The Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones hosts a spring nature walk to view the wildflowers, birds and scenery from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Reed-Turner Woodland, 3849 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove.
Sarah Schultz, habitat restoration volunteer for the Lake County Forest Preserve District and Reed-Turner Nature Preserve, will be the guide. Families are welcome to this free event. Registration is not required. Call (847) 438-4743 for directions.
Reed-Turner Woodland is ideal for nature walks, birding, and photography. The beauty of the site and its extensive array of flora and fauna make it a must-see destination.
The real jewel of Reed-Turner, however, is the wildflowers of spring.
"We have more wildflowers than anybody," said Jane Wittig, president of the Long Grove Park District and one of the site's co-stewards. "I defy you to find anyone who has more wildflowers."
"There's something in bloom, really, from mid-April way into the fall," said Barbara Turner, namesake and donor of the property.
More than 116 species of birds have been observed in the preserve, including resident populations of waterfowl and herons. Many common woodland mammals also live in the area.
"We have a good resident bird group -- woodpeckers, finches, red-tailed hawks, Cooper's hawks, and mallards that nest along the creek," Turner said, illustrating why the preserve, which also hosts a vibrant wave of migrant warblers, is so popular among birders.
Other summertime residents include indigo bunting, red-eyed vireo, and great crested flycatcher.
Thousands of years have passed since the retreat of Ice Age glaciers. The topography of what is now the Reed-Turner Woodland has actually changed little since then. The preserve is located along a deeply incised branch of Indian Creek, a remnant of a pre-settlement prairie grove.
Small portions of floodplain and upland forest still exist, along with remnants of savanna and prairie vegetation. Oaks and hickories dominate the upland areas while the floodplain contains black willow, green ash and black walnut.
The North Ridge Trail runs along a moraine, through oak woodland and then open bur oak savanna. The trail then crosses Indian Creek over a wooden boardwalk and runs along a deep natural ravine corridor.
The site contains an interesting wet meadow that is dominated by sedges, rushes and a few wetland forbs such as meadow rue, marsh aster, and curly dock. A recent Sedge Meadow Restoration project revitalized 16 beautiful acres of sunny, well-vegetated native sedge meadow, floodplain corridor and ravine tributaries.