springtime in bluffs

Bluff lands Bloom with Vivid Floral Colors

April 4, 2012 clifftop CliffNotes

Johnson trail flowers, P. Feldker

  By mid-March our blufflands will cast off the doldrums of winter drabness and begin to color its landscape with every imaginable shade, as wave after wave, from spring to first frost, of native wildflowers come into bloom. The first flowers to blossom are called spring ephemerals, and their life strategy is a race against […]


Spring Beautiesspringtime in bluffsVirginia bluebells

April: Not At All the Cruelest Month…

April 3, 2009 clifftop CliffNotes

miami mist, T. Rollins

April is a wonderful month to view the dynamic and beautiful natural processes at work in our bluff lands. Our still leafless woods allow us to see the physical structure and layout – the skeleton – of one of Illinois’s most important natural treasures. A simple driving tour along Bluff Road, from Columbia to Modoc, […]


Cleft PhloxMiami Mistspringtime in bluffstalus slopeVirginia bluebells

Voice of the Turtle Heard in the Land

May 7, 2008 clifftop CliffNotes

Turtles seem to have such detached insouciance — an armored implacability, an unsettling hold on life.  They are the most ancient line of living reptiles, with fossilized specimens dated from over 250 million years ago. Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands, including the once-local Illini peoples, revered turtles, viewing them as representative of Great Turtle, […]


Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoisspringtime in bluffsturtles

Bluffs Alive with Spring Songs

April 9, 2008 clifftop CliffNotes

By late April almost any patch of woods in our bluff lands comes alive with bird song.  The early-rising listener can hear night fade to dawn and catch the calls of owls as they head to daytime roosts and perhaps also hear the last songs of whippoorwills fading in the distance.  But even while the […]


bird songdwarf larkspurNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoispuccoon flowersspringtime in bluffs

Enduring Natural Rhythms Toll in Springtime Wonders

March 5, 2008 clifftop CliffNotes

A March morning in the bluffs is only as drab as one who walks in it without looking skyward, for, in March, the sky-clock clearly is set at springtime.  Trumpeting skeins of geese — Greater White-fronted speckle bellies, Ross’s, Snowies, and Canadas — winging through the skies, draw eyes and hopes upwards: northward bird migration […]


Natural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoisspringtime in bluffs

The Hummers are Coming and Spring is a’hummin!

April 4, 2007 clifftop CliffNotes

Hummingbird & Ruellia, P. Feldker

Ruby-throated hummingbirds will return to the bluff lands of Monroe, St. Clair, and Randolph Counties in April. They usually arrive the third week of the month. The little gems cross the Gulf of Mexico twice each year, taking about 18-20 nonstop hours for each 500-mile, over-water crossing. Each bird travels alone (they don’t ride on […]


HummingbirdsNatural History in Monroe St. Clair and Randolph Counties Illinoisspringtime in bluffs

Geese Trumpet and Call In the Spring

March 7, 2007 clifftop CliffNotes

Canada Geese abstract, T. Rollins

Canada geese truly herald and trumpet the arrival of spring over the bluff lands of Monroe, St. Clair, and Randolph Counties. Conservationist and hunter Aldo Leopold said it best in 1940 with the observation “…one skein of geese, clearing the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.” Canada geese are very much family creatures. […]


BloodrootCanada GeeseCleft PhloxMourning Cloak ButterfySpring Beautiesspringtime in bluffs

Early Spring in Our Bluffs: Grass, Frogs, Owls & More

February 7, 2007 clifftop CliffNotes

Spring has already arrived in the wooded bluff lands of Monroe and Randolph Counties. High above Bluff Road, on the limestone ledges of the bluffs’ escarpment, whitlow grass is blooming. A little plant, hairy-stemmed, with tiny, white, four-petaled flowers, whitlow grass really isn’t a grass, but a member of the mustard family. It is a […]


owlsspring peepersspringtime in bluffs

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