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Exploring Nature

Experiences and Observations

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Backyard

Squirrel Rock

Several years ago I got a camera trap (motion-activated outdoor camera) to learn more about who is around when I'm not. Over the years I've watched raccoons, opossums, skunks, coyotes, birds, a woodchuck, mice, deer, a nesting duck, the neighbor's... Continue Reading →

New Treasures in Familiar Woods

I am fortunate to have a 4000-acre forest preserve out my back door.  It is a respite from the chaos of the city of Chicago, 20 miles to the east, and the suburbs that surround it.  From September through May... Continue Reading →

An Illinois Prairie Walk

This mild October afternoon with blue skies and bright sun, not the stark, blazing, eye-squinting, summer sun, but the warm, golden, cozy light of autumn, makes a perfect afternoon to explore a local, restored tallgrass prairie.  It's so close to... Continue Reading →

Changing Seasons: Spring

I haven't seen a junco since mid-April.  It's hard to mark the day they leave except to note when some has time gone by since I'd last noticed one.  Here, they mark the beginning of winter and the promise of... Continue Reading →

Pond Life

Over the nine years that I've lived here, I've been gradually creating habitat and homes for native wildlife.  It's a slow, but rewarding, process.  We've left the lawn immediately adjacent to the pond unmowed since we arrived.  I've been planting... Continue Reading →

Finder of Things: My Dog and the Coyotes

People say that we are like our pets. My dog, Bridger, has been exploring these woods with me since puppyhood.  As a Vizsla, he is hard-wired for searching and finding.  It's amazing to watch him grid-search a field, nose to... Continue Reading →

Snow Day

There's eight inches of snow on the ground with another four expected as the snow is continuing to fall.  The roads are slushy, snowy, slippery and dangerous.  Work called a snow day - stay home, stay safe. The wind periodically... Continue Reading →

Revealed in the Snow

One of my favorite things about winter is seeing the tracks in the snow of all of the animals that share these woods with me.  The snow faithfully documents all of their comings and goings. Since my dogs "see" with... Continue Reading →

Our Hunting Hawk

Cooper's hawks appear in our yard, from time to time, scoping out the bird feeder action.  They are medium-sized hawks that prey primarily on smaller birds.  Years ago, I watched one pluck and eat a mourning dove at our old... Continue Reading →

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