A Little Time and a Keyboard: Thriving Restoration at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary in Dundee, Illinois

Thriving Restoration at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary in Dundee, Illinois

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

 

Thriving Restoration at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary in Dundee, Illinois treats visitors to a peaceful spot for hiking, birding, biking, horseback riding and fishing.
Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary Treats Visitors to a Peaceful Spot for Hiking, Birding, Biking, Horseback Riding and Fishing

On a warm, sunny spring day during the height of bird migration, we ventured to Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary in Dundee, Illinois for our first time. What once was a gravel mining site now is the location of a preserve established to provide vital habitat to birds and other wildlife. Additionally, the trails provide avenues of nature exploring and bird watching for visitors.

The ponds and wetlands at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary provide critical habitats for birds and other wildlife.
The ponds and wetlands at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary provide critical habitats
for birds and other wildlife.

When we first embarked on our hike, we encountered tree swallows gracefully flying down to the pond, probably scooping up an insect. I love the way swallows fly -- almost like a dance through the sky. Truly beautiful!

Some of the ridges at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.
Some of the ridges at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

Hiking on a Slightly Rolling Landscape

Soon we began our trek upon gravel trails noting a rolling landscape. Some of the trails featured the typical spring mud. However, only one section was impassable and we had to turn back. Overall, we enjoyed a 1.8-mile hike spotting and hearing wildlife along our route. 

A calm pond featured a chorus of frogs.
A calm pond featured a chorus of frogs.

The trails did feature a loop that seemed to be the more popular trail. However, we ventured on spindles when we could. Doing this, we encountered quite a peaceful section of the preserve where we watched gentle, sunkissed ripples in a pond as the frog chorus sang to us.

Viewing the sweeping vista of Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary from a trail on a ridge.
Viewing the sweeping vista of Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary from a ridge.

Walking upon one of the ridges at Jelke, we soaked in a magnificent vista. Such a serene moment! A large swath of the preserve unfolded before us. Even though the height of spring colors has yet to hit this preserve, the view still dazzled us.

An egret fishes in a pond at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.
An egret fishes in a pond at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

In the main pond, we spied both a cache of turtles and an egret. The egret fished as we watched. If there is a bird that can make fishing look graceful, it is an egret! Killdeer also flew around us and even pranced along the lakeshore for a bit. The ponds of Jelke Creek certainly are lively!

A turtle enjoys the sun in the main pond at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.
A turtle enjoys the sun in the main pond at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary features a restored gravel pit from its mining days and non-restored sections. The preserve is part of the Jelke Creek Watershed and the larger Fox River Watershed. Watersheds provide key habitats, sources of drinking water, resilience from storms and more. 

Conservation at Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary has crafted a fantastic spot maintaining vital habitat and welcoming sensible nature recreation. Birding, hiking, biking and horseback riding all are popular at the preserve. Additionally, several ponds permit fishing. Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary welcomed us to a preserve full of wildlife to enjoy on a lovely spring afternoon.


Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary Treats visitors Visitors to a Peaceful Spot for Hiking, Birding, Biking, Horseback Riding and Fishing


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