Chicago outdoors: Fence-climbing snakes, buck in velvet, forecast Lake Erie algal bloom, top bass lakes

A question on fence-climbing snakes, a buck in velvet, the mild forecast for the Lake Erie algal bloom and Bassmaster’s ranking of top bass lakes are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors.

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A beautiful big buck in velvet in Tinley Park. Credit: Jay Damm

A beautiful big buck in velvet in Tinley Park.

Jay Damm

Notes come from all around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

BUCK OF THE WEEK: UNPLUGGED

Jay Damm photographed this “trophy buck in velvet while standing in [his] driveway in Tinley Park. They’re frequent visitors to my yard after dark usually during the cold winter months, but this one caught me off guard.” I would love to see it in about three months.

BOTW Unplugged, the celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors, runs as apt in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. To make submissions, email BowmanOutside@gmail.com or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

WILD TIMES

U.S. COAST GUARD AUXILIARY

Next Saturday, July 10: Boat America, Chicago, Dan O’Connell, cgaux.doc@gmail.com . . . Weekend navigator, Waukegan, Curt Schumacher, curts402@aol.com

FISHING DERBY

Friday, July 9, to July 18: New dates of the postponed Kankakee River Fishing Derby, kankakeefishingderby.com

DALE’S MAILBAG

Snakes warming on a fence in Brookfield. Provided photo

Snakes warming on a fence in Brookfield.

Provided

“Why are snakes chilling on top of Brookfield fences?” Matt C. on Saturday

A: I guessed with the weather they were getting out of pooled water or warming up. But I double-checked with Chris Phillips, principal herpetologist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, who emailed, “Most likely both of your suggestions are correct. The pooled water made them cold and to dry out they climbed the fence. The metal fence also absorbs heat from the sun and the snake can transfer that heat to its body.”

BIG NUMBER

1: Ranking of Lake Fork in Texas in the Bassmaster 100 Best Bass Lakes. In the central area, Illinois’ Newton Lake was 23rd. Click here for more listings.

LAST WORD

“NOAA and its research partners are forecasting that western Lake Erie will experience a smaller-than-average harmful algal bloom this summer. A relatively dry spring will lead to a repeat of last year’s mild bloom - this is the first time in more than a dozen years that mild blooms have occurred in consecutive summers.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on this year’s forecast algal bloom to measure 3, same as 2020; the largest blooms occurred in 2011 (10) and 2015 (10.5). Click here for more

This is an algal bloom in Saginaw Bay, as seen by aircraft during a flyover in summer of 2019. This airborne campaign is ongoing in conjunction with NOAA weekly Lake Erie monitoring and biweekly sampling in Saginaw Bay. The flyovers are done in collaboration with researchers at NASA Glenn. Credit: Zachary Haslick, Aerial Associates Photography Inc.

This is an algal bloom in Saginaw Bay, as seen by aircraft during a flyover in summer of 2019. This airborne campaign is ongoing in conjunction with NOAA weekly Lake Erie monitoring and biweekly sampling in Saginaw Bay. The flyovers are done in collaboration with researchers at NASA Glenn.

Zachary Haslick, Aerial Associates Photography Inc.

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