Downy Woodpeckers looking for grub in Lincoln Marsh in Wheaton, Illinois.
Calling northern Illinois a travel destination is kind of like making the statement, “I went on an expedition to the wilds of my front yard…” I lived in Chicagoland for many years and have been traveling back and forth to Chicago from the west coast for my entire life. I thought I had seen just about all there was in the area. That was until the spring of 2007. We took another extended spring break trip to visit mom and dad in Wheaton. While there we spent much of our days exploring the extensive forest preserve system in DuPage County. While none of these represent complete or wild ecosystems in any sense, they are small patches of forest that provide homes to many species of flora and fauna.
Sadly, when I was living in Chicago, the only reason I went to forest preserves was to party or to have romantic interludes with my girlfriend. So I never really noticed their value as repositories of nature. That all changed during this early spring trip.
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Take a look at the images below to see the sorts of critters we spotted during our treks to the forest preserves of DuPage County!