Meanwhile Back at the Portage

White-Tailed Deer

White-Tailed Deer

I visited the Chicago Portage on Sunday. Not as early as I wished, but I went out Saturday night and couldn’t get up before dawn. While I suspected by 8:00 a.m. I missed quite a bit not being there at sunrise, it was still nice to hear a lot of birds and even see a few now and then. The surprises were more the omissions: only a few Canada Geese flying over, no ducklings or goslings, not one Mourning Dove, no raptors. Yet the place was brimming with life. The deer came closer to the lens than most of the birds.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings often appear in flocks. But this was the only one I saw.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

This Tree Swallow let me take his picture while he caught a breath in between sallies for insects.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

This Song Sparrow was… not singing.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

But this Catbird was. Actually, the song clip below is from another Gray Catbird that serenaded me but never showed his face.

Everything is so green, including the carpet of duck weed, after all the rain.

Chicago Portage IMG_2468_1

Painted Turtles were sunning themselves here and there.

Painted Turtles

Painted Turtles

Deadly Nightshade, also known as Beladonna, is in full bloom. I pull a lot of this stuff out of my yard every year, even if the bumblebees seems to like its pretty flowers.

Deadly Nightshade and the Bumblebee

Deadly Nightshade and the Bumblebee

Most cooperative was this beautiful damselfly, an Ebony Jewelwing.

Ebony Jewelwing

Ebony Jewelwing

I start out counting Red-Winged Blackbirds and then give up. It’s impossible to tell if this is the same one I heard over there..I estimated the entire preserve had about 40 total.

RWBB IMG_2456_1

And below is a fledgling Red-Winged Blackbird, stuck on a dry spot, waiting to see what happens next.

RWBB Fledgling IMG_2606_1

I might not have seen the Green Heron below if a Red-Winged Blackbird had not chased him into this tree.

Green Heron

Green Heron

This sole female Mallard Duck looks like she’s got a secret. Maybe I’ll see ducklings on my next visit.

Female Mallard IMG_2658_1

Portage IMG_2643_1

It’s hard to believe this little preserve, sandwiched in between the Chicago Metropolitan Water District, railroad tracks and an Interstate, has room for young deer.

WT Deer IMG_2605_1

WT Deer Young Buck IMG_2618_1

A female and a young buck, just beginning to grow antlers. Growing season for everything.

12 thoughts on “Meanwhile Back at the Portage

  1. What an assortment at the Portage. Painted turtles, Jewelwings, and deer on the run. I love the birds and the Green Heron. What fun.

    • Aw shucks, thanks, Bob. The Jewelwing was really showing off for me, and it was the only one I saw. I have run into a guy who takes pictures only of insects a couple times, but he wasn’t there that morning. I thought about him when I realized my lens was, well, a bit inappropriate. But the damselfly didn’t seem to notice. 🙂

  2. We had lone Cedar Waxwings appear in our garden two years ago. They have not returned, sadly. I have planted lots of berries to entice them back. My brother actually grows belladonna as an ornamental vine. It is pretty, I guess. Some birds will eat the berries, though they are toxic to people.

    • Cedar Waxwings are unpredictable. I saw one in the neighborhood a few years ago. I planted berry bushes and I think the robins have discovered them but I also suspect the squirrels. The bushes fill up with bright red berries and then two days later they are all gone. I was fond of the belladonna as far as things that plant themselves go, but it associated with too many other things I wanted to be rid of.

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