A Little Time and a Keyboard: A Ramble of Discovery Izaak Walton in Des Plaines, Illinois

Sunday, November 21, 2021

A Ramble of Discovery Izaak Walton in Des Plaines, Illinois

A Ramble of Discovery Izaak Walton in Des Plaines, Illinois

Izaak Walton League in Des Plaines maintains a property rich in diverse wildlife nestled along the Des Plaines River. Additionally, the league's clubhouse is a historic home constructed in the 1850's. So, the entire property lends itself to an interesting adventure residents may not realize exists in Des Plaines.

Exploring the variety of landscapes throughout the Izaak Walton property in Des Plaines, IL
Exploring the variety of landscapes throughout the Izaak Walton property.

The Des Plaines Chapter of Izaak Walton League was formed in 1926 and obtained use of the land and historic home in 1929. With a mission of protecting our soil, water, woodlands, air and wildlife, the Des Plaines Chapter embarked on a journey of improving our natural world. The Izaak Walton League is a national conservation organization with chapters across the country.

The 1850s home of the Jefferson family.
The 1850's home of the Jefferson family.

I met my friend, owner of The Wildbird Shack and birder, Alyse Burman for a meander about the property. She visited previously and was impressed by the range of bird species she saw present. So, I was happy that she was able to lead me on a tour of the property! We began by checking out the gorgeous 1850's home. This spot once was the homestead of Hiriam Jefferson and his family who came from Vermont and established a dairy farm on the land.

Admiring the view at Izaak Walton.
Admiring the view at Izaak Walton.

As we rambled along the trails of the property, I quickly became enamored wondering how I had missed this treasure for so long! At first, we did not note many birds but we did observe other interesting elements including tree burls, lichens, beautiful fall colors, clusters of goldenrods gone to seed, unique tree cavities, deer tracks, and more. 

Black walnuts were sprinkled at the foot of a black walnut tree at Izaak Walton.
Black walnuts were sprinkled at the foot of a black walnut tree at Izaak Walton.

We did find a number of black walnuts on the ground at the foot of a black walnut tree. Little discoveries like this help learn more about the environment. When visiting a preserve like Izaak Walton, take time to simply observe. You never know what you find! 

Mallards enjoying a swim in the Des Plaines River.
Mallards enjoying a swim in the Des Plaines River.

Approaching the Des Plaines River, we noted more birds particularly woodpeckers. In the river, we discovered a number of mallards enjoying a swim. 

Fall colors blazed across the Des Plaines River at Izaak Walton League.
Fall colors blazed across the Des Plaines River.

Along another section of the Des Plaines River, we admired a smattering of fall colors across the river.  While meandering along the river, Alyse spotted a white-throated sparrow bopping from branch to branch. I managed to catch a snap!

A white-throated sparrow pauses on a branch.
A white-throated sparrow pauses on a branch.

Nearby, we spied a downy woodpecker. We enjoyed watching the woodpecker drill for bugs. 

A downy woodpecker drills for bugs.
A downy woodpecker drills for bugs.

Our visit to Izaak Walton League in Des Plaines bestowed upon us such a tranquil nature journey full of discoveries. If you have the opportunity for a little nature wander, consider taking a trip to Izaak Walton in Des Plaines. The organization also has events throughout the year as well as membership opportunities. 

A Ramble of Discovery Izaak Walton in Des Plaines, Illinois


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