Golden brown grasses hold light brown seedheads in a prairie.
Little Bluestem Grass Autumn brown colors show on little bluestem grasses this month. © Angie Cole

Stories in Illinois

Illinois Nature Notes for October

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

Tupelo gum seeds begin to fall, Copper Iris matures seed and oyster mushrooms appear in the Cache River wetlands.

Coots and waterfowl such as mallards, gadwell, pintail, and widgeon begin arriving in larger numbers in late October, while neo-tropical migrants such as warblers are moving through the upland forests at Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms.

Kettles of migrating raptors such as red-tailed, rough-legged, and occasional red-shouldered hawks can be seen gliding wind currents up and over the river bluffs at Emiquon and Spunky Bottoms.

Dragonflies migrating south, praying mantis laying winter eggs and butterflies seek winter shelter in the Cache River Wetlands.

Little bluestem prairie and other tall grasses turn to their own beautiful fall colors. On a windy day it looks like a sea at Nachusa Grasslands.

A grey and black duck with blue bill and long tail, floats on bright blue water.
Northern Pintail Waterfowl such as northern pintail begin arriving in larger numbers in late October. © Brian E. Small

Cool days and cooler nights bring on the annual movement of snakes from bottomland wetlands to upland bluff hibernaria; snakes can be seen crossing County Highway 12 at Spunky Bottoms.

Prairie grasses turn many shades of fall colors at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.

Blooms of pin weed, cardinal flower, Riddell's golden rod, New England aster, swamp beggars tics, and boneset at Kankakee Sands Preserve.