Please read this...the journey continues...

...a year of visits to the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro...continued from last week...

July 6. Goodness. Starting second half of the year on this adventure. Time flies.

Speaking of flying, or not, today: S'no geese. Not snow geese. Is no geese. Sorry. Didn't see any of the goose family. Maybe they are looking for someplace to stay cool, 'cause it's sure warm and humid. 

Upon arrival, could hear two crows calling. Several hawks, too. And, strangely enough, heard the sounds of a power tool off in the distance.

Lots and lots of dragonflies flying today. Guess they like the weather.

While on walk around pond, a hawk flew right overhead. I'd like to think we made eye contact. Probably not. At least the critter wasn't looking for a mid-afternoon snack. 

July 13. Hot. Hot. Hot. Heat index approximately 152 degrees. A goose was making a cup of tea in the pond. At least there was a breeze.

Squirrels and robins were quite busy, in spite of the heat and humidity. Did not see a single turtle.

A couple of young folks were riding bicycles at the picnic grounds. At one point, I heard one of them saying something about a photographer. "That's what I want to do when I grow up," the other responded. Made my heart feel good. 

July 20. HOT. HOT. HOT. Even hotter than last week. The picnic grounds were pretty quiet today. A bit of a breeze offered some relief in stifling heat and humidity.

A fellow was jogging at about 2:30 in the afternoon. "I'm addicted," he said about running. 

Only one goose was spotted today. (Footnote: made a "pit stop" at the picnic grounds on Friday morning of this. The same lone goose, I think, was standing near the parking lot, calling...and calling...)

July 27. Today's visit was "magical," for lack of a better word.

(Another word which came to mind was "humid." As in the summer air was thick as the proverbial pea soup.)

Not long prior to a mid-afternoon visit, there had been a bit of a downpour. By the time I arrived, the rain had stopped.

Still, there was the rhythmic sound of water on leaves in the trees falling to the ground, which was complemented by a young man in the gazebo who was playing a guitar.

During a walk on the pathway around the pond, I paused to watch a black swallowtail butterfly which appeared to be getting a drink or two from the rain which had fallen on the ground. At one point, the butterfly took to the air and circled around me a couple of times. Magical.

Aug. 3. Warm today. Off in the distance (in the southwest?), thunder is rumbling.

The path around the pond was "off limits" today due to maintenance work. So, I wandered through the area of the picnic grounds where the statues of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas stand watch. 

Can't help but think, as this is written, if politics during their day might have been at least a little more cordial than they are today. Don't think so. At least Lincoln and Douglas wouldn't have had to cope with a 24/7 news cycle. And "fake news." 

Did see three black butterflies having fun together at the butterfly garden. They did not cooperate for a photograph. 

Not a squirrel to be seen today.

Aug. 10. Almost forgot to do this in, did not jot down some thoughts until almost a week later. The visit was pretty quiet. Maintenance work still being done on path. 

Aug. 17. Only a few more days until the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. Excitement is building.

Major repair work is underway on the path at the picnic groups. The work is being done to repair damage caused by heavy rains.

Saw more people than "wildlife" at the picnic grounds today, which was very warm and very humid.

Only saw a couple of turtles in the pond today. The pond is nearly covered in what I think is bright green algae.

Aug. 24. A good portion of the pond covered in green algae. Well, as noted previously, I think it's algae. Not a turtle to be seen.

A man and a boy were fishing today. Couldn't tell if they were having any success.

 Heard the calling of a bird which I could not identify. Maybe I need to learn more about bird calls.

Aug. 31. Cloudy. Breezy. Experiencing remnants of what used to be Hurricane Harvey.

Today, there are hints of autumn; fallen, and falling, leaves and their aromas. 

Saw and photographed several birds, which I could not identify. Again, did not see any geese.

The pond is really low and almost completely covered in green "algae." Saw three turtles. More than half a dozen small frogs leaped into the water. Not as many dragonflies as in recent weeks.

A man was walking his Dalmatian. The dog saw me and started barking. The man assured me that the dog was friendly, and excitable.

Sept. 7. Bright, sunny, mild day. Today's visit was tempered by uncertainty surrounding two friends. 

Lots of vehicles in parking lot; more than usual. Several others were on walks.

At one point, walked under a tree and heard what sounded like raindrops falling. Apparently, I was hearing seed pods as they fell from the tree. The ground underneath the tree was "crunchy" from all of the pods which had fallen.

Only saw one dragonfly today.

Sept. 14. Feels like summer again. Pond almost completely covered in algae. Saw one turtle, couple of dragonflies. Heard the sound of a leaf blower.

Sept. 21. Thank goodness, there was a bit of a breeze today. On the way to the picnic grounds, a weather guy on the radio said the heat index in the afternoon would be around 100 degrees. In September.

Saw three turtles, all underwater. One dragonfly. And a squirrel, which was carrying a snack in its mouth. As I got closer, the squirrel scampered away, into the woods. Guess it didn't want to share its goodies.

Sept. 28. End of September already. Sunny, mild, weather much nicer than last visit. 

Seemed to be more people than I usually see at the picnic grounds. Noisier, too. Several dogs barking.

Turtles may be getting as much sunshine as possible before the cold weather arrives. 

Not as much algae on pond today. Maybe algae has a life cycle?

Oct. 5. Warm, no, make that hot today. 

Disappointed to find garbage left behind by somebody who apparently had gone fishing at the pond. Mostly packaging stuff. (Yes, I picked up the trash and disposed of it.)

A couple of turtles seemed to be enjoying the warmth and sunshine. Wonder if such days are numbered.

Mowing was being done today. Large clouds of dust, 'cause it's been way too dry.

Oct. 12. Overcast. Cool. Pond water level up significantly; downpours during past week probably helped. Algae in pond appears to be gone. 

Didn't see a turtle. Or a dragonfly. More leaves are changing colors.

Thiiiiisss close to stepping in poop. Real poop. Not the emoji.

Oct. 19. Wonderfully warm, and sunny, for the 19th day in the 10th month of the year. Maybe that's why there were so many people at the picnic grounds today. Even saw a vehicle with a Colorado license plate. 

Several people walking dogs. Tiny dogs. Trees are showing a bit more of a hint of autumn's colors. Turtles were enjoying the October sunshine, too.  

Oct. 20. Bonus visit this week. Critter Night. Lots of folks out on a very nice October evening.

Oct. 26. Goodness. Is it really almost the end of October? Sunshine. Bright blue sky. Breezy. Mild temperatures.

More trees are showing more of autumn's colors. Wonder how long the display will last. Lots of leaves falling onto the surface of the pond. 

As some of the fallen leaves scoot across the pond, they look like miniature swans.

Turtles still catching some rays as they prepare for the winter.

"Beautiful day," a fellow walker shared as we passed on the path. Amen to that.

Just out of curiosity, decided to count the number of steps this adventure takes. About a thousand, give or take. 

Nov. 2. Is this really November? Sunshine. Breezy. Very warm. Oddly enough, nobody else was at the picnic grounds today. 

Nov. 9. An absolutely glorious day, especially for those of us who like cool, crisp and sunny autumn afternoons. 

Did not expect to see a turtle today. Yet, there it was. Basking in the bright sunshine, on a log in the pond. 

Saw a kingfisher. I think. Again, I am hardly a bird expert.

Leaves were falling by the hundreds. Many are bright yellow. 

Don't know how many times I walked past some rather noteworthy information. A map posted on a sign at the picnic grounds showed the length of the pathways which I've been walking since January.

The "inside loop" is .24 of a mile long. The "pond loop," which is one yours truly has walked the most, is .41 of a mile long. The "outside loop" is .36 of a mile long.

Nov. 16. An absolutely beautiful day. Visited the picnic grounds in the morning, just 'cause the schedule worked out that way.

Bright blue sky, with some white clouds. Chilly. Some might even say cold. About 40 degrees.

Was a bit surprised to actually see a turtle. The critter was taking a break on the bank of the pond, and slllooowwllly eased into the water.

Most of the leaves have fallen from most of of the trees. Hard to believe November, and the year, are coming to an end.

Nov. 22. Visited on a Wednesday this week. 'cause Thursday is Thanksgiving. Could be in a turkey dinner-induced stupor at about the time I would "normally" go on this little adventure.

Visited during the morning. Cold. Bright blue sky. Not a cloud to be seen. Not a turtle to be seen this week, either.

Did see a heron, which was kind enough to pose for some pictures. Maybe the heron was planning ahead for Thanksgiving dinner.

Nov. 30. Beautiful Thursday. Bright blue sky, with a few clouds off the south; lots of sunshine.

Saw three turtles. On the last day of November. The critters were taking in some autumn sunshine.

Near the end of today's walk, could hear some tapping/thumping in a tree above. Way above. Spotted two pileated woodpeckers. 

Got acquainted with a dog the size of a small bus. The human being who accompanied the big ol' dog said that the critter thinks that everybody loves him. Thank goodness.

Got in the car to head back to the real world. Turned on the radio. Ozzy was singing "Mama, I'm Coming Home." Gosh, I thought, I am home. And it may not get any better than this.

Dec. 7. What a difference a week makes. Today is cold. The light breeze is cold. It's the kind of cold that makes your eyes tear up and your nose drip.

A hawk was calling in the distance. Then a crow. And another crow.

Most of the tree limbs are bare now, which made it easier to see a pileated woodpecker. Just one this week. Way up in the trees. Don't think they want to get a good picture.

Dec. 14. Cold. Gray sky. Squirrels and birds were busy little creatures today. 

Goodness. The year is almost over...

Dec. 21. Visiting during the morning today. All was calm. Maybe the critters are getting ready for Christmas.







The Gazette-Democrat

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Anna, Illinois 62906
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