I finally managed to go through the rest of my photographs from my visit to Goose Lake Prairie last weekend. I’d had no particular target species or agenda in mind. I had hoped to maybe see a Grasshopper Sparrow, but I can’t say I even heard one, that was my only disappointment. A bit ironically, I first heard about Goose Lake Prairie on Cornell’s “More Birding By Ear” CDs, for the recorded songs of birds found there.
The most common species last weekend was probably Eastern Meadowlark.They were no longer singing, but they were chattering everywhere.
This parched version of the prairie is different from the last time I visited maybe three years ago. Rattlesnake Master, one of my favorite native prairie plants, seemed to be the only thing that thrived on the hot, dry weather.
The Wild Bergamot was almost spindly.
Song Sparrows were predictably common. And still singing.
I heard a few Field Sparrows before I finally saw one.
I walked a long way before I finally started hearing Henslow’s Sparrows and then it seemed like they were everywhere. But they were singing hidden in the tall grass, until finally I managed to see and hear one sitting up. They were more cooperative a few weeks ago at Springbrook Prairie, but I don’t think I have ever heard so many of them as I did at Goose Lake Prairie. I simply adore Henslow’s Sparrows. Once gravely endangered, they have been making a real comeback in Illinois, due in large part to prairie restoration.
There were not too many butterflies or dragonflies, maybe just a few of the more common species.
And of course my photographic nemesis, Indigo Bunting, made a brief appearance.
Sometime after hanging out with the Northern Harrier that dominated a previous post, a Turkey Vulture came to take up the slack…
proving that even vultures can be beautiful.