Early migrants have arrived (meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds) and winter ducks are still here too

All photos taken in the Hyde Park (Chicago) area during the last few weeks unless noted otherwise.

These photos were mostly taken in the area around 63rd and Hayes:  Hayes beach, the inner harbor, the outer harbor and La Rabida

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A male red-winged blackbird

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Front-end view of displaying red-winged blackbird taken March 30, 2013

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A back-end view of a displaying male red-winged blackbird. The females haven’t arrived yet.

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Cardinals have already been singing their spring song for a couple of months

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This white-throated sparrow is puffed up because it is a cold spring day

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meadowlark singing

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meadowlark

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dark-eyed Junco

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song sparrow

 

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redhead

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ring-necked duck ( it is a mystery to me why people agreed to this common name!)

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It was great fun having the white-wingd scoters come into the outer harbor again this winter. This one is posing in the blue, blue water of Lake Michigan just after most of the ice melted

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A close-up of the white-winged scoter’s bizarre bill.

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horned grebe

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Two red-breasted mergansers doing courtship displays for the female swimming next to the second male.

This video shows some serious courtship moves of 4 male mergansers. The female is sitting on a piece of ice

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Damage done by wood boring insect.

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Eggs are laid where you see the straight line, the grubs then eat their way through the wood. Notice the lines get thicker as the grubs move away from the original straight line. This is because the insect is getting bigger.

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

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maple tree flowers in snow storm

 

 

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

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

 

birds in polar vortex winter- late February, March 2014


All photos taken in Hyde Park. Most of the ducks and other water birds were taken at the Outer Harbor.

We have a pretty good chance of seeing a number of these ducks on the nature walk                                                                                                                                                                                                                             this Sunday (meet at 5:45 at the south door of the Museum of Science and Industry) including:

redhead, bufflehead, red-breasted merganser, ring-necked duck, scaup and common goldeneye.

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great blue herons arrive on March 19, all ice, no fishing, they moved on

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Every year the cardinal starts singing  spring song in the winter, this photo taken on February 19

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very cold, birds puff their feathers up when they are cold

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for a while all the geese disappeared, they reappeared around February 20

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tree sparrow on February 25, tree sparrows often shelter on the ground next to rocks during storms

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female common merganser, february 25

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male common merganser, february 28

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male common mergansers on February 28

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only a small area near the 63rd Street pier was not frozen on March 2  so lots of birds were concentrated in a small                                                                                                                                                                 space including red-breasted mergansers, white-winged scoters, common goldeneye and a bufflehead.

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a surf scoter, another scoter that is very rarely seen near the shore.  Unfrozen area was even smaller on March 3.

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White-winged scoter trying to keep warm

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Surf scoter

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Same day, note bird has icicles on his wings

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White-winged scoter diving

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Here is the small unfrozen area.

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Another small unfrozen area was near Hyde Park Yacht Club (near La Rabida)  A male and female                                                                                                                                                                                       red-breasted merganser and a male common goldeneye on March 6

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female common goldeneye

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female red-breasted merganser from previous photo gets into the water

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Canada Goose and canvasback duck on March 2

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canvasback duck

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cooper’s hawk on wooded isle

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ring-billed gulls and Canada goose

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redhead on March 17

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redhead on March 30

 

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male red-breasted merganser – wooded isle on March 22

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coyote on ice of the wooded isle on March 22

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bufflehead duck next to mallard—so you can get an idea of how small the bufflehead is

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horned grebe having trouble swallowing the fish he caught.  A gull kept flying down trying to take the fish                                                                                                                                                                                          and the grebe would escape by diving underwater with his fish.

 

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downy woodpecker on March 26

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killdeer photo taken through a fence on March 26.

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male ring-necked duck on March 27

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ring-necked duck

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ring-billed gull with redhead in background on March 28

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female scaup on March 28

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male scaup on March 6

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male ring-necked duck

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female ring-necked duck

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white-winged scoters flying off on January 31