There were a few beautiful days at the beginning of November when every day’s walk was gorgeous. Springbrook, Herrick Lake, and Greene Valley forest preserves have been our regular stops. Whether it’s midday or sunset, we always find something beautiful or interesting or both. We saw a bald eagle at Greene Valley, then chatted with a woman who said the eagles have been regular visitors for some time.
We go out almost every day, though I tend not to take pictures on the cloudy days. On one beautiful day we went into Chicago to see The Magic Flute at the Lyric Opera, and spent ten minutes on the bridge over the Chicago River watching a tall building under construction. A construction crane was perched about 20 stories up in the air on the central shaft of the structure. Its huge boom picked up a rectangular piece as big as a shipping container and v-e-r-y slowly swung it around the building, then brought it to the side under construction, where it gradually disappeared into the framework. Everything about it was remarkable. How did they get the crane up that high? What will they do with it after construction is complete. How do they get the huge piece into place and release it? Modern construction is an amazing process. The city is a forest of concrete and steel with its own wonders to observe.
It turned cold, I got my warm coat out of the storage unit and began wearing my heaviest shoes. We haven’t been seeing many birds lately. All the species that migrate south have taken off for warmer places. We still see the hardy locals: robins, cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, goldfinch, bluejay. As many of these pass through our yard as visit us on our bird walks.
We took a last stroll at Churchill Woods in Lombard, where we’ve seen many different birds on previous visits, and it began to sleet as we got to the far end of the path. We stood in the shelter of the trees and bushes for a few minutes, watching waves of sleet blowing along the surface of the river. We saw a pair of large owls fly to a tree on the edge of the woods, then swoop into the forest. Walking back along the river, a kingfisher perched by the river, vivid against the branches. The sleet let up long enough for us to play pooh sticks on the bridge, spot a woodpecker, and finish our walk.
As much as I enjoy our walks in the woods, and as much as we have appreciated the many parks and forest preserves in this area, I am ready to fly south for the winter.
[The photo at the top of this post shows branches of a black walnut tree that has dropped its leaves but not all its walnuts.]