Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Wild Monday: Blood-curdling screams & gnawed branches

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I haven't done anything with Pete Gleason in awhile.

He has some time on his hands while he looks for work (like far too many others) and sent a note over the weekend, wondering if I was heading out on any adventures where he might tag along.

Let me back up.

Pete and I met when I got my first fulltime writing gig around 1990 as a sports writer for the Downers Grove office (technically I think it was Westmont) of Suburban Life Newspapers, a chain covering the west/southwest suburbs from Cicero/Berwyn west to Lisle and Bolingbrook.

From there, I was able to get my foot in the door at the Sun-Times and in a few years nabbed my dream job of doing the the outdoors column. Pete stuck on writing sports at Suburban Life a bit longer, then moved on himself.

Our oldest boys got along (after I married a few years later), so we occasionally took them on various adventures, such as clumping around the Des Plaines near Pete's house when the voyageur canoes came through. And he introduced me to the rather neat Trailside Museum in River Forest.

One of those outings, a trip to find morels somewhere vaguely near the Des Plaines somewhere in the western suburbs somewhere, turned into one of favorite columns, about fun guys looking for fungi. We found some too, which only made the story better.

In Pete's weekend note, his writing reminded me why I like just walking through the woods along the Des Plaines with him.

Here's his short take on his weekly night walks:

Can't wait for Spring so I can try to identify some of the native plants that I read about in Joel Greenberg's book late last fall.

I walk in the woods at night over here about once a week.

The beavers are still active along the Desplaines here in River Forest. I have gotten to the point where I can identify the sound they make when gnawing a branch for dinner at night. Owls seem to be active, too, but I have not been able to identify any. Just some blood-curdling screams which I assume are small mammals being eaten alive.


That's paying attention outdoors. That's why I do stuff with Pete..

And I am proud to have passed along a love of my friend Joel's A Natural History of the Chicago Region., which if you like doing anything or any sort around Chicago outdoors is an absolute must buy and read.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 15, 2010 7:26 AM.

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