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

Ramble with Storm: Redheads in winter & the great divide

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.


A couple blocks from home, I heard a red-headed woodpecker calling from a tree, then hammering.

They make a rather distinctive set of calls. You can here the one I most associate with them here on

I finally found it.

It was working some of the dead thick trunks high in a venerable elm.

If any of my fellow folks in town were watching me over their morning coffee or tea, they must have wondered if I had sanity issues: walking in half circles and back again until I found it.

A few years ago, one of the people connected to the group trying to pump up tourism or visitor numbers to Kankakee County asked for some ideas.

One of mine was doing a red or redhead festival in Momence or St Anne.

Then combining it with visits to see red-headed woodpeckers, which are relatively prevalent around the eastern end of Kankakee County with a rare chance in Illinois to see red squirrels.

Allegedly, Island Park in Momence has Illinois' big three: fox squirrels, gray squirrels and red squirrels. That could be, but I have looked for years and have never found the reds.

I have found all three just 15 miles or so south at Iroquois County State Wildlife Area.

I still think there should be a redhead festival on the most eastern end of the Kankakee watershed in Illinois.

I dream.

Winter hangs on.

Yet another morning with snow spitting. Considering we have had snow for something like five days straight, we have very little snow actually on the ground, maybe an inch, a bit more in spots.

Doves cooed down the alley near downtown.

A few Canada geese honked on the lake to the west. I thought some were flying by the sounds of it, but I never saw them.

A gray squirrel jumped the tracks as the meathead and I crossed over toward the town pond. Red-winged blackbirds trilled from the north old clay pit, still locked completely in ice.

The south pit is another story. Since yesterday, more than half the south pit has opened.

The two open areas met. The one under the bridge over the neckdown between the two old pits joined the one around the pipe from the ditch to the east.

Despite all that open water, the ice shanty is still out on the ice cap on the south end of the south pit. The open water is now within 60 feet of their shanty.

BTW, I think I know who owns the shanty or at least shares it. He is a Facebook friend.

I think decision day on the ice shanty may be today.

A mess of mourning doves fluttered off where the brush by the rail tracks ends near the feed mill.

They think spring is coming.

So many doves are around that I am losing track of them. There were a bunch here and there, along with gray squirrels, as we neared home. Enough of both that I lost track of the count.

I still like the audacity of a redhead festival, buses hauling people out to see a red squirrel at Iroquois County SWA and to Momence Wetlands to see red-headed woodpeckers.


No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 2, 2013 10:45 AM.

Ramble with Storm: Life in outdoors writing large indoors was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: Solitary life of a squirrelly bastard & a redhead is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.