Beauty and the Beasts

OK, no real pictures of beasts in this post, but when you step into a nature preserve the animals you meet are wild, not domesticated, and that can be an adventure.  The beauty part is the gorgeous, snowy landscape we encountered on our Saturday morning walk!

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The snow outlined every tiny branch as we started our walk this morning in a nearby forest preserve in Cook County.

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The trail had an interesting pattern, as the snow covered each twig and leaf on the ground, but melted when it met the clay path.

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We noticed animal tracks climbing a tree.

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A closer look at raccoon tracks

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With snow covering everything we made our way carefully down the hill to the stream.

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The water was flowing in the stream.  We found some large stones where we could step and cross over without getting wet.

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We followed a horse / animal trail so that we would not get lost, as everything looks the same with the snow cover.  Up ahead, through the shrubs, we glimpsed two white-tailed deer run through the forest.

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When we stopped to listen we could hear an emergency vehicle, an airplane, and also a bird.  Looking around I spotted a male red-bellied woodpecker.

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A little further down the path we stopped to listen and heard some howling and yipping coyotes, maybe chasing those deer we saw or something else.  We could not see them, but they were somewhere off to our left.  We both picked up pointy branches and decided to head back out to the main trail.  Coyotes don’t see people as potential prey, but when there are a group of them and it is not our backyard we wanted to be ready to stand our ground and scare them if they were nearby.  After that we did not hear them again.  Sorry, no pictures of deer or coyotes!

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Back at home, there was just a thin layer of snow that was mostly melted by the afternoon.

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The male northern cardinal, a frequent visitor, is a beauty!

8 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beasts

  1. Lovely walk. The snow is a perfect accent. Coyotes have been seen in my neighborhood in central NC but I’ve not spotted nor heard them. Let’s keep it that way. Deer aplenty around here.

    1. Thank you! Chicago has coyotes everywhere and they have adapted to the forest preserves and also to the city. I think they keep the deer from eating everything to nubs, if I understand correctly, so are a useful predator. I imagine in the city they could eat rats or rabbits. So best to keep pets indoors at night. Sometimes I hear them or see them at the end of our block at twilight, as we live by a large nature area, but they move away from people.

    1. It was just an inch or so overnight, so melted by mid-day. But Cook County is big enough that we have different weather in different areas! I think I am south of you, by the Palos Forest Preserve area.

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