It's a Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors
for the birds; well, maybe for some ice fishing and a show here and there.
GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT: This is one of my favorite weekends of the winter with the Great Backyard Bird Count. I try to participate at least a couple days and most years have my kids help, too. It helps that it runs through Monday, which is President's Day this year.
My hope is that the neighborhood Cooper's Hawk makes its appearance during the GBBC, so I can count it. Otherwise, I think Canada geese, starlings, sparrows and finches will be our main ones.
If you happen to be a teacher or a stay-at-home mom or dad (like me), I think the GBBC is one of the great easy ways to connect with the outdoors.
SHOWTIME: There's an eclectic mix of shows.
The biggest to-do is in Indianapolis with the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, which runs through Feb. 26 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It is one of the last 10-day shows in the country. The vendors I know who attend call it the best show. I still need to make it. The accompanying Deer, Turkey and Waterfowl Expo runs through Sunday.
The Chicago RV & Camping Show through Sunday at Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont.
Also at the Stephens Convention Center through Sunday is Our World-Underwater.
The Rockford Boat, Fishing and Vacation Expo runs through Sunday at the Indoor Sports Center in Rockford.
NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: On Saturday, the Kendall County Gobblers chapter of NWTF hold their annual banquet at St. Patrick's Parish Center in Yorkville. Contact Tammi Schleining at email@example.com or (630) 385-2288.
SHED HUNTING: It's that's time. I hope to sneak in at least a little time today looking for sheds.
COHO: Because of our mild winter, coho fishing has begun in earnest much earlier than usual.
Steve Palmisano at Henry's said powerliners have been picking some up at Montrose and Belmont. I suspect there should be some around McCormick, Northerly Island and the Adler Planetarium, too.
Because of that mild winter, boaters have had much more access than usual this early. When they can get out, they are catching some around such Indiana places as The Ditch and East Chicago Marina.
Indiana's Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said shore fishermen have been getting them at the stateline power plant, the public access areas around Portage and Michigan City.
ICE FISHING: For those of us who live in the city or south, it is almost laughable to think of ice fishing. But ice fishing continues in spots on the Chain O'Lakes. And just across the line in Wisconsin in places like Delavan, there's not only ice fishing but plenty of ice. Of course with the rain and warm weather, you have to be prepared for slick surfaces.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: Our youngest is the one who helps me count birds for the GBBC over the next few days. . . . Otherwise, most of my weekend is taken up covering the sectionals of Beat the Champs, the charity bowling event run by the Sun-Times and the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association. . . . The family outing or hike may have to wait until Monday when the kids are off school. . . . I am back into the swing of my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1), for which I am soloing now. I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . An ongoing writing project eats at me.