Tom Schrader

The Great Migration of Small, Colorful Birds

I’m writing this column on the evening of the warmest day of the year so far, where the temperatures peaked in the low 80s after having snowed earlier in the week.  A strong south wind brought these warm, nearly tropical, temperatures to the Fox River Valley.  Those same strong south winds have also brought up … Read more

One of America’s Largest Birds Visits the Fox River Valley

On one recent cloudy, cold and blustery Friday morning, I received a text from a friend telling me that there was a flock of pelicans on the Fox River near the observation platform overlooking the Fox River in the far northeastern corner of the Hoover Forest Preserve in Yorkville, Illinois.  Having the day off, I … Read more

A Rap Star Along the Fox River

Hello again fellow Fox River Valley nature enthusiasts!  As I write this column it is mid-February and a rather dreary, cold, and cloudy day.  We’ve had a couple of warmer days recently though that promise that spring is on the way and indeed, at least astronomically, spring begins in late March.  While March has never … Read more

The Fox and the Owl

For this month’s edition of my Reflections on the Fox blog, I thought I’d relate a couple of incidents that occurred this past weekend (January 21-23), on a couple of my Snowy Owl safaris, that I found truly amazing.  It was a cold and snowy weekend that I thought would be perfect for Snowy Owl … Read more

Observing the Night Sky

December marks the Christmas season, the onset of winter, and the shortest day of the year.  Despite it being “the most wonderful time of the year” according to a favorite holiday song, December provides challenges for those of us who enjoy exploring the outdoors in our Fox River Valley.  The cold and sometimes snowy weather … Read more

Let’s Talk Turkey

November is a month of change in the Fox River Valley.  The days grow shorter and colder, many of the migratory birds have left or are well into the process of leaving for warmer southern climes, and the growing season (and mosquito season!) have come to an end with the arrival of the Fall’s first … Read more

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s a…

Sandhill Crane!  We’re now entering the time of year when the southbound migration of these magnificent birds is starting to get into full swing.  The distinctive, undulating trill of a call that resonates through the autumn skies signals the overflight of another flock of cranes heading toward their southern wintering grounds.  New Settlers in Our … Read more

male Indigo Bunting by Tom Schrader

“Blues” Along the Fox

It’s July and with COVID easing, summer festival season is here! Many municipalities up and down the Fox River Valley have celebrated Independence Day and the beginning of the summer season with public events centered around good music and refreshing food and drink. However, the musical blues aren’t what I’m referring to in the title … Read more