Intermittent spring: local gulls and first wave of migrating sparrows

All of these photos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last few weeks, unless otherwise noted.

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Robins waiting for snow to melt

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And you thought all robins looked alike!

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A ruby-crowned kinglet

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A great egret

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A great egret, 39 inches long, with a herring gull, 25 inches long, for scale.

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An adult herring gull has red spot on bill and pink legs (photo taken in Cape Cod).

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A third winter herring gull has pink legs but has a black spot on bill that is starting to turn red.

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pair of ring-billed gulls (parking lot gulls). Ring-billed gulls have yellow legs and a black spot on their bill. They are 17.5 inches long.

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First winter ring-billed gull (note it has pink legs like a herring gull). This photo was taken in August.

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song sparrow, very stripy with spot on chest

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Another view of a song sparrow The song sparrow’s song has three notes followed by a trill.

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Fox sparrow is bigger than a song sparrow. It has a lot more gray and red feathers than a song sparrow. Both of these sparrows have a spot on their chests

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red maple blooming

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pied-billed grebe

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black-crowned night heron

Early migrants have arrived (meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds) and winter ducks are still here too

All photos taken in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last few weeks unless noted otherwise.

These photos were mostly taken in the area around 63rd and Hayes:  Hayes beach, the inner harbor, the outer harbor and La Rabida

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A male red-winged blackbird

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Front-end view of displaying red-winged blackbird taken March 30, 2013

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A back-end view of a displaying male red-winged blackbird. The females haven’t arrived yet.

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Cardinals have already been singing their spring song for a couple of months

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This white-throated sparrow is puffed up because it is a cold spring day

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meadowlark singing

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meadowlark

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dark-eyed Junco

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song sparrow

 

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redhead

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ring-necked duck ( it is a mystery to me why people agreed to this common name!)

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It was great fun having the white-wingd scoters come into the outer harbor again this winter. This one is posing in the blue, blue water of Lake Michigan just after most of the ice melted

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A close-up of the white-winged scoter’s bizarre bill.

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horned grebe

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Two red-breasted mergansers doing courtship displays for the female swimming next to the second male.

This video shows some serious courtship moves of 4 male mergansers. The female is sitting on a piece of ice

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Damage done by wood boring insect.

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Eggs are laid where you see the straight line, the grubs then eat their way through the wood. Notice the lines get thicker as the grubs move away from the original straight line. This is because the insect is getting bigger.

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

 

moonrise, sunrise and UN-wooded isle

Here are a couple links to articles defending non-native species.  Perhaps we’ve gone overboard when we consider that all non-native species are bad for the environment and must be removed.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129621.400-loving-the-alien-a-defence-of-nonnative-species.html#.VQhFp2bN4Tk

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140724-invasive-species-conservation-biology-extinction-climate-science/

All photos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last few weeks.  Habitat destruction at Wooded Isle photos are at the end of this post

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Bohemian waxwing

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Bohemian waxwing

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male and female white-winged scoter

Female red-breasted merganser with a few white-winged scoters

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moonrise over Lake MIchigan

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sunrise over Lake Michigan

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mystery track with 2 inch red ball for scale

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common merganser showing off red foot

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lots of healthy trees cut down

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middle of the wooded isle

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near Osaka Garden

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lots of very old, very big trees were cut down, dogs for scale

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wood chips from all the trees cut down, dog for scale

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Poplar trees cut down from bobolink meadow

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brush cut down, lots of habitat for nesting birds removed

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Young oak tree–all replacement trees are going to be 3 inches wide

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red oshier dogwood taken out too. Don’t know why it was on the hit list, native and not invasive

About Us and Contact Us

Beyond the screen of your laptop and your smartphone, nature is alive and well!  Come enjoy!

Jane Masterson is a local photographer and Hyde Park Nature Walk guide.  When she was an adjunct college professor, her students observed plants and birds, collected data and tested hypotheses to try to answer questions such as why some plants bloomed earlier than others and why woodpeckers migrated through before orioles.  And while she no longer teaches at the college level, Jane still enjoys encouraging others to explore the Chicago wilderness.  She promises, no quizzes!  Whether you’d just like to look at the photos of Hyde Park wildlife on this blog or want to come out for a Nature Walk, Welcome!

Next Nature Walk:

Moon watch and Nature walks on hold for now.

Interested in helping save Hyde Park’s wild spots:  habitat for our local wildlife and migrating birds may be replaced by a music venue and concession stand unless you speak up.   Want to help prevent this?  Check out savethisspace.com  and sign up for emails from jacksonparkwatch.com

Contact us with any questions or to discuss setting up a time for a Nature Walk.  Feel free to call (773 – 502 – 3159) or to fill out the form below:

Winter 2015: Chicago snow birds (ducks who migrate south to spend the winter in balmy Chicago)

All photos taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last few weeks.

Common goldeneye shows off his best courtship move. See more in video below.

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Male common goldeneye in upright position

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female common goldeneye

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White-winged scoters sometimes show up near shore during the winter months. In the video below, watch one bird with a goody (crustacean?) get chased.

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common mergansers

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canvasback duck

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female long-tailed duck

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female red-breasted merganser

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How big are these ducks compared to a herring gull? White-winged scoter (juvenile) at 2:00. Other ducks are scaup.

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How big are these ducks compared to a herring gull? Adult herring gull and first winter herring gull are in the background. Left to right in front: scaup, white-winged scoter, and common goldeneye

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Windy and cold at the lake

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Raccoon prints with keys for scale

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Full moon setting

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tree sparrow

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black-capped chickadee

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white pigeon

 

Winter 2015: Snowy owl, swans and winter ducks

All photos taken in Hyde Park.  Most of them taken at 63rd Street beach or at La Rabida (6501 S Promontory Drive)

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Snowy owl on pier at 63rd Street beach at dusk

Short video of snowy owl:

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sun dog

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male and female common goldeneye

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red-breasted merganser courting display

See some common goldeneyes’ courtship displays in the video below:

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How big is a mute swan?

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A lot bigger than a common goldeneye duck.

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Quite a bit bigger than a Canada Goose

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Swans enjoying the outer harbor (63rd to 66th and Lake Shore Drive) until the geese come back

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The geese are back.

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scaup

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red-headed ducks

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February 1 blizzard

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February 1 blizzard

fox squirrel at 63rd St Beach parking lot

fox squirrel at 63rd St Beach parking lot

 

Hyde Park Wildlife Calendars (extra calendars available for FREE for local teachers)

The second calendar, “Wildlife in Chicago Parks”  is the one available for FREE for local teachers.

Order button at this website:

http://www.naturalhistorychicago.com/

Hyde Park Wildlife— all photos taken in Jackson Park

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Wildlife in Chicago Parks  – all but one photo taken in Hyde Park

some unusual shots, other silly shots.

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Cape Cod Wildlife Calendar also available

Green herons growing up, Great Egrets hanging around

All photo were taken in Hyde Park area during the last couple of weeks.

An American Dagger moth caterpillar

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Young green heron hatched in the Osaka Garden still has a little baby fuzz left

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A question mark on a butterfly bush

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A good look at a hooded female merganser’s feet.

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A female hooded merganser

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We’ve had a couple of great egrets hanging around this past week.

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Green Darner dragonfly–Large dragonfly that migrates south for the winter. Color of lower abdomen and tail changes color from purple to blue to silver depending on ambient temperature.

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bullhead catfish

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Painted lady on thistle

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American lady on Queen Anne’s lace.

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How to tell the difference between a painted lady and an american lady butterfly, from bugguide.net

Mostly bluebirds and butterflies

All these photos were taken in Hyde Park during the last couple of weeks except when noted.

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red spotted purple

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tiger swallowtail

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tiger swallowtail on sow thistle

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tiger swallowtail

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crayfish

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orange sulfur

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black swallowtail

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hummingbird

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bluebird (photo taken May 4 in Palos)

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juvenile bluebirds

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juvenile molting into adult plumage

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another juvenile molting into adult plumage

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juvenile bluebird

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juvenile bluebird with touch of blue

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another juvenile starting to get adult plumage

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green heron (downy young stage)

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rabbit in clover

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young cooper’s hawk (young hawks have vertical rather than horizontal stripes) who lost his/her tail

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Hackberry emperor

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Hackberry emperor

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Question mark (or is it a Comma?) on butterfly bush

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From http://www.gardenswithwings.com

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Looks like a eastern comma

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sunrise on a foggy day

Sunrise walk and more butterflies/moths

All these of photos were taken in the Hyde Park area during the last couple of weeks.   Feel free to join us on a nature walk/moon watch tonight at 6 pm.  We will start at the east entrance of the Museum of Science and Industry.

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red spotted purple butterfly

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bunny at 47th Street and Cornell

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monarchs mating

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indigo bunting eating grass seeds

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white underwing moth– forewing pattern provides camouflage IF the moth is resting on a birch tree

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sunrise

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sundog- bright spots in the sky caused by refraction of sunlight by tiny ice crystals

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juvenile double crested cormorant-The feather structure of cormorants decreases buoyancy so they are better able to catch fish underwater. This feather structure also makes their feathers less waterproof than other water birds’ feathers and so they spread their wings to help them dry faster.

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green heron

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juvenile black-crowned night heron

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purple martins lining up– thinking of heading south?

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