Archive for April, 2013

A Short Afternoon Hike

I knew it was going to be a good outing when almost-adult bald eagle flew right over the truck. Adult eagles are 4-5 years old before they get their white head and tail. This eagle had a few brown feathers in its tail. I was so excited, I didn’t check its head.

The woods at Stone Face definitely changed since our last trip. It was so green.

IMG_8094 red

 Recent rains left a cheerful creek.

IMG_8065 alt red

 Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens) bloomed among all the greens.

IMG_8099 crop red

 The colors and lines of the hood created an artistic design.

IMG_8104 crop red

  Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) grew in large patches.

IMG_8125 red

Only the plants with two leaves bloom.

IMG_8127 red

 The flower blooms under the umbrella of leaves.

IMG_8123 crop red

Knowing that gemmed satyrs aren’t a tolerant butterfly, I had to stay where I was and zoom in for this picture.

IMG_8130 crop red

After such a pleasant hike, we had one more surprise on the way home … a wild turkey walked across the road and into a field.

An Eagle Visit

I photographed the foxes in our yard for the first time this year on April 15. I was so excited, I thought it would make a special day even more special to visit the bald eagle nest too.

IMG_7425 red

 The day was cloudy and windy.  I don’t like to get too close to the nest and possibly stress the parents.

IMG_7421 alt red

Obviously, the one on the left is young … and bigger than I expected.

IMG_7402 alt crop red

  There’s such a feeling to be in the presence of eagles.

IMG_7430 crop red

This picture shows 3 in the nest. From a couple of my other pictures, there’s at least 2 eaglets.

IMG_7429 alt red

This tree lost a whole trunk 3 or 4 years ago. Eagles will use the same nest every year until something happens to the tree. I do hope that time is a long way away.

————–

So I had my day with both the foxes and the eagles. Now you can to.

IMG_7653 crop alt red

A Dandelion

The angle of the morning sun showcased this tilted dandelion seedhead.

IMG_7897 crop red

IMG_7890 crop

IMG_7926 crop red 3

IMG_7912 crop red

IMG_7929 crop red

Horseshoe Upheaval

Southern Illinois definitley has an unique feature, known as the Horseshoe Upheaval.

IMG_5994 red

The rocks are about 350 million years old and were once some 3,500 feet below the surface. The tremendous power of the earth forced them upward. These upturned rocks are silca-rich limestone and chert of the Fort Payne Formation.

IMG_5994 upheavel

The Fort Payne layer is the deep rust-colored layer in the above illustration. A line marks the location of the upheaval. The narrow wedge is sandwiched on both sides by younger rocks. This suggests the fault system went through two episodes of movement in opposite directions. First the rocks south of the fault zone were uplifted, bringing the Fort Payne rock to the surface. Then the southern block dropped back down. A wedge of the Fort Payne rock was sheared off and jammed in place within the fault zone.

IMG_6003 red

I left my truck in the picture for size comparison.

IMG_6020 red

Notice how the layered chert is turned almost vertical

IMG_6023 red

Walking isn’t the easiest at this site.

IMG_6057 red

Calcite veining occurs in a lot of the rock.

IMG_6019 redAgain, the layering was pushed vertically from its original positioning.

IMG_6025 red

Mosses, lichens and a few plants grow in the upheaval.

IMG_6048 red

Buffy and I climbed up the slope and

IMG_6027 red

into the bowl-like top of the upheaval. Obviously, the area is better seen before the trees leaf out.

IMG_6043 red

This shows limestone.

IMG_6028 red

We didn’t circle the whole top area. Walking wasn’t the easiest.

The Horseshow Upheaval is part of the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area.

They’re Nesting in the Barn

They, meaning eastern phoebes, were carrying nesting material into the barn to build their nest during the afternoon of March 28.

IMG_5606 crop red

Please excuse the quality of these pictures. I had to sit in the truck, 35 yards away and take them through the windshield.

IMG_5336 crop red

 Eastern phoebes are a flycatcher. Early ones began returning to southern Illinois in late February.

IMG_7447 crop alt

This phoebe landed in the catalpa tree. Apparently, it’s a good place for hawking insects. It flew with its prey into the back of the barn.

IMG_7464 crop red

Phoebe’s nest in niches of cliffs, banks beneath bridges, in culverts, and in this case, over the light in our barn. They build the nest with mud pellets, plant fibers, moss, and line it with hair, feathers and grass.

The female lays 4-5 eggs. The eggs are usually white; some may have small brown spots. The eggs are incubated 16 days, and the young fledge in 15-16 days. Their diet consists of mostly of flying insects. I hope the pair use the nest for a second brood.

If I Could …

If I could take this tree trunk home, I would “plant” it in a prominent place in my yard.

IMG_5755 red

Besides its interesting appearance, it would probably attract wildlife.

IMG_5762 alt red

Wildlife could include birds, mammals and/or insects.  They could use it for protection from the weather or predators, a place to den, a place to raise young?

IMG_5756 crop red

It would probably have even more uses as the wood decayed.

Foxes are BACK!!!

I was talking to my best friend on the phone, came in the computer room and sat down at the computer. A little fox came out from under the barn. My speech then turned to jibberish. The card wasn’t in my camera. The camera wasn’t on the right settings. I was repeating … have no idea what.

IMG_7388 crop red

I finally managed to say “baby fox.” By that time an adult joined the little one.

IMG_7389 crop alt red

They played a little bit. The adult sensed me and looked straight at me. The young went under the barn.

IMG_7390 crop alt red

The adult, which was a male, trotted to the south,

IMG_7392 crop alt red

stopped and looked to the east,

IMG_7394 crop alt red

to the west,

IMG_7395 crop alt red

and trotted on out of the yard.

We didn’t see the fox family last year until May 9. This young looked smaller than the first ones I saw last year.

I know young foxes are called kits. For some reason I’m not inclined to call them that … maybe I’ll switch. When they’re out playing, nursing, being curious, feeding on what dad brought in, I get so engrossed, so excited … well you can see why.

 “Stay tuned.” I plan to share my fox experiences.