moon watch and new groups (natural areas and dogs) meeting this weekend

New groups forming for people concerned about protecting our natural areas and/or the proliferation of “no dogs allowed” areas
The weather is supposed to be reasonable both nights so we’ll meet at The Point in time to see the moon rise.  Meeting will occur even if it is cloudy.
Saturday February 11 at 6:18   natural areas
Sunday February 12 at 7:23     dogs
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Courting ducks and night camera videos

Most of these photos and videos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last couple of weeks.

Even though the groundhog saw his shadow, I’ve seen and heard some signs of spring during the last couple of weeks: chickadees and cardinals singing their spring songs, squirrels mating, and ducks courting in the inner and outer harbor.

Field trip idea:  Go to inner or outer harbor to scout for courting ducks and look for signs of beavers.  To walk around inner harbor:  park on the street just west of Lake Shore Drive at 63rd Street (Hayes) or in the parking lot on the north side of the street.   You can walk over to the outer harbor if you park in the 63rd Street beach parking lot and walk south.

Male and female red-breasted mergansers.  Just the males are doing courting displays in this video.  Females have red heads and more white on their chests.

This is the first video I have where both male and female common goldeneyes are displaying.  After the brown female on the left hand side starts displaying, you can hear some of the beeps that the males make when they throw their heads back

At the beginning you can see this hooded merganser raise his crest and make his white patch bigger.  He then displays to a female mallard who already has a male mallard mate.

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Common goldeneye male courting female common goldeneye.   You couldn’t hear it very well in the video but there is also a beep with this move.    Male and female red-breasted merganser in the background

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I’ve never seen this version of the common goldeneye display before

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male and female hooded merganser– male’s white patch is relatively small when his crest is lowered

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female is sleeping, male’s white patch is still small

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male in sleeping position but he has raised his crest, why?

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because a female common goldeneye has hopped up next to him?

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canvasback duck

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diving

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front view

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female mallard on ice

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herring gull on ice

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american goldfinch

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coyote on ice at 63rd Street Beach

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winter is a good time to see nests in trees and find them on the ground

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This northern oriole who nested near the inner harbor used ribbon and fishing line in her nest

I like how beaver nonchalantly steps out of the way of the truck. This video taken in 2011.

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beaver with female mallard duck for scale (this photo not taken in last two weeks)

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chicken wire wrap stopped beavers from taking down this tree

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The saved tree

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I’m pro tree and pro beaver.  If you remove beavers from an area, other beavers move in. Wrapping some trees with wire and planting other trees for the beaver is one partial solution.  I think newly cut down healthy trees from all over Chicago should be brought to places where the beavers live to see if they will use them.  Above quote is from the beaversolutions.com website.

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Meeting tonight about proposed PGA champion golf course in Hyde Park

ANOTHER IMPORTANT MEETING ABOUT GOLF COURSE PROPOSAL with Chicago Park District CEO, Michael Kelly, at Alderman Leslie Hairston’s monthly meeting– January 24 at South Shore Fine Arts Academy, 1415 E 70th, 6-8 pm

Don’t want a PGA tournament golf course or a big music venue in your back yard?  Write your alderman or come to the 5th ward meeting tonight!

If our neighborhood decides that this PGA level golf course is a good idea, my personal opinion is that golf course should be organic (no pesticides).  Organic golf courses already exist!   This would  prevent contamination of our neighborhood and lake. And, the design should include wildlife habitat. Again, there are golf course that are wildlife friendly!   Finally, since habitat destruction threatens wildlife more than non-native species (many non-native species are benign or actually support native species*,  I think there should be a moratorium on tree destruction in all of Hyde Park. We have already lost 1300 trees/shrubs in Jackson Park through the work of the Army Corps of Engineers and Project 120. It will take years before the replacement young trees they have planted and will plant in the future will grow into mature trees.  An organic, wildlife-friendly course with no destruction of trees would be great and might attract more people to the game.    As was said in the JPAC meeting, many of the Chicago Park District golf courses in Chicago are under-utilized.

* “Where do camels belong?  Why invasive species aren’t all bad”  Ken Thompson 2014

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Birds and berries and sometimes it’s hard to be a plant

These photos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the past two weeks.

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Lots of plant parts coated in ice at the edge of the lake on The Point

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Some trees on The Point were also covered with ice on the night of the full moon

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Moon appearing through clouds

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Outside my house are 2 crab apple trees.  One tree has been stripped of its crab apples.

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The fruit on the other crab apple tree are all still there.  Maybe the crab apples on this second tree needed more freeze-thaw cycles before they are soft enough to eat?  Or maybe they just don’t taste very good?

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Across the street, robins are beginning to strip this hawthorn tree of its berries.  Usually once the berries are soft enough to eat, they strip the tree in a couple of days but this year was different.

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A couple of doors down from the hawthorn trees, I saw this cooper’s hawk.  All the robins decided to eat somewhere else that day

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but a cardinal still ate berries that day

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These berries look soft enough to eat but location matters too.  It may be too dangerous to eat these berries if eating them causes the bird to be out in the open and vulnerable.  As you saw above, our neighborhood has Cooper’s hawks.

Plants on fences often provide food, shelter and nesting sites for birds.

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This used nest, note the bird wove plastic into its nest, gives us a sample of what the birds sitting in the branches above it were eating.

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Lots of coral berries have been planted in Jackson Park, but the wildlife don’t seem to like them.   The author of “Birds in the Yard: Month by Month” agrees  “I planted them (coral berries) because certain nurseries gave them high marks as bird food. Every year, come spring, berries still hang, dry, ugly, untouched.”

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Oak trees usually don’t drop their leaves in the fall but these leaves have hole-punch shaped holes in them for the second year in a row

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Some nearby magnolia trees have the same hole-punch damage and have also not dropped their leaves this winter, which is unusual!  Lots of maples in our neighborhood didn’t drop their leaves this fall either. 

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Damage done by emerald ash borer

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Hyde Park beavers!

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In video below, crow caws and then rattles.  It seems to swallow air in order to rattle. I wonder if that is always the case?

 

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Long-earred owl in Osaka Garden.  The right eye and left ear are easiest to see.

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Mostly winter ducks and swans

Photos taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last couple of weeks.

Field trip suggestion:  Walk around the outer harbor to see the swans.  You can park in the 63rd Street Beach lot off of Lake Shore Drive and walk south around the outer harbor or you can park in the La Rabida parking lot.  To get there:  turn left on Marquette Drive when LSD ends and then turn left into the La Rabida parking lot at the first stoplight.  I like to stay left and park at the turn around at the north end of the hospital property.   I saw swans twice on December 30th. In the morning  (in front of old coast guard station, 6400s) and afternoon (northwest end of La Rabida parking lot, I had to walk by the edge of the water to see them)  Seize the day if you want to see them; they aren’t always there!

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I usually see mute swans in the outer harbor only when it is very cold but this year I saw a couple on a 50 degree day.

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Mute swan accompanied by cygnet (less than a year old)

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Mute swans are very big birds.  Use the two mallards in the background for scale

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It is quite cold today and more swans have arrived.  The first six are mute swans, adults and cygnets  but the last one with the black bill is probably another kind of swan, maybe a trumpeter swan?

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juvenile herring gull

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On very cold days, many birds spend a lot of time preening to keep ice from forming on their wings

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American coots with ice on their wings

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American coot puffing her feathers up to stay warm

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female red-breasted merganser on a warmer day

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female red-breasted merganser on a cold day deciding whether to get up or stay curled up sleeping

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female red-breasted merganser resting on a slab of ice

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size comparison of male red-breasted merganser and female common goldeneye

 

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lots of male common goldeneyes, leading duck on left has ice on his wings

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male common goldeneye on warmer day

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redhead

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redhead

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canvasback ducks also have a red head (one male and two females here)

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From left to right in middle of photo- redhead and then 3 canvasback ducks and a couple ring-necked ducks

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a better look at the ring-necked duck—

  • This species might better be called the “Ring-billed Duck,” for its chestnut neck ring is usually seen only at close range, while the white ring on the bill can be a prominent field mark.  From whatbird.com

 

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Lots of puffed up birds staying warm:  house sparrow on burning bush

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American Tree Sparrow – here in the winter, nests in the tundra in the summer

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american goldfinch

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northern cardinal eating pokeweed seeds

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downy woodpecker

 

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red-bellied woodpecker

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another view of red-bellied woodpecker

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On a clear day, you can see Navy Pier from 63rd Street Beach

Photos from my 2017 Wildlife and Dog Calendars and JPAC meeting Monday!

Here are the photos from my 2017 calendars. I included astronomical events: meteor showers, total eclipse of sun and times of full moonrise and moonset.  I’ve got free calendars for people who attend the birding group, people who attend my nature walks, people who attend or help in my dog training classes and people who attend JPAC (Jackson Park Advisory Committee) meetings about the future of Jackson Park.  If I still have extra calendars in mid January, I will be happy to donate one to your child’s classroom.   I also sell calendars for $15.  I can drop them off if you have a safe delivery place in Hyde Park or I can hang them on my door (53rd and Dorchester) and you can pick them up there

Moon watch — Tuesday December 13– meet at the lake near the Field House on the Point at 4:25 for an 4:34 moonrise. There is a parking lot and an underpass at 55th and Lake Shore Drive.

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There is more information after my photos about why I think it is so important for people who do not want a music venue building (Project 120’s Phoenix Pavilion) to be build in Jackson Park behind the Museum of Science and Industry to attend these monthly meetings.

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Canis Sapiens’ Dog Calendar       http://www.hydeparkdogtraining.com2017dogkimsunrisebeach

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Although most of the 100+ people who attended the May meeting with the Chicago Park District CEO convened by Leslie Hairston (38 spoke against it, 4 spoke for it), most of the regular attenders of JPAC meetings are pro-Project 120’s Phoenix Pavilion pictured below:

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Sara Paretsky’s letter to the editor of the Sun Times

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This map needs to be updated:  As of the May meeting, the Chicago Park District CEO said the basketball courts would not be moved.  He also said only bicycles and pedestrians would be allowed on the rebuilt Darrow Bridge (no road connecting LSD and Cornell).

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This poster was presented at a Project 120 meeting.  Patricia O’Donnell told me that 1300 trees and shrubs had been cut down in Wooded Isle and the surrounding areas.  My orange-colored comments say I don’t want more trees cut down for a Music Pavilion or a Great Lawn.

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This is a view of the proposed Great Lawn.  As of May of this year, the basketball courts will  not be moved but the tennis courts will be destroyed,  bark park relocated,  golf range relocated, free parking removed and lots of paid parking removed plus LOTS of trees destroyed.

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Winter ducks return, some last migrants pass through Chicago and the first snow

Photos all taken during the past two weeks in Hyde Park (Chicago)

Our year round resident mallards taking a bath

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Lots of greater/lesser scaup in the outer harbor

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A better look at a female scaup

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Red-breasted mergansers in the outer and inner harbor

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Lots of american coots (not a duck) in the outer harbor

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Size difference between a red-breasted merganser and greater/lesser scaup

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One male and two female buffleheads

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Size difference between Canada Goose and female scaup

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Size difference between a  1st or 2nd winter herring gull and some red-breasted mergansers

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Our local starling population is plummeting but we still have a good-sized winter starling population

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starlings

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Oak trees usually don’t drop their leaves in the winter

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but maple trees usually do drop their leaves PLUS about half of these leaves haven’t even changed colors!

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this willow tree too has kept its leaves and the green leaves means the tree hasn’t reabsorbed the chlorophyll!!        (Wendy Doniger, photographer)

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so many green leaves!

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burning bush

The first snow also lets you see who is around when you aren’t there!

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Lots of rabbits at Burnham Nature Sanctuary (47th and Cornell)

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Lots of geese on the golf course

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And who makes these star-like footprints?

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An opossum who  was heading for one of our few remaining patches of woods with a tree canopy and understory plants around 65th and Cornell

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You’ll have to look hard for the opossum in this photo.  Opossums eat lots of ticks but never seem to get lyme disease.  They are also immune to most kinds of snake venom. For more info, google:  Opossums, give them a brake!  National Wildlife Federation

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A late migrating killdeer

For the last few years, we have been lucky enough to hear and see sandhill cranes migrate through our neighborhood when we get our first blast of arctic cold.

 

 

 

 

Last of fall color, super moon and sandhill crane migration site

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tomatoes in Community Garden

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red maple

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red maples flowering last spring

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red maple flowers

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gingkos

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sweet gum

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dogwood

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dogwood flower from last spring

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oak

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Going to see the sandhill cranes gather at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area is a great fall field trip!

Here are some videos taken at Jasper-Pulaski.  Scroll down for a video taken of a whooping crane flying with the sandhill cranes last Saturday.

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They counted 15,ooo cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area last week.  High numbers of cranes will continue through the beginning of December

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Cranes fly in to viewing platform to socialize after feeding  in the surrounding fields all day

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It is hunting season so a number of deer hang out in the park where they are safe

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This past Saturday a whooping crane was among the sandhill cranes

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Something scared the cranes and they all flew into the air

Another Hyde Parker shot this great video with the  whooping crane in it!

Whooping Crane @ Jasper Pulaski

Here is the website with information about the sandhill crane migration site which is about 1.5 hour drive from Hyde Park:  5822 Fish and Wildlife Lane  Medaryville, IN  During the day you can sometimes see cranes feeding and sometimes dancing  by turning right from the viewing platform parking lot and driving slowly looking for cranes in the fields.    There are often cranes near the Schahfer Generating Station in nearby Wheatfield, IN

http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3109.htm

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moon with rainbow ring

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first supermoon night

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moonset

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2nd supermoon night

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2nd moonset

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reflection in water– note rabbit in moon reflection

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rainbow ring around sun

Flowers still blooming south of midway

Meet at the field house on the Point to watch the supermoon rise:

Monday 5 pm — moon rise at 5:08 pm                                                                                         Tuesday 5:45 pm — moonrise at 5:58 pm

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pied-billed grebe

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on tree next to inner harbor

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northern cardinal near community garden near 65th and Cornell

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gray catbird on community garden fence

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robins migrating through

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great blue heron catches common carp in east lagoon

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still a lot of work to be done before wooded isle is a nature sanctuary again

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east lagoon fall 2016

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east lagoon fall 2013

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roses still blooming in November

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marigolds in community garden

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fall color in the neighborhood:  burning bush

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japanese maple

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pretty surprising that we have some dogwood trees growing in our neighborhood

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Nature walk tomorrow at 9:30 am/ first meeting of tree lover group at 11 am

Nature walk-   Meet October 30th at 9:30 am at golf range driving parking lot.  If driving south on LSD, exit to the right at 63rd Street (Hayes) and take the first right turn  into the parking lot.  Drive through the parking lot until you get to the golf range building and park there.

Tree lover group meets at 11 am in Osaka Garden

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It is  best time of year to catch a sunrise!   This photo was taken at 63rd Street beach this morning. Arrive 15 minutes before sunrise on a partly cloudy day for your best shot at catching a very beautiful sunrise.    This week, the last week before daylight savings time begins, you just have to arrive about 10 minutes after 7 am.   Starting next Sunday you’ll have to get there about 10 minutes after 6 am.  You’ll have another shot at relatively late sunrises around December 21 but the weather might not be as nice.

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Concerned about our local trees?  Everyone is invited to attend a new tree lovers group.  We will meet after the nature walk at 11 am  Sunday October 30 in the Osaka Garden.   You can get to the Osaka Garden by walking over the south bridge (parking lot at 63rd and Cornell).  You will need to walk through wooded island to get to the garden.  You can also park on Stony Island and then walk over the north bridge (Nancy Hays bridge) to get to the garden.