Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinois

Cape Monroe ~~ A Great Place for Wildlife Viewing

April 4, 2012 clifftop CliffNotes

Gulls at Fults NP

  Cape Monroe (County), on the southwest coast of Illinois, is a renowned haven for wildlife. The reasons are simple: location and habitats. A bird’s-eye-view of the landscape helps to explain our county’s attraction for wildlife. The Mississippi River flyway, and associated riparian wildlife corridor, is the longest migration route in the Western Hemisphere, running […]


Bald EaglesFults Hill Prairie Nature PreserveKidd Lake Marsh Natural AreaNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties IllinoisSeeing Eagles in Monroe County Illinois

Something to Hoot About: Owls

April 4, 2012 clifftop CliffNotes

Great-horned owl, T. Rollins

  Owls enjoy our special fascination. Perhaps it’s because they are a caricature of us: with upright, sometimes cuddly-looking, vertical posture, big, cheeky and expressive faces with large, emotive eyes, and cute little ears. But they really are the bird version of a wolf in sheep’s clothing: like a cat with wings, they are skillful […]


Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoisowls

Bluff Lands Corridor Vital to Wildlife as Climate Warms

August 5, 2011 clifftop CliffNotes

landscape & road, D. FitzWilliam

A recent report, commissioned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, makes the strongest case yet of the crucial importance of our Mississippi River bluff corridor for the long-term vitality of wildlife in the state. The Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy’s May 2011 report —Adapting Conservation to a Changing Climate: An Update to the […]


" Illinois wildlife and climate change"Adapting Conservation to Climate Change: An Update to the Illinois Wildlife Action PlanIllinois OzarksNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinois

Biological Treasure Hunt and Festival at Salt Lick Point Land & Water Reserve

June 1, 2011 clifftop CliffNotes

BioBlitz field trip, T. Rollins

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld occasionally rhapsodized to the press about varieties of “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” The mystery and challenges of discovery – the ability to transfer the unknown into the column marked known – is a continual stimulus. That urge to know brought 52 scientists and naturalists to Valmeyer’s […]


BioBlitz at Salt Lick Point ValmeyerFestival of the Bluffs 2011Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties IllinoisSalt Lick Point LWR

Biological Diversity Serves Us!

April 5, 2011 clifftop CliffNotes

waterfall, D. FitzWilliam

Our Mississippi River bluff land corridor is one of the most diverse natural areas in Illinois. The corridor constitutes its own ecosystem– the Northern Ozark Natural Division– and stands on its own singular geologic formation — the Salem Plateau– both science-based measures of the region’s uniqueness in the state. An ecosystem is simply the sum […]


Bio-diversity and human healthBioBlitz at Salt Lick Point ValmeyerEcological Systems ServicesNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoistick-born diseases

The Unique Nature, Wildlife, and Habitats of Our Bluff Lands

March 4, 2011 clifftop CliffNotes

White Rock, T. Rollins

Dennis Knobloch, Vice President, Clifftop I grew up in the dawn’s long shadows of the bluff line. I have watched a lifetime of sunsets illuminating the cliff face — like a limestone necklace, jewelling the landscape of Valmeyer. My German ancestors spoke legions about the bluff lands’ magic and bounty; they spoke with that old […]


forests in Monroe Countyhill prairiesNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoisoutdoor recreation in Southwestern IllinoisWhite Rock Nature Preserve

A Gathering of Eagles

February 4, 2011 clifftop CliffNotes

Bald Eagle, T. Rollins

The bottoms are abuzz with reports of large concentrations of Bald Eagles along Levee Road. Nothing seems to capture the imagination and excitement of Monroe Countians like a gathering of eagles.  2010 was a remarkable year for eagle watchers in our area and the numbers seen so far this year indicate that 2011 may be […]


Bald EaglesNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties IllinoisSeeing Bald Eagles in Southwestern IllinoisSeeing Eagles in Monroe County Illinois

It’s the Berries! Bluff Lands’ Critters Depend on ‘Em

December 3, 2010 clifftop CliffNotes

Cedar waxwing, T. Spivey

Now that cold winter has gripped our bluff lands, many natural sources of animal wildlife foodstuffs are becoming depleted. While “hard mast” oak acorns and hickory nuts strew our forest floor, they will begin to decompose in the winter’s duff. Our grasses and forbs, both important animal food sources, have died back. Crops, which help […]


Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoissoft mastwildlife food

Itchy, Scratchy, Stingy? Or Soothing, Snackable?

September 17, 2010 clifftop CliffNotes

stinging nettle, Univ. of Ohio

One causes an immediate “ouch, that hurts!” while the other may take days to elicit a similar response.  Both are attractive, almost begging a touch.  And, both may be encountered throughout our rich wooded bluff lands, particularly in moist soils along creeks, ravines, and shaded slopes. Canada nettle (Laportea canadensis), also called “wood nettle” or […]


Eastern Comma butterflyjewelweedNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoispoison ivystinging nettle

Landscape as Humanscape: Guardians and Caretakers?

July 2, 2010 clifftop CliffNotes

boy, pointing, T. Rollins

In the past 300 years, people have transformed Monroe County’s landscape. In pre-European settlement times, 86% of Monroe County’s 255,000 acres was forested, including portions of the American Bottoms and most of the uplands. There were approximately 13,000 acres of prairie — five percent of county lands — with a large swathe of tall grass […]


Humanscape and LandscapeNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinois

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