve

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
8 – 11 a.m.
Leader: Richard Benning, 815-865-5279

Pecatonica River Forest Preserve (main entrance by the campground). A special bonus of this walk will be stunning wildflowers and perhaps singing frogs! Take Hwy. 20 east from Freeport and turn left (north) on Pecatonica Rd. Drive through the village of Pecatonica. After crossing the river continue north about 3 ½ miles until Brick School Rd. Turn right (east) and drive about 2 miles, then the road curves to the left (north). The entrance is about ¼ mile past the curve. Leader: Richard Benning (815-865-5279).

COVID Precautions: There will be no car-pooling, sharing of equipment, or group lunch out following the walks. Please bring your mask for times when physical distancing is not possible.

Field TripsField Trip: Wildflowers & Birds of the Palisades

Saturday, May 8, 2021
9 a.m. – noon
Mississippi Palisades State Park, Savanna, IL
Leader: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Each spring the Mississippi Palisades State Park just north of Savanna, is a destination for birders and botanists alike. Due to its unique topography, unusual birds such as the Yellow-throated Warbler and Northern Parula Warbler, and uncommon plants like Large-Flowered Trillium and Amethyst Shooting Star are found.
Bring your binoculars and a sack lunch if you would like to eat at the park after the field trip. Parts of the trail we’ll be on are steep and/or narrow so a hiking stick may be helpful.

Meet at the first parking lot inside the south entrance to the Mississippi Palisades State Park, about a mile north of Savanna just off of Hwy. 84.

Please confirm your attendance by calling Mary.

Field TripsField Trip: A Stroll at Bald Hill Prairie Preserve

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
9 a.m. – noon
Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Leaf River, IL (SE corner of Leaf River and West Grove Rds)
Leader: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204
This unit of the Byron Forest Preserve District in Ogle county is the site of the Illinois record Eastern Cottonwood tree. In addition to admiring the cottonwood, we’ll be looking for wildflowers and both resident and migrating songbirds on our walk through this grassland habitat.

Bring your binoculars, insect repellent and water (if desired). Be sure to wear a hat, long sleeves, long pants (light colored is best) and socks long enough to tuck your pant legs into (for tick avoidance).

Meet at our Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Leaf River, IL (SE corner of Leaf River and West Grove Rds) at 9 a.m. We’ll car-caravan to Bald Hill, only a 10 minute drive east. Confirm your attendance by calling Mary.

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Conservation Committee

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
6 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL

MeetingsMeeting: NIAS Board Meeting

Tuesday, May 11, 2021
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL

Field TripsBird Walk: Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve

Friday, May 14, 2021
8 – 11 a.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Leader: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds. The parking area is off of West Grove Rd. We also hope to observe blooming spring wildflowers. Be sure to wear a hat, long sleeves, long pants (light colored is best) and socks long enough to tuck your pant legs into (for tick avoidance). Leader: Mary Blackmore (815-938-3204).

COVID Precautions: There will be no car-pooling, sharing of equipment, or group lunch out following the walks. Please bring your mask for times when physical distancing is not possible.

Field TripsBird Walk: Krape Park

Thursday, May 20, 2021
8 – 11 a.m.
Krape Park, 1799 Park Blvd, Freeport, IL
Leader: Juliet Moderow, 201-233-0946

Krape Park, Freeport. Meet in the parking lot by the dam, first left after bridge and duck pond.

Every year our chapter schedules spring bird walks to leisurely observe, enjoy and learn about these migratory species.

COVID Precautions: There will be no car-pooling, sharing of equipment, or group lunch out following the walks. Please bring your mask for times when physical distancing is not possible.

Field TripsField Trip: An Evening of Birding at Lost Mound

Saturday, May 22, 2021
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Leader: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Join us as we travel alongside sand prairies, sand savannas and the mighty Mississippi in search of birds at the Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge just north of Savanna. Of primary interest will be the awesome courtship display of the Common Nighthawk, as well as vocalization of both Eastern Whip-poor-wills and American Woodcocks. There will be enough time to observe many of the grassland species of Lost Mound as well.
Meet in the parking area of the Fish and Wildlife office building at Lost Mound. The refuge entrance road is about nine miles north of Savanna on Hwy. 84. Turn left onto the refuge entrance road, cross the railroad tracks and continue up the hill. At the intersection at the top of the hill turn right and continue for about ½ mile. The parking area is on your left.
We’ll car-caravan on the paved roads and do little or no walking. Bring binoculars. The timing sequence will be songbirds, Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock and at the end, Whip-poor-wills. If you want to leave the caravan for an earlier departure you may do so. Call Mary to confirm your attendance.

Field TripsBird Walk: Espenscheid Forest Preserve

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
8 – 11 a.m.
Harry and Dorothy Espenscheid Forest Preserve
Leader: Richard Benning (815-865-5279

Harry and Dorothy Espenscheid Forest Preserve, northeast of Freeport. Take Hwy. 75 east out of Freeport. From the junction of Hwy. 20 bypass and Hwy. 75, continue about 5 miles to Cedarville Rd. Turn right (east) on Cedarville Rd. and drive 4.2 miles to Eggert Rd. Turn left (north) on Eggert Rd. and go 1.8 miles to Farm School Rd. Turn right (east) and go .3 miles to the preserve parking area, on the north side of the road. Leader: Richard Benning (815-865-5279).

COVID Precautions: There will be no car-pooling, sharing of equipment, or group lunch out following the walks. Please bring your mask for times when physical distancing is not possible.

EventsFull Moon Campfire at Elkhorn Creek

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
7 p.m.
Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Forreston, IL (SE corner of West Grove and Freeport Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Full moon campfire at our Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve. At 7 p.m. we’ll take a leisurely stroll to observe blooming plants and resident birds. The campfire will start at 8 p.m. S’mores packets will be provided.
Bring a lawn chair, flashlight and water (if desired). Please bring your mask for when physical distancing is not possible. The preserve is located about 2 miles south of Leaf River (S. Main St. in Leaf River becomes Leaf River Rd.). The preserve parking lot is just off of Leaf River Rd. If the weather is questionable call Mary at 815-938-3204.