Sunday I was looking forward to visiting my local haunts. The plan was to visit McGinnis Slough and then go to the Chicago Portage. I got to the Slough, started unpacking the trunk of the car and realized I didn’t have my binoculars with me. This was doubly frustrating as I saw and heard a Red-Shouldered Hawk and caught a glimpse of a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. I couldn’t even see this Cedar Waxwing when I took its photograph.
Undeterred, I decided to venture forth anyway with the scope and camera. But as I started walking north along the mowed path, I was soon greeted by swarms of deer flies. Or they could have been horse flies, if there is a difference I am unaware of it. The more I swatted at them, the more they dug in. Bug spray seemed to attract them even more.
I cannot recall this having ever happened before at McGinnis, but I guess conditions were just right for hungry flies. It had been a few days without rain and temperatures were increasing. As I retreated rather hastily toward my car, it occurred to me I could invest in protective clothing for these unpredictable but miserable situations. I figure I already look nerdy with my pants tucked into my socks to ward off ticks, so why not go one step further and surround myself with netting the flies can’t get through?
Leaving McGinnis in such a hurrry gave me the opportunity to go home, trade my scope for binoculars and set out for the Portage. I got there about 8:20 a.m., still fairly early, although the heat was increasing. I got a few pictures of the usual suspects. Oddly enough, nothing was biting me.
The Northern Cardinal below saw me, flew toward me, perched and started singing. He must have wanted to distract me from his nest.
Still short on butterflies, this Tiger Swallowtail is missing its tail.
I showed the picture below briefly to the Insect Guy (I don’t know his name, but I’ve run into him before at Portage, he takes pictures of insects) while it was still on my camera and he said it was a Jewel Wing but I’m not so sure after looking in my little field guide, so I am not identifying it.
I caught a glimpse of a few Wood Ducklings as they swam back into the reeds.
Everybody was fairly cooperative, as long as they felt safe behind one twig or another…
Shortly after the Insect Guy and I stopped to talk on the trail, he suddenly called my attention to a Red-Tailed Hawk carrying a rabbit to a tree behind me.
The heat and humidity have turned the duckweed thick and split-pea-soup green. On my way out, one of the Green Herons that spends its summer hunting inhabitants of this soup was sitting perched close enough for me to get a few pictures.
And then he decided he’d had enough of my attention…
and landed in a tree where he could blend in.
The weather is beastly hot outside as I finish writing this from the confines of the cold air conditioned office, but we are promised cooler temperatures this weekend after some rain tomorrow. I am looking forward to it!