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

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

 

Hyde Park Wildlife Calendars (extra calendars available for FREE for local teachers)

The second calendar, “Wildlife in Chicago Parks”  is the one available for FREE for local teachers.

Order button at this website:

http://www.naturalhistorychicago.com/

Hyde Park Wildlife— all photos taken in Jackson Park

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Wildlife in Chicago Parks  – all but one photo taken in Hyde Park

some unusual shots, other silly shots.

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Cape Cod Wildlife Calendar also available

Mostly bluebirds and butterflies

All these photos were taken in Hyde Park during the last couple of weeks except when noted.

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red spotted purple

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tiger swallowtail

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tiger swallowtail on sow thistle

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tiger swallowtail

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crayfish

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orange sulfur

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black swallowtail

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hummingbird

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bluebird (photo taken May 4 in Palos)

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juvenile bluebirds

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juvenile molting into adult plumage

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another juvenile molting into adult plumage

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juvenile bluebird

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juvenile bluebird with touch of blue

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another juvenile starting to get adult plumage

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green heron (downy young stage)

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rabbit in clover

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young cooper’s hawk (young hawks have vertical rather than horizontal stripes) who lost his/her tail

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Hackberry emperor

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Hackberry emperor

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Question mark (or is it a Comma?) on butterfly bush

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From http://www.gardenswithwings.com

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Looks like a eastern comma

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sunrise on a foggy day

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

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

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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