Independence Grove is a showcase forest preserve in Lake county,IL I started coming here last fall to walk and bring my grandkids to romp around and climb the boulders and roll down the grassy hills.
The more I have come here, the more I have come to love and appreciate this place. The heart of it is a good sized lake that was reclaimed from an old quarry. The first thing I notice when I started walking around it was that it had good population of red winged blackbirds.
I grew up in Lombard in an unincorporated area. There was a big marsh just West of our house and another pond nearby and these same birds used to hang out on the waters edge.
There is also a huge population of purple martins at Independence Grove. I had heard about these mosquito eating birds for years but never got a chance to see them up close and personal until strolling the lake at twilight out here.
People come here to picnic, fish, walk, sun bathe, canoe and paddle boat. It is just a charming, delightful very civilized park-like forest preserve.
It is free for Lake county residents. There is a small parking fee for everyone else. There is a cafe here too, and gardens, and all sort of nice green nooks and crannies to explore.
Note: the accompanying map is not quite accurate. This place is on the N. side of 137 just E. of Milwaukee Ave. The map shown indicates Adler Park which is also beautiful!
This is a little follow up written a day later. I went into the park for my evening stroll and was greeted by a very animated red-winged blackbird practically as soon as I got out of the car.
At first I thought I had ventured to close to his nest or something, but no, I realized he just was excited to see me and had a lot to say. The nearest I could get, to translate from Birdese: "Hey where you been? We've been looking for you! Thanks for the lovely words about us; we're glad you appreciate our beauty which many miss! Enjoy your walk!"
He fluttered around my head loudly cheeping away for a good 90 seconds. As I continued to walk, he flew off. You reach your own conclusions :)