Quote of the week: They don’t make root beer like this anywhere else.

Roy Miller and family celebrate 50 years running a Dog N Suds in Ingleside, Illinois. At its heyday, more than 600 Dog N Suds operated int he U.S. Today, only about 14 are left and Miller’s is one of them. Read more.   Below, Roy’s daughter, pours a draft root beer, made the same way it was five decades ago. Photo by Sheryl DeVoreIMG_7627

Quote of the week:I’m sure this is unprecedented that piping plovers are nesting on a Superfund site

  • pipingploverhenneghanBrad Semel in an article I wrote entitled, “Rare birds nesting at hazardous cleanup site in Waukegan”

Two more federally endangered birds have returned to Lake County, but the future of their nesting site remains undecided.

Last year, a pair of piping plovers nested at Illinois Beach State Park along Lake Michigan in Zion. And despite the fact that a peregrine falcon snatched the adult male before the chicks were born, all four young shorebirds survived — and one was even found wintering in Georgia.

This year, two of those chicks, now adults, returned to nest on the formerly asbestos-ridden Johns Manville property in Waukegan, the site of a federal Superfund project to clean up hazardous materials. The nesting site is about a half-mile from where they were born.

For the rest of the story,  click here.

Photo of piping plover at Johns Manville in Waukegan by John Henneghan

May 2 — Grunting rails and sea of woodland white

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Happy second day of May — I chose to walk through Wright Woods today in Vernon Hills — Of course I was hoping for an influx of migrant birds — but it was fairly quiet — save for a few cool experiences I’ll reveal later on. But the most breathtaking moment, one I just cannot capture in film was the sea of white — the great white trillium carpeting the forest floor. If you have not been to Wright Woods in early May to see the trillium — get yourself there now. They don’t last long. They are in full bloom now and soon they will start to turn pink and wither.

Singing in the woodlands today were yellow-rumped and palm warblers, a northern waterthrush and two dueling yellow warblers —  I heard them singing from a shrub row off the path and hiked in to watch two males flying to and fro and shouting out their songs.   Yellow warblers sing sweet, sweet, sweet, sweeter than sweet, but they also sing a song similar to that of a chestnut-sided warbler — they were doing both today — so of course I had to get off the path to confirm 😉 My reward for getting off the path — two big deer ticks. I know ticks are nature, too, but still — I think it’s going to be a bad tick year.

Another little off the beaten path revealed a pair of wood ducks and a beaver — who realized I was there and swam out of sight, flapping his flat tail behind him.

So now for the grunting rails — while walking along some wetland/cattail areas at Half Day Woods, connected to Wright Woods, I heard a loud grunting noise — followed by another nearby.  I peered in between the cattails to see one rail  dashing after another. They continued their gruntings for a bit — I tired to join in, but they knew I was an imposter.

Here’s a link to the crazy sounds of Virginia rails.

This was really a cool and lucky find — they just decided to get “mad” at each other while I was walking by.

You just never know what you’ll find when you’re out in the wild — and to add joy to the day I met some lovely bird monitors and had a lovey chat with Jackie Dann about life, nature and birds.

Happy May 2.