Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Whalon Willets

My mouth watered all day as I went from meeting to meeting to meeting while watching reports of Willets along the lakefront steadily come in. Surely there had to be one nearby, but with my packed schedule I wasn't going to be able to do anything about it anyway. Then Andrew texted me that Jeff Smith had found some at Whalon Lake, which is less than a half hour away from Wheaton's campus. I still couldn't find a way to squeeze it in to my day though. Then miracle of all miracles, my afternoon class turned out to just be a workshop time. I pounded out what I needed to get done and headed off.

I pulled into Whalon with my window down, and as I approached the lake I could hear a shorebird-like call that I couldn't quite place - superficially like a yellowlegs, but not quite right for one. I looked up to see a substantial flock of large shorebirds gliding over the lake. When I got the binoculars on them, I saw uniform gray bodies interrupted by handsome patches of black and white in the wings - Willets, and 51 of them no less! I figured there was a pretty good chance of them lingering long enough for me to get to see them, but I had no idea how many to expect! Here they are in flight.

Whalon Lake, Will Co, IL
April 28, 2014

For the second time in as many days, timing worked out perfectly for me to get a nice addition to the year list. In looking at my list of 212 so far, I can already tell that hitting 300 is most likely going to be a matter of which shorebirds I can or cannot see, so I don't take these for granted at all!

I met up with Vida and Andrew at Whalon, and we decided to hop across the county line to see if any Willets had showed up at the 83rd St fluddle. Somehow, there were 51 just a mile away in Will County, but none whatsoever in DuPage. We did have a couple singing Yellow Warblers and a Black-and-White though.

ABA 2014: 234

Illinois 2014: 212

DuPage, IL: 102
Will, IL: 100