Nature walk this Saturday at 6:30 — Meet at east door of Museum of Science and Industry!

All photos have been taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the past few weeks.

Time to get out and see all these flowering plants before the goldenrods and asters take over!    Nature walk is Saturday evening at 6:30.  We meet at the east door of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Beaver spotted swimming off music bridge (bridge on north side of bobolink meadow -look away from the boat harbor)

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rattlesnake master

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moon rise on our last moon watch

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photo darkened so you can easily see the rabbit in the moon.

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Lots of green darner dragonflies were at the blue moon watch

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silver-spotted skipper

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question mark butterfly on butterfly bush

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giant robber fly

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Can you find the green caterpillar in this photo?

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tall bellflower

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fire pink (oops, this is royal catchfly!, thanks aaron!) 

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We”ll sort out all the yellow look-alikes on the walk! Is this a black-eyed susan, a coneflower, a cup plant, a sunflower or something else?

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another yellow flower to sort out

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a primrose family member

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swamp milkweed

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jewelweed or spotted touch-me-not

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A new local! A deer, who has been spotted with 2 fawns

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cormorants enjoying the turtle habitat

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black-capped chickadee

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juvenile spotted sandpipers

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monarch on butterfly bush

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crabapple with cedar apple rust

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elderberry berries

Summer Beauties: Butterflies, Dragonflies and Baby Birds

All of these photos were taken during the last couple of weeks in Hyde Park (Chicago)

We’ve got 3 nature walks on Thursday July 2:

12:30 at Burnham Prairie, 47th and Cornell, stroller and wheelchair friendly, parking $1.75       6:30 pm, meet at east door of Museum of Science and Industry-we’ll move cars to free lot before we start the walk
8:30 pm, meet at the Point, underpass at 55th and Lake Shore Drive, to watch the moon rise over Lake Michigan

To see some ducklings climbing up our make-shift ramp to escape from the 59th Street harbor, click on the link below:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bs3cyaipe3erjek/AAASs3wNMNKyVSVHieQAMv7ha?dl=0

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We think these were the trapped ducklings who are now happily living in the Jackson Park lagoon.

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tandem pair of green darner dragonflies. These dragonflies migrate in the fall like so many of our songbirds do.

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white-spotted tussock moth

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Lots of indigo buntings at Burnham Prairie (47th and Cornell). Come see them on our nature walk on Thursday July 2 at 12:30.

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milkweed flowers

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butterfly weed, another milkweed plant with some unopened buds

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Baltimore oriole in her nest

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Another photo of baltimore oriole tending her nest

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deer hoof print in bobolink meadow?

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great egret

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Our goslings are now teen-agers

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The goslings sleeping in a pile.

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red-spotted purple butterfly

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Three photos of the same great blue heron. Here he is very tall.

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very short here

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and in between

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green heron

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chickweed geometer

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Video of spotted sandpiper (this bird nests in Hyde Park)

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Spotted sandpiper is easy to identify because it wiggles its bottom and it is spotted but it only has the spots in the breeding season, see video above.

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red admiral

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gray catbird

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question mark butterfly

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The underside of the hind wings of the question mark butterfly has a dot and a curved line that sometimes, although not in this case, looks like a question mark. If the two marks are connected, then you have an eastern comma butterfly

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coneflowers

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Burnham prairie at 47th and Cornell

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monarch butterfly

Summer wildlife in Hyde Park (Chicago)

All photos and videos taken in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last month.  Join us for a nature walk this Tuesday at 6 pm.  Meet at the east door of the Museum of Science and Industry.

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Nesting killdeer, see video below of killdeer defending her nest by pretending to have 2 broken wings. She lures a potential predator away from the nest by making the predator thinks she will be an easy catch. Once she is away from her nest, she flies away

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belted kingfisher

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nesting Canada goose

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young Canada goose goslings

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Young goslings with their parents

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Eight teen-aged goslings at the inner harbor!

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mourning dove

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red-winged blackbird

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red-earred slider turtle

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anemone at 47th Street Prairie (47th and Cornell)

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cedar waxwing at 63rd Street Beach

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First set of this year’s mallard ducklings

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Very happy to see the draining of the lagoon didn’t decimate our bullfrog population! This one found at south end of bobolink meadow path near the golf driving range

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Turtles using the new turtle habitat and so is a beaver! How wonderful it would be if we could protect this key stone species in the Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary on Wooded Isle. Perhaps in addition to protecting our trees from the beaver’s teeth by wrapping them with wire, some local tree care companies could bring in some recently cut trees for our beavers to use.

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A beaver in Hyde Park!

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Easiest to see beavers at dawn and dusk. We’ll look for them on the nature walk Tuesday.

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carp spawning

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mallard duck moulting

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green heron. See next photo to see how big she is compared to a great blue heron.

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Compare the size of this great blue heron to the green heron. Notice this is a different green heron than the one in the previous photo because it has the bright red legs of a breeding bird

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Caterpillar of black swallowtail butterfly

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female cardinal

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One of our winter ducks, a male hooded merganser, stayed behind this summer and is now molting.

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Here is the hooded merganser next to a mallard duck so you can see the size difference

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We had some interesting shorebird stop by during migration this spring because the lagoons were drained, including this red phalarope

And finally, a mockingbird has been singing from the top of a tree at 63rd and Lake Shore Drive.  In this video, I can hear the mockingbird mimicking a cardinal, a robin and a phoebe.    

Ducks, herons, kingfishers, terns and shorebirds

All photos were taken in Hyde Park (Chicago) during the last few weeks.  Come join us for a nature walk and moon watch tomorrow evening.  See post before this one for details.

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Sleeping perched on one leg, a black-crowned night heron

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Black-crowned night heron sitting in blooming box elder

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male northern shoveler with american coot

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female and male shoveler

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male and female bufflehead in the rain

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banded piping plover, endangered bird at 63rd Street Beach

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caspian terns at 63rd Street Beach

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great blue heron

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great blue heron

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greater yellowlegs, or if not, a lesser yellowlegs

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gadwall

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pied-billed grebe with goose head for size

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Canada goose and pied-billed grebe

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two male wood ducks

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killdeer

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pectoral sandpiper

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hooded merganser with female bufflehead

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hooded merganser with extreme feather- do to impress the females. To see his courtship moves while he is courting a female mallard go to this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/xx44zh4c8mbwoo9/AADXTfN0jIZUyseSOKzqw9npa?dl=0

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male and female blue-winged teal

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horned grebe

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goose egg

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belted kingfisher

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belted kingfisher

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Osaka Japanese Garden

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

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