Memorial to Wes Serafin by Al Stokie

Wes Serafin by Sue Friscia

Wes Serafin by Sue Friscia

Hello Bird People,

I have been running into Wes Serafin since the late 1980’s and his presence always made the birding day more fun. Wes and I along with Sue Friscia, Geoff and Chris Williamson, and University of Chicago grad students, Dave Mandell and John O’Brien (and others), all took park in the first Cook County Big Year Group Contest back in 1992 where we all acted like a pack of wolves charging around after another new species for the year. But it was a very friendly competition and we all had a good time.

I would mainly see Wes in the Palos area (his home territory), but also at Montrose, Wooded Island, the Calumet area, and at Hawk Watch sites. When I rushed to Paul Douglas Forest Preserve on an extended lunch hour to see Josh Engel’s Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Wes called me over to look at it through his scope just before it flew farther away to make for harder viewing, which I did not have time for if I wanted to keep my job. Wes was one of those who saw well at great distances and always spotted hawks well before I did. (Of course most folks spot hawks well before I do!)

Last Spring, Wes called me to tell about Smith’s Longspurs at the new south section of the Orland Grasslands and met me there the next day where naturally Wes was the one to re-find the birds and point them out to me. Come to think of it the same thing happened the year before at the old section of the Orland Grasslands where again it was Wes’s directions that got me to see the Smith’s.

The last time I talked to Wes was last November and he reminded me that we should plan on another search for Smith’s Longspurs in the spring. I will still do that project but I guess Wes won’t be going along this time. This means it will be harder to find those birds and it will be a lot less fun trying!

Try and stay healthy, Bird People, as we don’t need any more losses in our ranks.

Al Stokie

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