A Little Time and a Keyboard: Admiring the View at Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Admiring the View at Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois

 Admiring the View at Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserve in Elgin, IllinoisAppreciating a Mosaic of Ecosystems at Bluff Spring Fen

Bluff Spring Fen offers a nature adventure through a blend of ecosystems nestled in a rolling 160-acre preserve. The preserve includes a mosaic of wetland, woodland, prairie and savanna environments. Working our way through the preserve, we found ourselves ambling over a rolling landscape full of kames and gravely hills left by glaciers. We were a bit hesitant to visit on a recent windy day but quickly found ourselves fully engaged in wandering this wonderland!

Wetlands were alive with the chorus of frogs at Bluff Spring Fen.
Wetlands were alive with the chorus of frogs at Bluff Spring Fen.

How was Bluff Spring Fen named?

Bluff Spring Fen owes its name to the unique type of wetland called a fen which is fed by a natural and mineral-rich spring. We were immediately charmed by the wetlands at Bluff Fen, enjoying crossing the spring and hearing the spring songs of frogs!


Quickly, we found ourselves delighted by the slightly hilly landscape.  Upon a hill, we were greeted by oaks reaching out with scraggly arms.

From atop a kame, Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserves unfolded before us.
From atop a kame, Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserves unfolded before us.

With a slight climb up one of Bluff Spring Fen's kames, we basked in a tremendous view in front of us. The rolling preserve unfolded right before our eyes. Spectacular!

A hollow tree trunk creates an interesting view on the woodland floor of Bluff Spring Fen.
A hollow tree trunk creates an interesting view on the woodland floor of Bluff Spring Fen

Tranquil Spot for Birding

Bordering on Bluff City Cemetery, the preserve possessed tranquility. The quietness fosters the perfect environment for bird viewing! As we hiked along trails through prairie and over the hilly landscape, birds scattered before us. We enjoyed a number of robins popping throughout the landscape. We saw so many birds that I am eager to bring my binoculars on another visit! 


Once suffering from illegal dumping of vehicles and debris, Bluff Spring Fen is a conservation success story. Additionally, gravel and sand mining as well as other industrial activities have long surrounded the site. Fortunately, the hard work of volunteers has rehabilitated and continues to preserve this unique patchwork of ecosystems for all of us to explore! Bluff Spring Fen provides such a distinctive and extraordinary network of environments for nature lovers to enjoy throughout the year. Truly a remarkable preserve very different from so many in the region!

Admiring the View at Bluff Spring Fen Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois


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