Tom Schrader

The Green Heron: One of the Fox River’s More Intelligent Birds

I’ve always loved to come across a Green Heron when I’m on the river fishing or hiking in a riverside forest preserve.  These interesting herons are less frequent sights than their larger cousins, the Great Blue Heron and the Great Egret in our area.  These beautiful birds have been on the decline over the last … Read more

A New Year Class of Bald Eagles

As I write this article in early July, I’m celebrating the beginning of a wonderful Independence Day weekend for our country, but also the emergence from the nest of a new-year-class of Bald Eagles. They are making their debut in the skies over the Fox River watershed!  I have been closely following the progress of … Read more

Wow! The Fox River Has Been Really Clear!

Back in 2005, I wrote a column for the Friends of the Fox River’s newsletter entitled “How Green Is My River?” due to the incredible algae blooms that were going on that year.  For much of that year, the river was a vivid pea-soup green: not healthy for river life and not very aesthetically pleasing … Read more

Great Blue Herons Are Nesting Along the Fox River Right Now!

I frequently like to take drives along the Fox River where roads closely parallel the riverbank.  One such road that I particularly like to take during this time of year (spring) is IL Route 25 from Aurora south to Oswego.  This route passes by some great fishing areas, the sites of several water willow stands. … Read more

The Search for Snowy Owls

It’s a bright, sunny Groundhog Day as I write this article.  Punxsutawney Phil and our local groundhog, Woodstock Willie, both saw their shadows today signaling six more weeks of winter.  Whether you subscribe to these rodents’ forecasts or not, we’re in store for a fairly long period of winter weather before spring’s arrival!  I choose … Read more

Winter Birds Visiting from the Arctic

One of my favorite winter birding pastimes is searching for one of the most spectacular birds that visits northern Illinois from the Arctic north during the winter: the Snowy Owl.  While I’m searching for Snowy Owls, I occasionally come across other large raptors like Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, and Rough-legged Hawks.  I also … Read more

Tanagers in the Treetops

By now, regular readers of my blog here know that I spend a lot of time hiking in the Hoover Forest Preserve along the south bank of the Fox River in Yorkville, Illinois.  The preserve offers a wide variety of beautiful trees, colorful wildflowers, interesting animals, and a plethora of amazing birds.  This summer, one … Read more