Date: 7/31/17 10:46 am From: <BFisher928...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...> Subject: IBET Hennepin Hopper on Saturday
Karen and I visited one of our favorite birding places - Hennepin-Hopper, aka the Dixon Waterfowl Refuge - last Saturday morning. As always, we were not disappointed! One or more juvie Least Bitterns made sporadic short flights over the cattails, at least one (and probably more) C Gallinules foraged in among the coots, at times standing on top of the weed mat, a pair of Ring-billed Gulls were courting (I wonder if they nest somewhere on the refuge?) and the Purple Martins plus other swallows swarmed over the weeds and mud, picking off the abundant flying insects. Ducks were few, mostly Woodies.
But the most visually stunning sight was the thousands of lotus blossoms which literally covered portions of the lake, their bright flowers and enormous leaves swaying in the light breeze. I don't think there's anywhere else in this end of Illinois that puts on a lotus display of this magnitude?
We scoped the water and the mud islands from the boat launch parking lot, frustrated as usual by not being able to see the west sides of those mud islands. But TWI has a plan to fix that: An elevated platform located close to shore and a bit south of the parking lot. Thanks to a match opportunity they received, TWI is now running a small scale fundraiser to build that platform. Details are at the TWI website, in the birding-platform campaign tab. http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/birding-platform-campaign
Hope you will consider chipping in to help build this birder friendly platform. Karen and I already have. Purely selfishly, we want to see all those rare birds, waterfowl, gulls, shorebirds, etc., that manage to hide just out of our view on the currently invisible W side of the islands. We just know they're there. Who knows, maybe a state first (you fill in the species) will at last be visible when the platform is up this fall!
I believe the match opportunity ends on 8/15
Bob and Karen Fisher Downers Grove DuPage County (but our favorite birding 'home away from home' is H-H in Putnam County)