It looks like it is going to go by fast folks, the fall colors that is, so get out and enjoy as much of it as you can.

It looks like it is going to go by fast folks, the fall colors that is, so get out and enjoy as much of it as you can. The high winds that we had earlier in the week didn’t help matters much, and if we get another few days of high winds, there might not be much left for us to enjoy.

In just a matter of a few days the forest went from green to yellow. No, it is not totally full-blown yet but probably will be by the time you read this. Don’t let the time to get out slip by too quickly. In fact, I just heard that next week we have the possibility of seeing some snow. Not sure where the snow model came from, or the exact boundary line, but just heard that Illinois could see its first snow of the season.

I did head to the woods the other day. I had the camera along but really wanted nothing more than to just sit in the quiet forest. While I do like to wander around and explore, there are times when I prefer to find a good-looking spot and just sit. Now when sitting I don’t always keep tabs on what is going on around me. At first, of course, you must adapt to your surroundings. Get your bearings straight on where you are comes next. Then give a quick scan to see or even hear what is around you. Once you’ve done all that you then make yourself even more comfortable and that is when you can begin to ponder whatever comes to mind. Thoughts come easily when you are alone in the forest.

Sleep will soon follow, after you are totally relaxed. You might not want it, might even have to try to fight it off, but it will happen. Some will question how or why you would even want to fall asleep while out in the woods. Well, I don’t purposely go to the woods to sleep. Normally it is one of those slow drift-offs where you never go into a deep sleep. A light snap of a twig is enough to wake you. Now, if we had grizzly bears wandering around then I wouldn’t recommend the sleep thing.

After my Zen time, as I was heading out of the forest, I spot a number of birds in the trees along the edge of the pond. Another small flock of Robins had arrived. They must like this area. You might recall me telling you recently about a flock of Robins here in this very spot. After a few days they were gone now only to be replaced by another flock.

I do see two species of birds here that were not present just a few days earlier. The first is a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. I typically see them here in good numbers during the migration periods. And today there are several. These little guys, however, are hard to photograph because they never sit still. They are easily identified by exactly what their name tells you — a golden crown on top of their head.

While the Golden-Crowns prefer the lower branches of the tree line, there is a bird that moves about just a little higher in the trees. It is one of my favorite birds, the Cedar Waxwing. There is a small migrating flock here. They offer a better chance for a photograph, and I snap a few when I can.

I then see this squirrel. I’m sitting down when the squirrel comes down the tree, maybe 10 to 12 feet away. I am more or less out in the open and have been moving freely about while trying to photograph the birds. But the squirrel stares as though it has never seen a human before. This happens quite a bit when I am in full camouflage and the squirrels are trying to figure out exactly what I am, but I am not in full camo today. This squirrel knows, I think, what is going on.

We have a stare down for good two minutes. Even took a few photographs during our stand-off. The stare down ends with me as the victor (I think) as the squirrel decides to finish its intended business. But the squirrel hangs close and stays within that 10- to 12-foot boundary as it roots around on the forest floor. I go about my business and soon forget about my squirrel friend. I never did notice the squirrel leave.

***Over the next few weeks I will share a few tidbits about Big Creek, especially the portion that runs through the park. Earlier in the week I spent a morning with Dick Huff and Kevin Stephenson as we explored some of the creek and heard a few stories from Dick on how he remembers the creek. Dick did say that the creek used to run a little deeper and was a lot cleaner back in the day before the mine began to silt it up. There were a few fish in there, too. Dick said there were a few catfish, and he would catch the suckers and go home and cook them. We will also talk about bridges, grazing cattle and a funny piece on an escaped monkey.