I envisioned another two-locale outing yesterday morning, but never made it to the second spot, since there was quite enough to keep me busy at Orland Grassland. This is another reclaimed farm property becoming restored habitat, and it’s not far from Bartel, so if there were not quite so many strip malls and subdivisions in between you could almost envision a habitat corridor for grassland birds.
(The Field Sparrow above was friendly, but not singing. Although there were several others singing I was unable to record them. The closest one stopped singing the minute I turned on the recorder, of course.)
Indeed driving just farther south than McGinnis Slough to reach Orland the feeling is never-ending suburban sprawl. Although Orland Grassland is much better established than it was last time I visited which was several years ago, and it is possible to look in at least one direction without seeing a building or utility tower on the horizon, I still could not escape the feeling of fragility, whether it was the helicopters overhead reminding me of civilization or the huge Ace Hardware warehouse looming at one corner of the preserve as I headed back to the parking lot.
I managed to walk the perimeter of barely half of the 960 acre preserve, which I estimate to be about a mile one way, before turning around and heading back. I was stopped at every turn either by a bird, an interesting insect, or a wildflower. For the time being the trails are mown paths, often restructured with dried tire ruts from the last rainstorm, but I understand a paved trail is in the offing. I would rather stumble along a mown path. With the exception of a couple people walking their dogs, I was the only person at Orland yesterday morning.
Fields of Monarda seemed to attract butterflies, bees, and of particular interest to me, a hummingbird. This was my first good look at a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird this season. The welcome mat has been out in my backyard for months: I hope to see them soon at the feeders.
It was difficult to get a good image of the Katydid below but my, what long legs you have, and long antenna, and, well, a miniature marvel. The pondhawks and skimmers were more accommodating.
Colorful beetles, dragonflies…
After a while other plants interrupted the field of Bergamot and sadly, so far, I can identify only one of them.
Then of course there were butterflies. I think the first one below is some sort of Checkerspot but I cannot seem to locate it readily. I have to look harder.
Update: thanks to Mary Lee’s comment below I finally looked up the Crescents and I think I have identified this butterfly. Thanks, Mary Lee!
Thanks to Linda Padera I now have the correct ID for the Crescent – it is a Pearl.
Not a butterfly but always a welcome sighting, this Northern Flicker was one of four or more. Now that nesting is over they are perhaps a bit less shy. In all I had 30 bird species on my list but I probably saw only 20.
There were a lot of Viceroy Butterflies. I may have seen one Monarch but it was at a distance and it disappeared before I could be sure of the identification
Walking through Orland this morning was magical and mournful at the same time. Whenever I have a fleeting moment of superb reality, I seem to focus more on the fleeting than the moment itself.
It’s time to go back to work. It’s been a nice weekend, but there’s a lot more to be done.
Thanks so much for your posts! I think the butterfly is a Crescent (either Northern or Pearly.)
Thanks, Mary Lee! So glad you like the posts. I will look up the Crescents and fix the ID later. It’s like starting all over again with birds. 🙂
Very nice pictures Lisa, that place seems to be good for birds. and less swampy. 🙂
Thanks, HJ! There are a few ponds, I guess, but nothing wetland about it. 🙂
Lisa, thanks again for your posts. We have had non-stop hummingbirds at our feeders since early May. They are now in open combat over their territories, with adults and juveniles trying to “bulk” up. Never get tired of watching them.
Thanks so much for your comment, Jim. Lucky you with all the hummers! I only started getting them during fall migration a couple years, and then it’s only one juvenile at a time. Maybe he or she will bring a friend this year.
WOW! Great pictures of critters and flowers! Especially the hummingbirds. And the meadowlark, isn’t that very rare in Cook County?
Thanks, Jason! Cook County is a big place and the more grassland habitat, the more meadowlarks. Places like Orland and Bartel are the most likely.
Nice photos of the flowers and wildlife. I’ll ID the flower photos. The one after the Prunella is Queen Anne’s Lace that is closed. The plume of grass to the left of it is Canada Wild Rye. The
yellow flower is Prairie Dock. The white flower after it is Pale Indian Plantain.
Thanks so much for the IDs and welcome! Sorry for the late response but I’ve been out of the country for a while without WiFi but am returning.