Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday: Woodcock Walk

Tonight we went looking for Woodcocks at Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington, Illinois. The nature center is part of the Cook County Forest Preserve district.

We met the naturalist leading the Woodcock Walk at the nature center at 6:30pm, as the sun was setting.

Crabtree Nature Center

Woodcock walks are a popular excursion for nature centers and birding groups each spring because these secretive birds are hard to find outside of breeding season, when the males do an elaborate flight display.

Because the sky was clear, the naturalist thought we should wait until closer to dark before looking for the Woodcocks. So we first went to some ponds near the entrance of the park to look at waterfowl.

Crabtree Nature Center

There we saw Blue-winged Teal, Bufflehead and Northern Shoveler swimming in the shallow water.

Crabtree Nature Center

As the moon rose higher into the sky, we headed to the meadow where the male Woodcocks would soon be performing their unique song and aerial display.

Crabtree Nature Center

Clear skies are beautiful to see, but not perfect conditions for Woodcock watching. Soon darkness fell and the time for photos was over. We heard peenting in the distance and crept slowly into the meadow. The Woodcock finished his last peent before bursting into the air in a wild circular flight over our heads.

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Skywatch Friday: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

Here’s where the birds hang out before descending on our feeders.

Can you see the birds?

What, you can’t see the birds? There are three House Finches. Here, let me help you:

Tiny birds

They joined a few of their “friends” down at the feeders, but there was a lot of aggravation. Bullying ensued:

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Skywatch Friday: Old School Skiing

Today we went cross country skiing on the groomed trails at Old School, a Lake County Forest Preserve.

It was a grey day with some patches of blue and the last mild weather day before another cold front moves in. I haven’t been skiing for probably 15 years so I was moving like a born-again newbie. I fell twice, both times when I was standing still.

Arthur had skied once before, also many years ago. We were not smooth but we had a great time and a great workout, too.

We didn’t see any wildlife besides one deer we spooked when driving through the parking lot, but we saw lots of animal tracks. Here’s a well-used deer route.

This one’s got me puzzled. It looks too small for squirrel but it ends at the base of the tree. What could it be?

This is my first Skywatch post. For more, visit Skywatch Friday.

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