The temperature in Southern Illinois hovered near 65 degrees Nov. 10.

By 3 p.m. the following afternoon a frigid north wind had knocked the temperature into the 30s. As nightfall approached the light rain had morphed into snow.

Just a few hours later, the mush-covered roads made traveling hazardous.

The wintry precipitation lasted into mid-evening before the skies cleared.

Tuesday morning dawned bright and clear with a fluffy dusting of snow covering the ground -- a photographer's dream.

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And, a trip to Crab Orchard Lake didn't disappoint. Despite the biting cold, animals were active, apparently seeking the warmth of the sun.

Deer and turkey came to the side of the road to feed and bask in the sunlight. Songbirds, ranging from cedar waxwings and bluebirds to various species of sparrow, seemed drawn to every branch with a sunny exposure.

What's more, all the critters seemed more concerned about soaking in the warmth than getting their picture taken.

Finally, there were the photos that got away -- a red-tailed hawk flying off with a sizable snake at the Wolf Creek Causeway, the 15-20 white pelicans soaring on the thermals overhead and the bald eagles circling above the lake.

It all made the snow, and the cold, more bearable.

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On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​



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