Posts Tagged ‘geese’

Did I Take Those!

I don’t know what happened here — I actually took focused bird pictures.

IMG_8235

Three Canada geese stayed relatively close as Buffy and I followed the lake trail at Glen O. Jones Lake.

IMG_8237

 I had hoped to see a red-throated loon that was reported here Saturday. No luck.

IMG_8236

Loons are rarely seen in southern Illinois on their migration.

It took me 3-4 years to see my first loon after I started birding. A birding friend of mine called one afternoon, saying a common loon was at Jones Lake. Davis was in first or second grade. I called school, and they gave me permission to take him to see the loon. We ran out to the Blazer. I hurried after we got out of town. We were both on the edge of our seat. I screeched (not really) to a halt when I got where we could see the lake. And, there was the loon– not close and not far. We had no witnesses to our enthusiasm.

Advertisements

A Two-Encounter Outing … Then More

The ice on the driveway finally melted enough I could get out safely.

So, what did Buffy and I do? We headed for a short outing at Stone Face.

“Is that a turkey?” was my repeating thought when I saw something dark in a big corn field. When I see turkeys in that field, there’s usually 15-20 of them.

IMG_7999 red

As I got closer, I could tell it was a raccoon. I stopped the truck, left the motor running, opened the door and took pictures.

IMG_7996 red

It kept feeding, totally unaware of me. The cold wind had me slowly in and out of the truck. The raccoon didn’t see me until I put the truck in reverse and backed toward a place where I could turn around. It took off at high speed toward the woods “way back yonder.”

 The final road to Stone Face was shaded and too icy to drive. I backed up to turn around again. As I approached the road where I planned to turn right, the road going up a small incline …. I saw an animal crossing the road. At first glance it looked similar to the partial albino otter I had in the yard last year. I got the truck stopped. The animal — a dingy blond, bushy tail, and its underside all black (not the tail) ….. a skunk! It disappeared into the thick of things before I could get a picture. Its fur was bushy, longish, backlit by the sun, and looked poofed by the wind.

I wish you could see the mental picture I filed in my memory of the encounter!

———–

———–

This brought up another raccoon memory from way back when. Luckily, I made it out in one piece. I was standing/drawing in the woods, not far from a gravel road. Then I heard movement behind me … 4 young raccoons, walking in a straight line right towards me. Behind them came the mother, who was rooting around for food. None had spotted me. I moved, not wanting the adult to get too close.

She made an alarm noise. The young darted up the nearest young trees. She ran into the tall grasses. The young had no fear of me and were quite curious. They stayed where they were. She called to them. They stayed put. She kept calling, and they finally ran over to  her.

———–

———–

Two days ago, Buffy and I went on the drive above. We made the same trip today. It was nice to have most of the ice melted. Cloudy weather’s no reason to stay home, especially after so much ice confinement.

IMG_8057 red

We headed for Stone Face again, this time on the highway and  then through the corn fields on a blacktop road. Geese flew all around. Large flocks were coming our direction from the north and east. They practically blackened the fields in places, and their honking increased.

We’ve had a lack of sunshine for a few days. I do apologize for the quality of all these pictures. I took them from a stopped truck. That it was still running, didn’t help much.

IMG_8073 alt red

And then …. and then… 37 “white pillows” off in a cornfield … swans. I was then on more ice than I wanted to be. I made one stop after another trying to get the best view.

IMG_8080 red

The road was mostly ice because of being shaded by woods along the south side of it. I eased up to turn around on the Stone Face road, and ended up going on up to the creek. Temperature was below freezing, and no sunlight left most of the ground in the woods with more slippery ice than uncovered leaves. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

IMG_8097 alt red

And then … on the way home … wild turkeys fed in a corn field. There were 20-30 of them. I didn’t count. They were scattered out and not close to the road.

Now you see why we make this drive often. It provides a short outing when I feel the need for one. Buffy’s always willing too.

————

————

Both my sons automatically call me when they see something they know I’d want to see. This morning it was bald eagles. I immediately suited up and was out the door. My first thought (which I’m sure came from them), “Put the petal to the metal.” I stayed within the speed limit. Keith said there were two in the field and one circling to land.

IMG_8127 red

One eagle was fine with me. The morning was overcast, and the eagle was a ways out in the field. I never shut the engine off in a situation like this, because it usually alerts the subject to my presence and shortens the encounter. I eased the truck up when the eagle was bent over feeding.

IMG_8128 red

Oh my, what a good 4 days in terms of wildlife. The only thing I missed was a coyote (which I rarely see anyway).

There’s my excuse for another loop drive!

————-

————-

Ended up I didn’t make another loop drive. This morning Buffy and I were on our way home from an outing, when I heard a distinctive bird call — sandhill cranes!

IMG_8724 red

They flew in a large formation and were gone in no time. Then behind me, came more calling. Another group headed our way. With their distance and height, I couldn’t see if they were on the camera display or not. I just aimed, tried to focus and took as many pictures as I could.

Now, yes, I’m sure this time …  this is the end of this blog!

Trees Filled With Stars

Years and years ago I read  writing by either Edwin Way Teale or Hal Borland (think Teale). He and his wife went for a winter night hike to see the trees filled with stars. Naturally, I had to check the woods in the ravine at my rural property. Davis (my youngest son) and I dressed warmly, got our flashlights and headed down.

It has to be a moonless sky and no clouds.

IMG_4747 too too red. too

We first entered the woods and sat on “my rock” at the top of a small bluff. Stars FILLED the trees. We sat there. Geese flew over, honking. Our next stop was a downed tree near the dry creek. Davis had a small flashlight and sat investigating the bark on a small tree. He found a tiny hole with lichens around it and a teeny mushroom in it.

After going back across the creek, we laid under a tree I called the Grandmother Tree with our heads near the trunk. The limbs made it look like a giant spider standing over us.

We walked out of the woods. I wondered if stars filled the little bluestem grass too. The tall grass stalks made the barrens look like a prairie. We laid in the grass, his head on my shoulder and mine on his. Stars filled the grass too. An owl hooted. Another answered.

That was 23 years ago when Davis was 9. The hike is still a vivid memory for both of us.

———-

I took this picture on a cloudy day and then darkened it considerably in Photoshop and added the stars.