Christmas present for birders from the feeders at Sapsucker Woods (Cornell). The pileated woodpecker to your right (middle feeder on the post) is the male.
June 27, 2022
Nearly five minutes of tranquility (with traffic) along Fleming Creek in Parker Mill County Park, with guest appearances by an eastern comma and some barely discernible ebony jewelwings.
Sometimes on Saturday mornings I check out the Sapsucker Woods Pond webcam from Cornell. Today it was especially worth it for this very hungry female pileated woodpecker.
I wanted to repeat an experience of hearing and seeing frogs at Fullersburg Woods from a few years ago, but instead I saw tadpoles — many tadpoles.
I was excited to see swans that aren’t the mute variety near Little Red Schoolhouse. Their galloping takeoff is something to behold.
May 2, 2021
I talked J into going to Morton Arboretum to check out the spring ephemerals. On I55, he mentioned he’d sent me a text message mentioning his car’s battery light had come on. The internet in my hand suggested this could be a sign of a bigger alternator problem, and sure enough many other lights had joined the battery indicator. Time to turn around.
On the return, the gas gauge showed nearly empty. He’d recently gotten gas, and we suspected this was also related to the failing alternator, but he stopped for gas at BP on 51st just in case. The quick topping off proved the theory. Of course, now the car wouldn’t start.
Short (!) version: Triple A tried a jump start, then called for a tow. Meanwhile the gas station attendant and then the manager (owner?) were unhappy over and over again that a pump was being blocked. They allowed me to appease them briefly several times by reminding them you can’t move a car that won’t start.
With the tow on the way, I went to catch a bus, but ended up summoning a Lyft car. J’s total time at the gas station — two to three hours. Happy weekend!
May 9, 2021
The next weekend we did make it to Morton Arboretum, where flowers still bloomed. I even found a Jack-in-the-pulpit on the way back to the Big Rock parking lot. They’re not easy to spot in all the green.
On the west side, we came upon Heartwood, part of the Human+Nature exhibition by artist Daniel Popper, which hadn’t opened officially. Heartwood requires you to be photographed between its halves, doesn’t it? The rest looks like it is fabulous, but I’m going to miss the trolls.
Lake Marmo (or Marmite, as I have to call it) glowed spectacularly purple from the top of the rise approaching it. People stopped to take photos, but I couldn’t capture it.
We sat on a lakeshore bench snacking on a charcuterie box from Redbird Cafe in Homewood (I think). As we watched, a great blue heron flew by a time or two, moving from the opposite shore to down shore not far from the bench. Finally, it took off and flapped by to my left, almost close enough for me to feel the air from its slow wingbeats.
I also spotted what could have been taken for a headless duck, but was of course a muskrat. It swam from the island toward us, disappeared under the bank on my left, and reappeared with a mouthful of grass clippings. He was as busy as a . . . beaver?
The Chicago Parks Foundation featured one of my Sherman Park photos in their Instagram series, “Seeing the Parks Through the Eyes of the Community.” I am flattered.
January 24, 2021
I kept seeing so many references to several bald eagles at Rock Run Rookery that J. and I decided to return.
Alas, except for a possible eagle flying in the distance that J missed, we saw only the usual suspects, which are worth the visit — Canada geese, several species of ducks, gulls, and great blue herons that in this cold snap may be regretting their decision not to migrate. Plus tundra geese! I’ve always wanted to see tundra geese. I didn’t realize what they were until I looked at the photos.
I managed to navigate the slick black ice on the path without falling. Accomplishments.
If the birds weren’t enough there were the views of the setting sun and rising moon to end the foray into the great outdoors. Plus a towboat pushing cargo down the Des Plaines River. I wonder if it made it to Starved Rock Lock and Dam, even if I can’t?
Earlier, I had posted my Google Maps photos that had been viewed 10,000 or more times. In many cases, that milestone took awhile, months or even years. For this photo, however, reaching 10,000 views took about a week. This is Sherman Park in Chicago, designed by John Charles Olmsted, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and Daniel Burnham — any of those names sound familiar? History of Sherman Park here. Canada geese love the lagoon, which was open in places and icy in others.