Welcome to the weekly blog from the Stewardship section of TNI. I will try to have some interesting items and pearls of wisdom. Now is a good opportunity to see the white-tailed deer on the various TNI properties. The pre rut time of the year, just before mating season, is a good observation period. The bucks (males) are checking out the does (females) to see if they are ready to breed. The bucks will spar and fight over the does at this time. It is advisable not to venture too close to an excited buck, give them some distance. A good chance to see the deer is to sit quietly against a tree, and scan the woods for horizontal lines. Plants, trees, etc. grow vertically. It is best to look for horizontal lines at 1-2 feet and 3-4 feet above the ground. Surprisingly most people try to see deer at 5-6 feet tall; they look really huge, when they run across the road in front of your car. In reality they are shorter than you think.
The national symbol of America makes its return to the Riverbend area, as the temperatures decline. This is not the whole truth, because you can see bald eagles year round flying by the windows of our office or roosting on one of our majestic oaks. Since the comeback from the deadly effects of the chemical DDT, the Riverbend area has around a dozen full-time resident bald eagles. They get to enjoy our humidity filled summers like the rest of us.
A new addition to the nature preserve has shown itself this fall. Lynx rufus has made his presence known to us. The bobcat population has increased by leaps and bounds the last decade in Illinois. A couple of the cats have been spotted at various areas of the preserve. Sitting quietly and being very patient may allow you to see this stealthy predator. Dawn and dusk are the optimal times.
I can’t talk about this time of the year, without mentioning the color of nature. Many of the trees had beautiful color; unfortunately I think the drought of late summer caused the colors to be fleeting. Just a few days of magnificent colors, they quickly turned to brown. Maybe next year all the colors can be seen at the same time. Amy Curry, TNI Outreach Coordinator, posted a nice article about leaves on our Facebook page from the National Wildlife Federation about leaving your leaves in your yard as a habitat. Enjoy your hike at TNI, and please remember to stay on the trails. (Here’s the story if you are interested)