May 11, 1996 — 3:00 pm
Barrington, Illinois — Crabtree Nature Center
As I walked through the meadow by the pine grove not far from Crabtree Lake, I heard a rustling in the grass. I stopped and looked carefully. I soon saw the vole poke its head out from under a bunch of leaves. The grass was wet, with standing puddles, and the vole was standing in a small, water-filled channel. It froze motionless, halfway exposed.
It looked like a tiny beaver, with dark brown fur, a blunt face, long whiskers and small, but prominent black eyes. It quick-hopped forward, grabbed a blade of grass, then drew back and disappeared. I asked the naturalist, Charles Wescott, about it, and he told me what it probably was. I confirmed it at home.