A wood duck floating on water reflecting the colors of the fall leaves above it.
Wood Duck in Autumn A wood duck surrounded by sunrise-reflected colors of fall leaves. © Jeff Goudy/TNC Photo Contest 2018

Stories in Illinois

Illinois Nature Notes for September

Find out which plants and wildlife you can spot this month!

In September's cooler air, wood ducks are staging and roosting nightly in the lotus beds at Spunky BottomsBoltonia decurrens (Federally Threatened) are also in full bloom at Spunky Bottoms and and asters are blooming along the Illinois River at Emiquon.

Blazing stars and Heather aster are in bloom at Nachusa Grasslands throughout the month while gentians, asters and ferns bloom at Indian Boundary Prairies in late September.

A great egret about to catch a fish in its mouth.
Great Egret These large birds hunt by standing immobile or wading slowly in shallow water and catching fish with a swift, but deadly, jab of their bill. © Graham F. Owen

Large concentrations of great egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, black-crowned herons and the occasional snowy egret can be seen around lake margins and shallows at Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms.

Blooms of bidens, gentian, asters and goldenrods at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Meanwhile at Kankakee Sands, purple false fox glove, flat top aster, saw toothed sunflower, rice cut grass, and rough golden rod are in bloom.

Jewelweed seedpods ripen and white and black oak acorns are falling in the Cache River Wetlands as bats begin to enter hibernation and deer rut begins at the Grassy Slough Preserve.

Explore the Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns 7 preserves in Illinois and nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

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