“Jared, what is a year list?”
Well, everyone, a year list is all the nature I want to see within the next year. Yes, I know that you can’t predict nature. This is true. However, in certain places, you can find certain animals and plants much more commonly than in others. For instance, you WILL find a garter snake if you go to the old Route 66 bridge off Woodside Road near Cherry Hills Baptist Church and cross it and look in the brush and under the broken part of the road on the right or upstream side. (Sorry about the run-on sentence.) You have about a fifty percent chance of seeing a heron in the adjacent marsh. If you find a patch of prairie trillium in a woods, they will almost certainly be there the following year, provided that conditions change little.
Thus, the following is my year list for the upcoming winter, spring, and summer. Next fall, I’ll probably make a new one.
1. Find a Lady Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium spp.)
This has been a life goat of mine (I’m not changing that spelling. It makes me laugh too much) aka a life goal of mine. Perhaps the most beautiful plant in North America is the queen ladyslipper, Cypripedium reginae. That is a lifetime goat to find, but a more easy goat to fulfill is finding one of these species. Populations of yellow ladyslippers and white ladyslippers are found in central Illinois, though not in this county. I plan to find at least one of the Illinois species this upcoming year, fall equinox to fall equinox. I will be perfectly happy even finding it in a state where orchids are more common, aka all states east, north, and south of Illinois. Wisconsin has a preserve in Door County with 26 species of orchids. I plan to try and go there ASAIMOJA (as soon as it’s May or June again)
2. Find eastern prairie fringed orchids in Loda Cemetary Prairie.
This is a place an hour and a half away with a federally threatened and state endangered species of orchid. On top of that, it’s actually quite nice-looking. As the preserve is small, it ought to be somewhat easy to find this species come June/July next year.
3. Find two new snake species for me.
I have seen only a few of Illinois’ snake species. I want to see at least two more species. Some form of green snake and hognose snake would be especially fun, or a poisonous species, like a Copperhead or Cottonmouth.
4. Visit two new state parks.
There are so many state parks. I have yet to see most of them. This should be rather easy to fulfull.
5. Find short-eared owls /northern harriers in Nipper Wildlife Sanctuary.
A restored prairie area half an hour from my house has hosted these two rare migrants/winter visitors. If I visit in January/February, I have a pretty good chance to see one of the two.
6. Visit Revis Hill Prairie
This place has several insects found only here in the state, as well as the state’s only population of Western Hognose snakes and a number of rarer prairie plants.
That’s about it for now.