Sunday morning I got up early before the predicted heat ensued and went to the Dorothy and Sam Dean Nature Sanctuary in Oak Brook…
because I felt like I hadn’t had a proper Eastern Bluebird yet this year. I found only one Bluebird but he did not let me down. He even chirped a slight song but it was not strong enough to beat out the surrounding chorus.
There were a few other birds on the wire…
The first bird, the parking lot bird, if you will, was a Great Blue Heron flying over.
There was a flock of Cedar Waxwings moving through. I caught one laggard.
But the dominant species overall was Red-Winged Blackbird.
And the Blackbirds were no less shy taking on Turkey Vultures than they had been the Red-Tailed Hawks at McGinnis a couple weeks ago.
Indeed it was a little dicey walking around the paths. Being the height of breeding season, the Red-Wingeds were not in the mood to tolerate my presence. Click on the picture below to see the spider in this female Red-Winged Blackbird’s bill.
The Sanctuary is a small place, but it managed to make the House Sparrow below look exotic.
After about an hour in Oak Brook, I decided it was time to head back east and check in at the Portage.
The water levels are high, in large part, I suspect, to the felling of so many trees. There were puddles directly in front of me on the path, visited by a Killdeer…
and a Song Sparrow…
There were Warbling Vireos singing up a storm here, as they had been at Dorothy and Sam’s place too. In the sample below, the Warbling Vireo is the very busy-sounding song going on behind all the other noises.
The Portage was full of juvenile birds, like the Wood Duck above. I was glad to see a Green Heron fly over and another, albeit far away, ensconced foraging over the water. I am glad the Green Herons are back.
And after not seeing any Mallards the last two or three times I visited, now there is an entire family.
Also ubiquitous at the Portage are House Wrens. There were at least four males singing on territories. Here’s one of them.
There are always loads of American Robins at the Portage, and now there will be even more as the youngsters start figuring things out.
The big surprise, perhaps, was on the other side of the fence. I followed the path that leads down to the train tracks and the Des Plaines River. I stopped halfway to peer into the bottomlands and saw a Great Egret. I think this is the first time I have seen a Great Egret at the Portage.
Changes in habitat create subtle changes in the creatures that use it. It will no doubt continue to be an interesting year at the Chicago Portage.
When I went back to my car, I met Adrian and Stella, whom I have seen walking their dogs at the Portage. We had a delightful visit and I look forward to seeing them again.
And now I must get back to work, looking for my old car title, and going through more photographs. The weather forecast is for rain and thunderstorms much of the week so there may be hope for inside endeavors.