Johnson County

Wildcat Bluff - Little Black Slough

From the Wildcat Bluff parking area, you can access the same network of trails that leads to Boss Island and Heron Pond from Michael Wolf Memorial Wetland. The trail to the west goes steeply down the bluff to the Cache River, where there is a ford consisting of concrete stepping stones that lead across to Boss Island. The woods here are home to most of the southern Illinois breeding specialties, including Hooded Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Red-shouldered Hawk, Barred Owl, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Parula, Kentucky Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush. The cane breaks along the Cache River have traditionally been breeding grounds for Swainson’s Warbler.  Though this species has been confirmed here in recent years, there is a lot of habitat to deal with. The terrain is very rough and wet, the mosquitos, ticks and chiggers overwhelming, and Cottonmouth is a common and dangerous snake in the wet areas. Timber Rattlesnake is found up on the wooded bluffs. Use common sense if hiking the trail across the river.

The trail to the east goes a short distance to an overlook from near the top of the bluff. This can be an excellent spot to watch for soaring birds of prey, including Red-shouldered Hawk, Black Vulture and especially Mississippi Kite. The kites often fly at or below the observer’s eye-level and sometimes quite close, offering unprecedented views of this aerialist in Illinois. Soaring Anhinga have been seen from here also.

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