Al Stokie scans the open water at Hidden Lake woodland preserve in Downers Grove, trying to find whatever thing special among the many Canada geese and mallards. “You can’t have a kiskadee each day,” he pointed out. – Courtesy of Jeff Reiter
every post starts with “hiya chicken individuals” and ends along with his bird of the Day award. Sometimes, he’ll declare a flowery Pants bird of the Day, an honor reserved for a particularly staggering hen that catches his eye. Mammal sightings, quick meals preferences and weird license plates might also get a point out, too.
A Vietnam vet with a master’s degree in early up to date European heritage from Northwestern, Al spent his complete working career at DoALL Sawing products in Des Plaines (now Wheeling). His job involved “getting stories out and disbursed to the suitable individuals.”
hearing that made ideal sense. At 75, Al remains reporting.
The 12 months he retired, 2013, Al bought a Prius C that now activities 135,000 miles, reflective of his Iron Man birding ethic. Rain and snow may also alter his plans, however he nevertheless goes birding — some days solo and other days with a pal or two.
“What i like most is searching for anything birds i may discover. Day by day is distinctive!”
Ah sure, the quest. I will be able to feel birders nodding their heads. Most of us love that point of bird-gazing, peculiarly when a rare species comes to city.
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What sets Al apart, besides dogged persistence, is his humble acceptance of whatever a new day of birding might also convey. He’s a grasp of discovering little issues to have fun. Closing month, he went out of his technique to song down a reported killdeer — a standard shorebird it is fairly distinct in January. He diagnosed the importance of that fowl and needed to go see it.
very nearly a 12 months ago, in early March, Al challenged himself to look what number of types of ducks he could discover in a single day, traveling the Palos area. His ultimate-case situation, with good fortune, become 20 species. He discovered them all, and his postgame file offered a fascinating lesson in chicken-discovering strategy.
Rarities, of direction, get Al excited identical to the leisure of us. He commonly plans his birding around sightings gleaned the evening before from IBET, eBird or messages from his birding pals.
“i’ll are looking to chase a rarity but if there are none [being reported] then I could try a spot I have not been in a long time, or assess a place that should still be good for a undeniable species at that time of yr.”
occasionally his destination is a no brainer, because it was on Dec. 6, 2020, when Al made a beeline to Channahon for a mega-infrequent exquisite kiskadee suggested the day earlier than. That chicken grew to be Al’s four-hundredth species for Illinois, a milestone that simplest nine different birders have done.