Day Three Hundred Thirty-five

Surprisingly Good Walk for a Random Pick

Frankfort Square Trail SunsetBy the time we finished some chores and watched the Bears fritter away the game, we got a late start on our walk this afternoon. With darkness approaching, we didn’t want to travel far so I used the bicycle overlay on Google Maps and haphazardly chose a trail between housing developments in Frankfort Square and Frankfort, Illinois.

The paved trail runs near Hickory Creek and around various flood management ponds. Much of the area is slotted for development but yet to be built (another result of the economy). We loved having fewer houses around for our walk though and really enjoyed our sunset views.
Frankfort SquareRight around dusk, near the farthest point of our walk, I saw a bird atop a street lamp and shot several pictures of it, trying to figure out what kind of bird it was. Once I returned home I had to zoom in on my computer to get a good look at the bird, but determined it’s an American Kestrel. (Add another new bird to the list!) I have entered these pictures in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light! Check it out, here.

When we were walking back to the car, I thought I heard an owl. As we got closer and closer to the car, it got louder and louder, because there were two great horned owls quite close to the trail! It was too dark to get any detailed photos (and there was too much brush to focus well), but I did get a couple of silhouette pictures.  It was so cool! Even though it was too dark for good pictures, it was a great time to go bird watching!
Frankfort Square OwlsI never would have guessed that the digital equivalent of throwing a dart at a map would have given us such a great walk!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

American Kestrel on a Streetlamp

I took the following pictures at dusk in a new housing development. I was trying to figure out what kind of bird this is while walking on Day Three Hundred Thirty-five of my “Walk Every Day in 2013” resolution. I kept shooting as I got closer and closer to the bird, until he had enough of me and flew away. Thankfully, because of the light from this streetlamp, I was able to determine that it is an American Kestrel.

My bird book states that it’s a fairly common bird, but I’ve never seen one before tonight. So even though these are not the crispest, clearest photos in the world, I do get to add the American Kestrel to my list of new birds that I’ve seen while out walking in 2013!

Day Three Hundred Thirty-four

Back to Cranberry Slough

Back on Day 320, my husband had a meeting and was unable to join us on a walk around Cranberry Slough, part of the Palos Trail System of the Cook County Forest Preserve near Palos Park, Illinois. Since my husband and middle son, home for Thanksgiving weekend, would be joining me today, I thought they would enjoy the unusual topography and great views, and we headed back.

Cranberry Slough1Unfortunately, in the two weeks since the last time we were here, the remainder of the leaves have fallen or turned the dull brown of late fall. But on a positive note, the full sun, low in the sky, gave us some great lighting for a family walk through the woods.Cranberry Slough 2I have only one month to go on my walking resolution! My 2013 grail bird, the pileated woodpecker, remains yet unseen. We did see some large square holes in dead trees near the trail, and I wonder if it could mean that there have been some in these woods . . .

Good walk!

Day One Hundred Ninety-six

Sunset Walk

Happy 14th birthday to my youngest son today!

After celebrating this evening, I really did not feel like heading out for a walk in the heat and humidity. Once we had eaten birthday cake and my son had opened his gifts, I mentioned that I didn’t get a walk in today.  My ever-supportive husband said that he needed to go to the ATM anyhow and volunteered to walk with me.  Since it was also the “golden hour” (the hour before sunset), and I really did want to take some pictures, off we went.

We enjoyed walking together–my husband talking real estate (homes for sale in the neighborhood and new businesses in town) and me pointing out pretty cloud formations and the moon.  Classic!

Good day, good walk!

Postscript:  I entered WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge:  Golden Hour.  Here are some additional pictures that I took this evening:

Sunset in the Neighborhood