Well, since last time we talked not much has changed. Have been spending a lot of time in the timber trying to photograph rutting bucks.

Well, since last time we talked not much has changed. Have been spending a lot of time in the timber trying to photograph rutting bucks. Have taken lots of shots with many of them being the same three or four deer that I see every day. Each day that passes gets a little crazier than the previous day and by the time you read this piece the woods should be wild with deer activity. I am hoping that some different deer begin to show themselves and when I say different I really mean bigger.

 

As I was sitting at the base of my tree early one morning this past week I did get a scare or maybe we should just call it a surprise. With back against the tree I have no visible contact with anything behind me. If, and when you hear something coming up behind you, you can do nothing but sit tight and wait for it to hopefully come to your right or left.

 

It sounded like a truck coming down the hill toward me (in silent woods sometimes sounds can be amplified so maybe a truck might be over doing it a bit). Anyway, I could tell it was coming right to the tree where I was sitting. It slammed into the back of the tree and began to circle on the tree right to me. But just at the last second the two squirrels spotted me and jumped half way down the hill. I had already jumped out of my coveralls when the squirrels hit the tree. Luckily, I had done so, or those squirrels just might have run me over.

 

That same night I get word of a snowy owl in downtown Havana. The next morning my friend Dwight and I made a trip there in hopes of spotting our first snowy in Illinois. But just like in some of our past searches for the snowy this one too came up empty. I haven’t heard a word about the owl in the last few days, so I am not sure if it is still around.

 

I’m beginning to wonder if this might be the year for the snowy in our region. Just last week one was spotted and photographed in Missouri and made its way to the Illinois side of the river just a few days ago. Seems awful early to already be seeing them but if it is an indication it just might be an eruption where the owl moves further south in search of food.

 

Stopped at Emiquon on the way home from the owl search and was even more disappointed than the last time I was there. The lake is down several feet making the entire area look just darn right bad. There are plenty of ducks on the water, but most are a good distance away.

 

Trumpeter swans have made their way into our area as well. Just south of town there must have been a few hundred in a field. And once you got closer to Emiquon there was another field that also held several swans.

 

I’m not sure if I had pointed out that it was a very good year for puffball mushrooms. I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen, but we got that early October rain and it started them off. I did find a few that were as big, if not bigger, than a basketball. It was not uncommon to find several in one small location. Most would run in a line of five or six puffballs, many in various sizes.

 

It’s a great time to be in the woods right now. Even though most of the leaves have fallen off the trees, the ground litter that they produced offers a sunny glow on the forest floor. Even on dark gloomy days the woods appear as a bright spot to be, almost a sun shiny look but on the ground, not in the sky.

 

You should keep in mind that this weekend is the first segment of the deer shotgun season. Stay out of the woods if there are hunters around. Deer will be displaced for a few days and will wander to what they think might be safer locations. Keep in mind that this might cause the roadways to have a few more deer running across them. Just be safe.

 

Along with the snowy owl there have also been a few other reports that we might see a small invasion of northern songbirds. More Redpolls could show up at our feeders and who knows what other species might show up as well. Might be a good reason to keep those feeders full this winter.

 

I hope all of you have a happy Thanksgiving with your friends and families.