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 Waxwings often appear in flocks. But this was the only one I saw.
This Tree Swallow let me take his picture while he caught a breath in between sallies for insects.
This Song Sparrow was… not singing.
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.
Painted Turtles were sunning themselves here and there.
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.
Most cooperative was this beautiful damselfly, an 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.
And below is a fledgling Red-Winged Blackbird, stuck on a dry spot, waiting to see what happens next.
I might not have seen the Green Heron below if a Red-Winged Blackbird had not chased him into this tree.
This sole female Mallard Duck looks like she’s got a secret. Maybe I’ll see ducklings on my next visit.
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.
A female and a young buck, just beginning to grow antlers. Growing season for everything.
What an assortment at the Portage. Painted turtles, Jewelwings, and deer on the run. I love the birds and the Green Heron. What fun.
Thanks, Linda! Yes, the Portage is such an unlikely place and I think that’s why I like it. I never know what to expect. 🙂
Beautiful collection of photos, Lisa. I have never been able to catch a swallow sitting long enough for a photo, and I love the damselfly.
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. 🙂
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.
What an outstanding picture of the damsel fly among many other good shots.
Thanks so much. It stayed on the leaf quite a long time so I had a lot of shots to choose from but decided on this one with the wings slightly parted, 🙂
Fantastic variety of photos!
Love all the photos..your Portage is such an experience in Nature..
Thanks. I’m always a little bit amazed myself at how much such a hole-in-the-wall place has to offer.