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Naturalist Notebook

Reviews and journal entries inspired by nature in West Central Illinois.

Us

Posted by Amanda Christenson - Poem

Stepping out of my street clothes Into the not quite warm enough water Of the frog people who sang of desire In the unique way of their kin.   The Chorus Frogs The Bull Frogs The Leopard Frogs The Green Frogs   Others competing for the attention Of a lady, perhaps seen, perhaps not. The persistent so...

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The Sounds of Nature

When we think of the outdoors and the sounds we hear around us, the first thing that usually comes to mind are the birds and their songs. Of course, we delight in hearing these wonderful songs. However, there is much more out there to hear and learn about. Over the course of time, I have become familiar with some of these other sounds and the habits of the creatures that create them. Ta...

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AFrogsLife

A Frog's Life

Over the years, I have tried to provide good habitats for the animals that live alongside me on this land. Despite my efforts though it seems that some of these creatures prefer to dwell in or on the house that I built for myself! They must find it as comfortable as I do. For the past couple of years, the tree frog population has seemed to be on the uptick here. Their...

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ANativeGem

A Native Gem

Tucked into a corner of my house on a gravelly hill, is a small shrub planted several years ago when I first arrived in Knox County. This shrub is known as Clove Current or Ribes odoratum and it certainly lives up to its description! About this time every spring, it's spicy fragrance becomes quite noticeable. Bearing yellow tubular flowers along the length of its stems, it perfumes the...

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A Fish Tale

A Fish Tale

As a child, I was very fortunate to have grown up near a creek. The small stream known as Springbrook Creek that flowed by my house and through rural DuPage County was a child's paradise! Little did I know then that it would prepare me for becoming a naturalist and that I would be living alongside another creek later in my life. The headwaters of Henderson Creek intersect my property as...

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The Early Birds

The Early Birds

Just about this time every winter, subtle changes begin to occur in the natural world. There still may be snow on the ground and in the air but that doesn't seem to affect the invisible clocks of the creatures around us. Every morning as winter gradually lessons it's grip, these changes become more noticeable to me. On this late February day, I immediately heard the noisy chatter of bla...

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Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles

Since moving to western Illinois, in close proximity to the Mississippi River, I have been amazed to witness the fantastic comeback of the Bald Eagle. Growing up in rural DuPage County and being an outdoor child, I had dreamed of one day seeing a Bald Eagle in the wild. At that time eagle populations were declining across the North American continent. Science eventually revealed the pri...

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