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

 

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

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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Mostly herons and butterflies

All photos taken in Hyde Park during the last couple of weeks.  Baby raccoon video was taken in Indiana but a raccoon family was spotted in Jackson Park this past Saturday.

The next nature walk/ moon watch is this Sunday, August 10.  We’ll meet at the east door of the Museum of Science of Industry at 6 pm  for the nature walk and meet at the Field house on the Point for the moon watch at 7:30 (moon rises at 7:43).

 

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cone flower

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I saw lots of herons on an evening walk including this great blue heron

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black-crowned night heron

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juvenile black-crowned night heron

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double-crested cormorant having trouble swallowing a fish

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young purple martin begging from a sibling

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white-faced meadowhawk dragonfly

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spotted sandpiper looking more grown up but no spots yet

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very beautiful great blue heron

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Museum of Science and Industry

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green heron peeking out of nest

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juvenile mallards with their mom

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song sparrow singing

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song sparrow showing off

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tiger swallowtail

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monarch butterfly on coneflower

Nature walk/Supermoon watch tonight (rain date, Sunday July 13)

Meet at east door of Science and Industry Museum tonight at 6:30 pm.  Meet at the Fieldhouse on the Point at 8:15 pm for 8:26 moonrise.  Hope to see you there. Rain date, Sunday 6:30 pm for walk,  9 pm for moonrise at 9:10 pm)

None of these photos, except the rainbow ring around the sun, were taken in Hyde Park.  All of these birds can be seen in Jackson Park.

This is a courting display.  I’ve seen a more dramatic version of this head bob but this guy gets extra points for displaying during a strong wind.  This call has been described as sounding like a rusty pump handle.

fledgling blue jay begging

blue jay fledgling

hungry blue jay fledgling

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“To see a Sun or Moon Halo…you need high, thin cirrus clouds which are usually at altitudes above 20,000 feet. These high altitude cirrus clouds are mostly made of ice crystals which refract the sunlight much like a prism will.  Your typical rainbow is seen as a partial circle or arc. Rainbows are round but the ground prevents you from seeing the full rainbow unless you are high above it…or below it like today.” parphased from Boston weather man

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Eastern Towhee singing “drink your tea”

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fledgling baltimore oriole (3 photos)  The Jackson Park orioles have fledged too but I saw an oriole sitting on her nest today so we may get a second batch of fledglings.

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cedar waxwing

Fledglings, molting and insects

All photos taken in Jackson Park, except house sparrows, during  the last two weeks.

Next nature walk and full moon watch on July 12.   Meet at east door of Science and Industry Museum at 6:30 pm.  Meet at the Fieldhouse on the Point at 8:15 pm for 8:26 moonrise

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green heron- they are nesting in Jackson Park

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great blue heron

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baltimore oriole at nest

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flowers in tulip tree

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full moon rising

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mallard ducklings

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eastern kingbird near nest with insect

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I think it is a female hooded merganser

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indigo bunting

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male wood duck having a bad feather day (molting)

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a photo where you can see the rusty red tail feathers on a catbird

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the baby gnatcatchers have arrived!

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cedar waxwing

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blue spotted purple butterfly

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fledgling baltimore oriole?

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black-crowned night heron has caught a bullhead catfish

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great egret

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two more goslings!!

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whatcha doing mom?

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fledgling house sparrows

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american goldfinch

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male and female mallard- male mallard has some blue head feathers–something to do with molting?

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ball of fish

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female widow skimmer dragonfly

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milkweed beetle

Polar Vortex Winter!

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coyote on lake near pier at Hayes (63rd) and the lakevideo of coyote on lake:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/01pxssikd6z4uen/RWgoz5ZRU0

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feeders helped our birds survive this winter

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raccon prints in the snow

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sundog

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mute swans

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mute swans

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white-winged scoter (sea duck rarely seen in Chicago)

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white-winged scoter with juvenile goldeneye

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63rd Street and LSD (Hayes Beach) Other things to see if the snowy owl and peregrine falcon aren’t there!

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mute swans in outer harbor

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mute swans with merganser duck for scale

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tree sparrow– rusty cap, eye line, dot on chest

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tree sparrow

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tree sparrow  also has two-tone beak– dark on top, light on bottom

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more than great icicles on pier, ice to watch in the water

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footprints– more on following post, these are from the tree sparrows

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lapland longspur

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lapland longspur

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peregrine falcon

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snow bunting

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snowy owl