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: 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

 

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

Spring migration continues and goslings!

All photos taken in Jackson Park or Columbia Woods Forest Preserve in Willow Springs during Spring 2014

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orange variant of  scarlet tanager in Jackson Park

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Scarlet tanager in Columbia Woods

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eastern bluebird in Jackson Park

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eastern bluebird in Columbia Woods – just took a bath

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eastern bluebird in Columbia Woods

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swainson’s thrush in Jackson Park

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an only chick

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goose protecting goslings

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black-crowned night herons in the fog — Jackson Park

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carp in Jackson Park

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Last year’s seeds with this year’s flowers

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spotted sandpiper in Jackson Park

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black-throated green warbler in Jackson Park

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palm warbler in Columbia Woods

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yellow-rumped warbler in Columbia Woods

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Jackson Park

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Columbia Woods after heavy rain

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

snowy owl back on 63rd Street Pier Sunday–we’ll check out the pier on Tuesday’s nature walk

On December 17th, we will meet at 3:30 pm for a Free Guided Nature Walk.  We meet at the east door (Space Center) of the Science and Industry Museum .  We will use a spotting scope to look at the winter ducks in the 59th Street Harbor and the Lake (63rd and Hayes, where we will hopefully spot the owl).  We will then drive over to the Point for the 5 pm moonrise. 
The meters are expensive if you park right by the East entrance. It is cheaper ($1 an hour) if you turn left into the parking lot. Parking is free if once you are in the parking lot, you drive south past the boats, over the stone bridge and park near the tennis courts. Hope to see you there!   FREE EVENT.  For more information go to passitonchicago.com or call 773-913-2030×3.   Children welcome. Check here if rain date is needed and  Call if you can’t find us: 773-913-2030×3.

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2014 Hyde Park Wildlife Calendar is now available

You can buy it at Hyde Park Produce, 55th and Cornell or online at  http://www.naturalhistorychicago.com

All photos were taken in Hyde Park

Here is a preview of the photos included:

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This photo was taken on the June nature walk

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This is the black-crowned night heron who hung around in the Osaka Garden all summer

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December 1st nature walk and peregrine falcon

Best part of nature walk was a glorious sunset.  Worst part was one of our participants got a prickly pear cactus spine in his foot.  Our local cactus has lovely flowers but nasty spines! The snowy owl and the snow buntings were not seen but we did see a horned grebe, some scaup  and a red-breasted merganser using a spotting scope. The peregrine falcon was at 63rd Street beach the morning after the nature walk.

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our local cactus– prickly pear

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prickly pear flower

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peregrine falcon at 63rd Street Beach

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and our little white duck (an unusual mallard duck) that we often saw on the summer nature walks was spotted in Jackson Park near the 59th Street Harbor in early December.  It was good to see he was still around.  He was helping some crows and ring-billed gulls finish off a big bag of potato chips.

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