I don’t know what it is about Goose Lake Prairie, but I like going there, so that was my destination on the Fourth of July. I didn’t get out as early as planned but after the hour-plus drive I was walking the gravel trail from the Visitor’s Center around 7:45 AM. The Visitor’s Center is always closed on the Fourth of July. One of these days I’ll have to go when it’s open.
Not seeing a lot of bees these days so I try to pay attention when I do. This bee appears to be virtually bathed in pollen. I think it’s the little hairs on the flower petals that make it look that way. Click on the picture to see.
The first bird I managed to photograph was a Common Yellowthroat. From the coloring it looks like a juvenile.
But there were still plenty of males singing on territory, like the one below. A sample of his song is in the link between the pictures. You might also hear a Song Sparrow and an Eastern Meadowlark singing in the background of the recording: the Common Yellowthroat is the one singing in triplets.
I also saw a male Northern Harrier soon after I started out, but only because it had been chased into and then out of a tree by a flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds. It was the only raptor I had until I saw a Turkey Vulture from the car as I was driving away.
Below, some of the many juvenile Red-Winged Blackbirds hanging out in groups.
The Tree Swallows below were probably too far away to photograph, but I like the tandem effect of this picture anyway.
For the record, here’s a juvenile Song Sparrow. I could not seem to locate the adults that were singing.
This is the time of year when anything that flies catches my eye. One thing I’ve noticed is the different dragonflies as they occur in different habitats. Butterflies, anywhere, are entirely another matter; they seem to be scarce and do not like to be photographed except from far away.
The other prominent singer yesterday was a Dickcissel. The bird below eventually tolerated my presence so I could get these pictures. One version of his song is in below his pictures.
Although the weather was relatively cool starting out, the sun was hot and by 10:00 a.m. or so I felt I had probably seen all I was going to see. It’s not the kind of place you want to go off trail.
I decided to stop by Lake Renwick on the way back home, which has a heron rookery. There is a small viewing area at Copley Nature Park, accessible from Route 30 at the edge of Lake Renwick. Lake Renwick rookery itself is closed during the breeding season. This is another place I need to check out when it’s open for business.
A distant family of Great Blue Herons tempted me to shoot a few fuzzy pictures.
And birds flying by, like this Double-Crested Cormorant, with its distinctive silhouette.
Perhaps the most numerous species of the day besides Red-Winged Blackbird was Eastern Kingbird. There were many at Goose Lake and several at Copley Nature Park, this one being particularly cooperative.
In case I had any doubt about the heron rookery, this Great Egret flew overhead after I had been out of the car only a few minutes.
Oh well, one more early morning and then it’s back to business as usual. I’m joining Chicago Ornithological Society at Bartel Grassland in Tinley Park tomorrow. It’s an early start and an hour’s drive away, so I should be turning in very soon. After three days off I feel like I’m just beginning to get the hang of it. Being off, that is.
Today also marks my third year blogging with WordPress. I feel like I’m just beginning to get the hang of that too. Thanks to you all for making it fun! 🙂
Love the insects..skimmers are priceless..all the photos are excellent..thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much Syl. I have a lot to learn about using the macro lens but it’s fun, especially with the dragonflies – they don’t seem to mind the camera as much!
You had a productive day when it goes to birds, nice shots, I like dragonflies too. Have a great day tomorrow! 🙂
Thanks, HJ. I’m getting a little report together. 🙂
Great post! Judy and I have just agreed we have to go there. How long did the drive take you? Also, I love that you include the song recordings, really brings the place to life.
Thanks, Jason! It took me about an hour and 20 minutes maybe from Berwyn? It’s pretty much a straight shot down I-55 to Lorenzo Road and then about 7 miles to Jugtown Road and Goose Lake Prairie is there. Heidecke Lake is also close to it (boating/fishing, but it’s part of the DNR natural area too).
I thought the swallow picture was well worth taking.