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‘Go & Show’: An ale going to the birds, firearm deer, ‘Illumination,’ sandhill cranes, lunar eclipse, owl prowl

Marsh Hawk Red Ale release to help northern harriers, “Illumination” opening at the Morton Arboretum, Illinois’ first firearm deer season Friday through Sunday, sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, a lunar eclipse viewing and an owl prowl are in “Go & Show.”

A female northern harrier in flight. Credit: Jamie Burning
A female northern harrier in flight.
northern harrier, marsh hawk, outdoors

I plan to be deer hunting all three days of Illinois’ first firearm deer season, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 19-21. But I will take some breaks to handle family events and some other things.

I am debating whether to take time Saturday for the release of Marsh Hawk Red Ale by Oak Brewing in Willow Springs. The release is built into a bunch of bird festivities, including release of the trailer for “ `The Magic Stump,’ a new documentary featuring harriers and other rare raptors that visit an Illinois prairie in wintertime.”

Maybe I will get my deer early and have the weekend for other things. (Surely I jest.)

This morning, I plan to attend the Chicago Fishing Advisory Committee meeting, the first in-person meeting in more than a year and a half.

For “Go & Show” this week, there’s the events around marsh hawks, the opening of ”Illumination” at the Morton Arboretum, a reminder that the count on sandhill cranes should be spiking over the next couple weeks (I usually make my annual sandhill-crane trek about around this time), a lunar eclipse viewing and an owl prowl.

DEER: Even people who aren’t hunters should also remember that the first firearm deer season is open Friday through Sunday in many counties. For me, it is my favorite time of the year.

MARSH HAWK: Details on the events and timing around the marsh hawk festivities are below, via Bob Dolgan, the talent behind “Monty and Rose:”

WILLOW SPRINGS, Ill. (Nov. 17, 2021) – A day of bird festivities are set for Saturday, Nov. 20, as Imperial Oak Brewing in Willow Springs releases Marsh Hawk Red Ale, a tribute to the state endangered Northern Harrier, aka the Marsh Hawk, a slim hawk of Illinois marshes, prairies and farm fields. Marsh Hawk Red Ale features hints of cranberry, cinnamon and vanilla and is designed to pair with a hearty autumn meal. Northern Harriers are among the species threatened by the possible removal of Bell Bowl Prairie, an ancient gravel prairie at Chicago Rockford International Airport. The prairie’s been given a reprieve until March 1 as the airport and other officials further study the plan to place a new road at the site for the transport of cargo, however the Rockford Airport Authority stated last week that “There’s no way to remove [a proposed road] that doesn’t affect the prairie.”

The listing of activities and times is below:

Bird walk at Willow Springs Woods, near the intersection of Flavin Road and Archer Avenue, at 8:30 a.m.

First tapping of Marsh Hawk Red Ale at Imperial Oak Brewing, 501 Willow Boulevard, Willow Springs, at 11 a.m.

Release of trailer for “The Magic Stump,” a new documentary featuring harriers and other rare raptors that visit an Illinois prairie in wintertime, at Imperial Oak Brewing, 501 Willow Boulevard, Willow Springs, at approximately noon.

Marsh Hawk Red Ale. Provided photo
Cans of Marsh Hawk Red Ale.
Provided

Marsh Hawk Red Ale will be available in cans and on tap at Imperial Oak’s locations in Willow Springs and Brookfield (9526 Ogden). The beer release follows the success of Piping Plover Pale Ale, another bird-inspired brew from Imperial Oak that’s a tribute to “Monty” and “Rose,” the endangered Piping Plovers that have captivated Chicagoans the past three summers.

A percentage of proceeds from Marsh Hawk Red Ale benefit efforts to save Bell Bowl Prairie from development at the airport. Just 20 or so acres of gravel prairie remain in all of Illinois. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Northern Harrier populations have declined by 47% since the 1960s due to habitat loss and pesticides. The species is found in only a few remaining locations in Illinois, including Bell Bowl Prairie.

Click here for a sneak peek at “The Magic Stump” trailer, featuring birder Tyler Funk.

For more information:

https://imperialoakbrewing.com/

www.themagicstump.com

https://www.savebellbowlprairie.org/

“Symphony Woods” (shown here in 2020) remains one of the favorites at “Illumination” at Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Credit: Dale Bowman
“Symphony Woods” (shown here in 2020) remains one of the favorites at “Illumination” at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
Dale Bowman

ILLUMINATION: The annual holiday festival of tree lights at Morton Arboretum begins Saturday, Nov. 20. It’s become an event that my wife and I find a good couples night. And we also see lots of extended families, as in three generations.

Details are below:

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns to walking trail Nov. 20

—Five new light displays and world music featured—

LISLE, Ill. (Nov. 17, 2021) — Those looking for a unique winter light show this year will find it in the ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, opening Nov. 20 with five new features and a curated selection of music from around the world along the walking path.

Illumination attendees will find familiar favorite features from previous years, as well as the newly created experiences of the Arboretum’s 26-foot tall Human+Nature Hallow sculpture lit at night, a glittering entry gateway, passage through 150 colorful lanterns, a blanket of white lights across a hilltop meadow and a conifer trail lined with dozens of spectacularly colored light reeds.

Arboretum Vice President of Learning and Engagement Preston Bautista, Ph.D., said that the use of music throughout the trail will immerse guests in the outdoor experience from beginning to end, while creating a welcoming feel for those from a variety of cultures and with different musical tastes. The wide variety of 20 selections include seasonal classics from The Nutcracker, festive music from cultures worldwide, as well as Harry Potter and Frozen 2 tracks.

Illumination runs from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2, 2022. Guests can warm up by crackling fires and roast marshmallows for s’mores, or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Also new this year is a special photo backdrop in Arbor Court. Returning favorites include Treemagination, Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, Ornament Hill, The Champion Tree, Enchanted Forest and Crown of Light.

The exhibition was custom designed and developed uniquely for The Morton Arboretum in partnership with international media and exhibit designers Lightswitch LLC and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.

Tickets are recommended to be purchased online in advance at mortonarb.org, since many nights traditionally sell out and tickets may not be available at the door. Ticket prices range from $8 to $24 per person. Children under age 2 will be admitted free of charge. Questions about the event can be directed to the Ticket Line at 630-725-2066.

Illumination will open each evening at 4:30 p.m., with last entry at 8:30 p.m. Lights go out at 9:30 p.m. The exhibition is closed Nov. 22, 25 (Thanksgiving) and 29, and December 6, 13, 24 (Christmas Eve) and 25 (Christmas Day).

Sandhill cranes flying into Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana. Credit: Dale Bowman
Sandhill cranes flying into Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Indiana.
Dale Bowman

SANDHILL CRANES: It’s been a slow start to the gathering of sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, southeast of Valparaiso, Ind. Normally this is about the time I trek over there. But I am waiting to see what the latest count is before I do that. The count normally occurs Tuesday morning, but this week is Thursday morning. If numbers come in, I will update here.

If going there, the best time to see the most sandhills is about an hour before sunset to sunset. It quiets down quickly when the sun goes down. If you want to make more of a day of it, drive around the backroads in the area before climbing the viewing tower, you will find cranes out in the fields.

Click here for more information on viewing the sandhills and the rare whooping crane at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.

ECLIPSE VIEWING, OWL PROWL: The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs holds Partial Lunar Eclipse Wiewing event tonight (well, early tomorrow morning). If I wasn’t driving to deer hunting then, I think I would be there. Registration is required at (708) 839-6897.

Registration required by Friday, November 19, by calling 708.946.2216 or online: https://apm.activecommunities.com/.../owl-prowl-for.../7892