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

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

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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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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