Tuesday 11 August 2015. Back to Homer Lake

It was 66 degrees F at 6 am under “loosely” cloudy skies. Today I would make the second trip this summer to Homer Lake.  It would be good for the miles and to see whether there might be cardinal flowers like I’d seen there the last couple years. 

Headed east on Washington and tried very hard to stop as little as possible. But the sky was worth a pause. 

Heard dickcissels in the soybean fields and occasionally saw one up on a utility line. But no stopping for photos. 

At 5-6 miles the hips and knees complained and then felt better, though they peeped again intermittently. So the comfort level wasn’t super high the whole way. Which sowed a seed of doubt about how much fun this was. But kept on, looking forward to the possibility of seeing cardinal flowers. 

Stopped at the marker of the historic Kelly’s Tavern,  

where Lincoln allegedly stopped on his judicial circuit.  It has a nice garden of prairie plants, including plenty of common milkweed. Did not see any monarch caterpillars, but there were these picturesque milkweed bugs. 

 Also, behind the marker, on the other side of the row of conifers, was an elk, or some deer-kin, farm. Did see two or three exotic deer or elk as I passed the entrance but didn’t stop for a photo. 

Stopped at the bridge over the Salt Fork and got a shot of clouds on the water.  

 Arrived at Homer Lake  and heard a great splashing sound: a deer crossing the water. Usually they are so quiet.   

 Then heard a big squawk: great blue heron to the east, and then another to the southwest.  But didn’t get a photo. 

Saw swirls in the water near shore and just made out a large carp.  


Looked for cardinal flowers but did not find any. Did see dragonflies (center of the photo).  

 Guess at least some of them are out in the early morning. 

The diversity of wildflowers was not as high as I remember from a previous visit, but the hoary vervain were nice.  

 I suppose there may have been cardinal flowers lurking close to the shore among the high vegetation, but didn’t want to spend too much time walking through it.  So turned around and headed back. 

 Had to wait, though not for very long, for a train.  
Had to admit that my knees and hips were a little cranky and the ride was not 100% comfortable.  But on I went, on to the next mile, “corn to the left of me, soybeans to the right, here I am, stuck in central Illinois.”

Saw vultures circling tightly over the same trees they were near 


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