Yup...another photograph of turtles...but to be honest, I really, really was not expecting to see turtles on the 13th day of January. And yet, there they were, basking in the winter sunshine. I am guessing there might not be any turtles to be seen in Union County in the bitter cold which is forecast for today.We were fortunate to see a bald eagle last Sunday afternoon in the Mississippi River bottomlands in western Union County.This hawk seemed quite happy to pose for a photograph...at least for a moment.

Fake gnus spotted Sunday afternoon...and other stuff...

Oh, dear, no deer...

We’ll get back to that in just a little bit...

Last Thursday afternoon, yours truly stayed in what has pretty much become a weekly routine. I paid a regular visit to the seat of county government in Jonesboro, and then headed over to the nearby Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds for a bit of a walkabout.

A couple of other fellow travelers on The Journey Through Life were at the park on a sunny and not-too-cold winter afternoon.

At one point, I heard the call of a pileated woodpecker. I looked in the direction of the call...and caught a glimpse, and no more than a glimpse, of the bird. No chance for a photograph.

At about the same time, I also heard a hawk calling. The hawk was much easier spot, high in a tree near the pond at the picnic grounds, and stayed put long enough for a photograph or two before moving on...but not far...

Another one of the folks at the picnic grounds, also out for a walk, saw the hawk, too. We shared a few words... he continued his walk...I continued mine...

A moment or two later, he pointed out that the hawk had found a new landing spot in a tree closer to the pond.  He paused his walk and let me go on ahead to try to get another photograph of the hawk.

Turned out the hawk was very obliging...it moved out of the tree and landed on a post that was sticking out of the water in the pond. Made for a nice photograph. I thanked the fellow who was kind enough to pause on his walk.

We talked a little bit more and agreed that it was just nice to be able to get outside...to hear the sounds around us...and experience what the world had to share. Listen. Watch. Seemingly so simple, but not skills that seem to be practiced a lot these days.

Bird-watching figured into the weekend, too. The Other Half and yours truly made time for another pandemic date last Sunday afternoon. We hadn’t gone on a pandemic date in a while, but the sun was shining...so we got in the car and headed west...to the Mississippi River bottomlands out near metropolitan Ware.

Without going into specifics, I will say that we were fortunate enough to spot a bald eagle, watching the world from a perch high in a tree. The eagle was pretty far away, but I was able to get a halfway decent photograph of the majestic bird.

We continued our journey to the Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area, where we hoped to see at least one Canada goose. No such luck. Bad timing on our part, I guess. We did see a heron in a field, which, truth be told, seemed like kind of an odd place to see a heron. We thought we had spotted a few snow geese off in the distance...turned out they were probably decoys. Fooled us.

We headed back home by way of the Trail of Tears State Forest. We made a brief stop. The Other Half got in a quick walk. I did my usual State Forest Thing involving a creek bed. We did not stay long. It was cold outside...and even colder in the shade. (Turned out the wind chill was somewhere in the mid-20s at the time. No wonder it felt cold.)

While motoring along Mountain Glen Road along the final leg of our journey, I happened to catch a glimpse of some sort of critter up ahead. The critter was crossing the road. I really could not tell what it was. Kind of big. And it had a long tail. I think. It moved across the road rather quickly. 

I stopped the car to see if we could spot the critter. Nope. Whatever it was, it had wandered off into the woods. I’m guessing it might have been a panther. Or a grizzly bear. Possibly a buffalo. Maybe it was a gnu...then again, all we have around here anymore would be fake gnus... 

Anyway, we had a very nice date. When we got back, The Other Half decided that Sunday afternoon would be a good time to plant some tomato seeds. I asked her if we would have tomatoes in a few weeks. She shook her head.

And, oh dear, while we on our date, we did not see a single white-tailed deer. Not a one. Maybe on our next date...

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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