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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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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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!

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.

 

Very last days of summer and early fall

These photos were all taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last month or so.

Next nature walk will be on Sunday October 30 at 9:30 am.  I’ll send another email with the location of the walk nearer the date.

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red-tailed hawk

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mating monarchs

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monarch on zinnia

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lovely display of zinnias in community garden located around 64th and Cornell

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We have been blessed with a couple broods of great blue herons this year

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Time to get out and see them at bobolink meadow or the wooded isle

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They will have to move on once the lagoons freeze over

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Overheated or just swallowed an enormous fish?

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You can often see great blue herons across from the golf driving range building.  If driving south, turn off of LSD at 63rd Street and turn right into the first parking lot

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A juvenile black-crowned night heron has also been seen in the lagoon near the golf driving range building

The next few photos show some  of the migratory birds that just pass through our area in the spring and the fall:

Fox sparrows digging in the chips on the bobolink meadow path

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fox sparrow

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golden crowned kinglet

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winter wren

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thrush

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palm warbler

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and some of our local birds, house sparrows

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grasshopper

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male pearl crescent butterfly

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pearl crescent butterflies mating  You can see the inner wings of the female and the outer wings of the male

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red admiral

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aster

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morning glories from the Community Garden

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biennial gaura

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skipper on aster

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can’t stop taking photos of asters

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    September 22– warm enough to do a little a sunning!

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cup plant with optimistic flower

End of summer photos and labor day weekend nature walks

All of the photos/videos were taken in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last two weeks unless otherwise noted.  Most of the top 25 butterflies in Illinois have been found in our local parks this summer and have been featured in this blog.  The top 25 list of butterflies is on  Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network website: http://www.bfly.org/PhotoGallery/T25bflies/T25bfliesGallery.html

Nature walks:

Saturday September 3,  Meet at 6:00 pm  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.

Labor Day Monday, September 5   Meet at 9:30 am   47th and Cornell,  Burnham Park Nature Sanctuary

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ruby-throated hummingbird on common evening primrose–I’ve seen hummingbirds at 47th and Cornell and in bobolink meadow near the jewelweed

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Impatiens capensis,  common names include jewelweed or spotted touch me not, loved by hummingbirds, also used to prevent poison ivy rash

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belted kingfisher

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black-crowned night heron

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red-eared slider turtle

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american goldfinch

Juvenile goldfinches are now around the neighborhood begging from their mothers.  First not-so-great video was taken at Burnham Park Sanctuary (47th and Cornell) with one fledgling resisting the idea that s/he should find food without being fed by a parent.  Parent is in the top left hand corner in the video.  You’ll notice the youngster is very quick to follow when s/he flies off.  Second video, taken in AZ,  has three fledglings begging from their mother. Soon the fledglings will learn to forge for themselves.

 

 

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monarch caterpillar on butterfly weed

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male monarch butterfly with bumblebee and milkweed bugs on butterfly weed

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black swallowtail on blazing star

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outer wings of American Lady

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inner wings of American Lady

 

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bug  (stink or shield?)

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tiny blue butterfly

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elderberry

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Pine cone oak gall (Andricus quecusstrobilanus) caused by cynipid wasp larvae

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more mature pine cone oak gall

 

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snowberry clearwing moth on garden phlox

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double-crested cormorant

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Reminder: Nature walk and moon watch today! Goldenrods are blooming, fall is on the way!

Almost all of these photos were taken the last two weeks in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area

Nature walk-   Meet at 6:15 pm  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.

Meet at the Fieldhouse on the  Point at 7:45 for the 7:59 moonrise.  The underpass to the Point is at 55th and LSD.  There is also a parking lot there.

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Goldenrod complete with goldenrod soldier beetle

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knapweed with unknown insect

 

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Every year I try to get a great photo of goldfinches (wild canaries) on a bright yellow flower. Goldfinches breed late so they molt late so unlike other birds, they still look good this time of year.  No good shots yet this year, so I am showing you my 2011 photos–really good, but best I’ve gotten so far.

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Lots of eastern kingbirds around

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young kingbirds

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muddy black-crowned night heron with fish

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sun bathing

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great blue heron on downed log

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great blue heron sharing log with Canada goose and turtle and plants– leaving logs in the water promotes ecological diversity

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female common yellowthroat warbler

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juvenile house sparrow still has a trace of her nestling  yellow lips

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juvenile starlings, the one on the right is  just starting to get spots

 

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cup plants blooming in garden

 

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cup plants in jackson park and burnham nature sanctuary with flowers burnt off.  why? Illinois wildflowers. com says of this native plant:

 “Various birds, especially goldfinches, are very fond of the seeds, and drink water from the cups formed by the leaves. Because of the tendency to form dense colonies, this plant provides good cover for birds, which often lurk among the leaves during the heat of the day, searching for insects or pausing to rest.”

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young raccoon was spotted because it was being harassed by crows

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eastern tiger swallowtail and red-spotted purple on butterfly bush

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question mark – note how well it would be camouflaged if only the outer wings were showing

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same question mark butterfly

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silver-spotted skipper

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skipper on cone flower

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orange sulfur on ironweed

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Monarch on butterfly bush

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cabbage white on goldenrod

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wild Indigo dusty wing, thanks for the ID, Randy,  on red clover

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another view of wild indigo dustywing  on red clover

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outer wings of common buckeye

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common buckeye

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