McGinnis in the Rain

Rain, rain...

Rain, rain…

Let me get the disclaimer over with. I planned on posting last night but my laptop apparently decided I had been taking it for granted, perhaps after hearing the washing machine had decided Saturday morning that it had had enough too. But it hasn’t been all bad. I took off from work on Friday because I had a ticket to Steely Dan at Ravinia and there was really no way I could envision driving that far after working half a day. I was also rationalizing I could make up for not birding last weekend after the water heater staged its own rebellion.

Stormy Sky

Stormy Sky

Friday, the forecast was for scattered thunderstorms, but you can never tell where they’re going to scatter, so I got up as early as I my body would allow, and I managed to get to McGinnis Slough at 7:10 AM, whereupon a little rumble of thunder turned into a downpour. I sat in the car and waited for it to stop. Which it did, and then it started again. I must have gotten in and out of the car five times before I finally managed to take off for more than a few feet. And even then I had to stop and open up the umbrella. McGinnis got a good soak.

Rain starts again...

Rain starts again…

I think she might have stayed for the photo if the rain hadn’t suddenly picked up again…

Blackbirds drying off

Blackbirds drying off

When it seemed like I might yet be able to see a few birds, I took the shortest route to the south end of the preserve, stopping to admire the first Rose Mallow blossoms.

Marsh Mallow - not "Rose" - I'm hearing "Rose Darling" by Steely Dan...

Rose Mallow. But I’m still hearing “Rose Darling” by Steely Dan…

I wasn’t seeing as many birds as I heard, Marsh Wrens and Song Sparrows singing in between cloudbursts, Blue Jays calling from everywhere. But then I heard something different yet quite familiar. Sandhill Cranes. I followed the sound and found a pair of Sandhills and two young Great Blue Herons. Only one heron fit in the frame with the cranes.

Sandhill Cranes with a Great Blue Heron

Sandhill Cranes with a Great Blue Heron

A closer view of the cranes.

Sandhills  8-2-13 1I2A0800

There was a break in the clouds, finally, so I ventured to the farther, northernmost side, where there were predictably a lot of Great Egrets. This group constitutes perhaps a third of the total I counted.

Great Egrets

Great Egrets

And one managed to fly by ever so slightly closer.

Great Egret 8-2-13 1I2A0829

I left shortly after the sun was finally starting to shine, almost three hours later. When I got home I was a bit dismayed to find it had not rained at all on my garden while I was gone. But the quiet of McGinnis with the rain stayed with me and served as the perfect meditation to take a slow day off, nap, do a few chores and then go to Ravinia. Fagan, Becker and the excellent musicians that share the stage with them delivered another memorable concert. I have been singing their songs ever since.

Great Egret 2 8-2-13 1I2A0830

10 thoughts on “McGinnis in the Rain

  1. Sounds like Colorado summer weather this year…never know where the showers will your photos as you have once again captured the atmosphere and the birds within the Rose Mallow..raindrops are spectacular

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Syl. Yes, the rain has been an erratic, unpredictable force this year. But for the most part I’d much rather have it rain than be without it. And it was kind of fun to be caught in what would seem ridiculous circumstances: “You took the day off to do what?” 🙂

  2. What can I say, Lisa. I am so jealous of all the wonderful places that you have to visit. So many birds in what seems to be driving distances for you. I love your photos and your narratives that you write with them.

    • Bob, you are too much. You’re writing about Constantinople before it became Istanbul and you’re jealous of the Cook County Forest Preserves…? Plus you live in Texas which to us midwesterners is a heavenly destination for birds. Birds would think us silly, probably; they can fly anywhere. Thanks so much for your generous comments and support.

  3. Not directly about McGinnis (couldn’t find About): I blog about birds and nature too and happened upon your blog yesterday while searching for “sparrow clinging to wall” (you have a photo of one). However I got hooked when I read “How I Started Playing Music For Birds.” Very cool! I thought my readers would enjoy learning that birds sing with our music so I blogged about your blog today at

    • Thank you so much for blogging about my blog. I took a peek at your blog before I left for work this morning and I will have to revisit soon, lots there that resonates with me, I’m sure.

  4. I hope that’s it for your water problems. washing machine, water heater, and rainy washout…. that makes three, and I think that’s the limit. Love the sandhill cranes. They don’t make it out to the Eastern PA mountains, so they seem very exotic to me. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I love the Sandhills too, and I was so happy to encounter them, they made my otherwise soggy outing worth the trip. Thanks for your dry-er wishes!

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