Is it an otter or a beaver?
John Vician, an experienced outdoorsman from the Northwest Side, sent this photo taken ``at the lakefront in 2006 at Henrys fall salmon derby.''
I've seen a good number of wild otters and beavers swimming in my life, but I can't say positively whether or not it is an otter, even after blowing up the photo. Vician originally labeled the photo a beaver, but had been rethinking that.
However, naturalist Joel Greenberg, author of A Natural History of the Chicago Region, did me a favor and looked at the photo. He said the head was too broad for an otter.
In late April David W. Ruiz reported an otter at Northly Island. They have been sighted in Chicago's rivers for several years, but lakefront reports have been sketchier. Now James Fernandez reported seeing one last year just south of the Museum of Science and Industry.
Eagle cams have been around for awhile. Illinois now has one at Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area in Montgomery County. Just go to http://www.ameren.com. You can watch the bald eagle family daily between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Because I am curious about stuff like lakefront otters I am trying to track any earlier reports for the lakefront. If you have one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.