Volo Bog State Park — site of the only open-water quaking bog in Illinois — is located about sixty miles northwest of Chicago. From the DNR website: “Formed in an ancient glacial kettle hole lake, Volo Bog features a floating mat of sphagnum moss, cattails and sedges surrounding the open pool of water in the center of the bog. Further from the open water, the mat thickens enough to even support floating trees!”

Because of the muddy terrain, it took a bit longer than usual to walk the 2.75-mile trail and the bog boardwalk (twice), but we got four miles in plus a geocache. And on our second stop at the center’s edge, we espied three bald eagles.


Weather and our schedules require that, this week and next, we take our long walk in the mid-morning. Sun on our faces — wan, incomplete, fast-fading but sun — was the one of the gifts of our last three outings.

Bird of the year

This entry was adapted from previously published posts.

In her paean to birding, Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds, Lyanda Lynn Haupt writes:

There is a game birders play on New Year’s Day called “Bird of the Year.” The very first bird you see on the first day of the new year is your theme bird for the next 365 days. It might seem a curious custom, but people who watch birds regularly are always contriving ways to keep themselves interested. This is one of those ways. You are given the possibility of creating something extraordinary — a Year of the Osprey, Year of the Pileated Woodpecker, Year of the Trumpeter Swan. This game is an inspiration to place yourself in natural circumstances that will yield a heavenly bird, blessing your year, your perspective, your imagination, your spirit. New year, new bird.

Our family has played this game long enough that we needed to rework the rules a bit or risk getting the same birds again and again. And again. This year, my husband and I decided to choose the first birds we espied on our first walk of the new year. He has embraced a Year of the Canada Goose. And I? Imagine my delight when a red-tailed hawk flew across my path.