From June 2-8, 2011, I went to visit my friend Terri in Southern Illinois,
where she manages the War Bluff Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
for the Illinois Audubon Society. Usually, we only run into each other
in international departure lounges (first meeting in LAX for the 2002 China trip),
so I was looking forward to seeing her on her home turf for a change. My visit was
timed for the annual Cache River Nature Fest,
which I'd been wanting to attend for several years and which turned out to be a great
The War Bluff Sanctuary is just amazing with the diversity of wildlife it
holds in its nearly 500 acres of woods, meadows, and ponds. Several species of frogs
and lots of cicadas provided the background to an incredible variety of insects,
birds, reptiles and amphibians, and mammals. I was truly surprised
and fascinated by it all, and definitely hope to return to see what all's going on
as the seasons change. Contributing to the entertainment and educational content
of our exploratory forays was my constant companion, Terri's new puppy, Jade,
who typically led the way and often pointed out interesting things she came across,
including snakes, salamanders, turtles, feathers, and bones. Meanwhile, the cats
Opal and Topaz, patrolled the homefront, with Opal tolerating the presence of another
human, and Topaz decimating the local frog population.
Following are some of the pictures from my visit that might give some idea
of the place and the incredible biodiversity it contains.
Click on any of the thumbnails to view a larger version in a separate window.