[TEXT ARCHIVE WEB-PUBLISHED
ORIGINAL PRINT PUBLICATION DATE: SPRING 1998.]
what's debuting this season
on nature's stage in Chicago Wilderness
snapping turtles lay six to seven dozen eggs on open, slightly
hilly areas. The female uses water carried in her bladder
from a nearby lake or river to loosen soil. In early morning
or toward evening, she digs a hole and lays the eggs. This
is a large turtle, measuring up to three feet in length
and weighing up to 30 pounds as an adult. Observe from a
Birds Display For Mates
for the male bobolink, with its black stomach and white
back, as if it were wearing a reverse tuxedo. Listen for
its rollicking call as it flies over the grasslands to attract
a mate. Look for the eastern meadowlark with its lemon yellow
breast decorated with a large black "V." Can you hear its
"see you-see-see-yer" call as it perches atop a grassland
Prairie Nature Preserve (Cook County). In the town of Markham,
Illinois, at the Junction of I-57 and Highway 6 (159th St.),
go east on 159th for one mile to Whipple Ave. Turn north
2 blocks to the preserve entrance.
Lake and Danada Forest Preserves (DuPage County). South
of the town of Wheaton, IL, and north of I-88, take Butterfield
Rd. to the main entrance, just east of Herrick Rd. Take
the Meadowlark trail off Regional Trail to search for grassland
butterflies return to feed in nectar and lay their eggs.
They wintered en masse in Mexico. Now they are flying north
to mate. The female lays translucent white eggs beneath
a milkweed leaf, which provides food for the caterpillars
after hatching. Adults sip sweet nectar from the flowers.
Why not plant some milkweed in your backyard to attract
these orange and black beauties? Find them in any open flowery
woodpeckers beg for food from parents. Tree cavities provide
perfect habitat for nesting woodpeckers including the Downy
and the Hairy Woodpecker, which look the same except that
the Hairy is larger. The adult males have red on their heads.
The females don't. The young look like miniature adults
with shorter tails. The tail feathers are the last feathers
to grow on young songbirds. Providing sunflower seeds at
backyard feeders may attract adults with young.
Partridge Woods Nature Preserve (Cook County). Take the
trail leading through mesic forests of basswood and oaks.
In Lemont, IL, take Lemont Road north across the Des Plaines
River to 111th Street (Bluff Rd.), then southwest one mile
to the preserve.
O' Lakes State Park (McHenry and Lake Counties, IL). Hairy
woodpeckers have nested at the Oak Point Day Use area. In
Spring Grove, IL, at the intersection of Wilmot Rd. and
Rte. 173, take Rte. 173 east to the Oak Point Day Use Area
entrance. The main entrance to the park is off Wilmot Rd.,
south of Rte. 173.
wildflowers and grasses bloom at restored savannas and oak
woodlands. Walk through these restored areas and note the
openness of the woods, with scattered oaks and enough sunlight
to let the native flowers and grasses grow. Compare this
to unrestored areas often right nearby that contain thickets
of buckthorn, which have shut out the sunlight, preventing
native species from flourishing.
for the "Wheep calls" of the great crested flycatchers in
oak savannas, too. This species prefers open woodlands for
nesting. Its nesting success has increased in restored oak
Cliff Woods (Cook County). In Palos Hills, IL, the woods
entrance is off Rte. 83. From 107th St. and 104th Ave.,
go south to Rte. 83. Continue southwest on Rte. 83 to the
Swallow Cliff Toboggan Slide entrance.
School Forest Preserve (Lake County). In Libertyville, IL,
at the intersection of Rte. 60 and St. Mary's Rd. (east
of Milwaukee Ave.), go north on St. Mary's Rd. to the preserve
entrance. Take this opportunity to compare restored with
unrestored savanna. Drive the main road through the preserve
and note "The Trails" parking area. The Trails is an unrestored
savanna. On the other side of the road is the restored savanna,
which was burned as well as seeded and planted several years
ago. Which area has blooming wildflowers and grasses? Where
can you hear great crested flycatchers?
sing their buzzy songs on hot summer nights in the woods.
In late summer at twilight, the male katydid sings, "chi-
chi (pause). chi-chi-chi." A member of the long-horned grasshopper
family, the true or northern katydid lives in trees where
the female deposits her eggs on twigs or underneath bark.
The katydid, among other insects, provides food for birds
and other animals.
Grove (Cook County). Located on Milwaukee Ave. in Glenview,
IL, just south of Lake Ave. You can reach the Grove off
I-94 west from Chicago by exiting at Lake, going west six
miles to Milwaukee Ave., then south to the preserve.
Woods Forest Preserve (Kane County) At the intersection
of Rte. 56 and Rte. 47 in Sugar Grove, IL, go north of Rte.
47 until it veers to the right to Bliss Rd. Follow Bliss
Rd. to the entrance.
Perseids meteors shower the sky at night. Choose a clear,
warm evening just before midnight at your favorite country
road away from town lights. Look near the constellation
of Perseus for meteor showers, which occur in August every
year. Meteors are bits of stone or metal from space that
glow when they enter the Earth's atmosphere. Meteor showers
occur regularly each year.
Compass plants bloom in prairies. Look for this 4-to-10-foot
tall native prairie plant with stiff, bristly, large, deeply-lobed,
alternate leaves. The small yellow, sunflower-like bloom
bends toward the sun, hence the species name: compass plant.
River Nature Preserve (Lake County) In Lake Forest, IL,
at the intersection of Rte. 41 and Rte. 60, go south to
Westleigh Rd. Then backtrack west toward Waukegan Rd. (Rte.
43). Parking is just east of Waukegan Rd. The Lake Forest
Open Lands Association owns this area. Call (847) 234-3880
to check before you go, but the area is open to the public.
Road Prairie Nature Preserve (Cook County) In Westchester,
IL, take Wolf Rd. 1.1 miles south to 31st St. Turn right
(west) and park in the north lot.