Tom Schrader

River Royalty (Part 2)

A few months ago, I wrote about tyrant flycatchers, including the Eastern Kingbird and called them the “kings” of the Fox River Valley for their ferocious feeding habits and their generally fierce (for a cute little bird anyhow) behavior.  This month, I’m writing about another bird with a “royal” title for many of the same … Read more

The Canary in the Coal Mine: A Cautionary Tale

Maybe you have heard of the practice that coal miners used in the pre-modern technology “old days” of mining; they took a canary in a cage with them into the underground mine to detect the presence of deadly gases that would pose a mortal threat to the miners.  The theory was that the canary, more … Read more

The “Kings” of the Air Above the Fox River

I’ve fished the lower Fox River by boat for the last 45 years.  During that time, I’ve caught a lot of fish and seen a lot of neat things along the river.  A recent hike at the Hoover Forest Preserve reminded me of one of my favorite things to do while fishing: observing the birds … Read more

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