This time of year I may not be seeing many birds but everything is in a state of growth and worth attention. I visited the Chicago Portage last Saturday because I wanted to go elsewhere on Sunday and still felt like I needed to keep track of whatever was going on there. I was surprised to see the fruits of some restoration efforts in the vegetation. There is a lot of Tall Bellflower I don’t recall seeing before, mixed in with the Burdock which is about to bloom. Last time the Common Burdock was in bloom, butterflies were everywhere, so I will have to go back soon to see if that happens again.
Burdock is an invasive species but for whatever reason it’s not considered a problem at the Portage. It could be that there is just too much of it to remove entirely but by planting more native species, the County is slowly making some headway against it. I don’t mind it so much because it supports wildlife. Still need to be careful not to get caught up in it.
I became captivated by the grass below but I cannot identify it…yet. Plants are starting to drive me crazy.
There is a lot of Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, below left, but I don’t remember seeing Blue Vervain before, which is on the right. I did see the same Vervain blooming elsewhere in Cook County over the weekend.
Of course there were birds, but not so easy to photograph. I became intrigued by young European Starlings though because now is when they start looking like their name for a brief period of time as their breasts break out in little white stars which you might be able to see if you click on the picture on the bottom left.
There were a lot of Cedar Waxwings too. Seems the group name is either “earful” or “museum” of waxwings… They are notorious fruit lovers and that made it hard to capture the berry-eater at the bottom.
There have not been a lot of dragonfly species. It’s a female Common Whitetail Skimmer on the left below. I still don’t understand the attraction to gravel. On the right is a type of Spreadwing damselfly, but I am not able to identify it.
A long view of the water, such as it is, at the Portage, looking peaceful and baked in sunlight.
Some juvenile-appearing Flycatchers below: Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe and what I’m pretty sure is an Eastern Wood-Pewee.
A couple Burdock closeups…
The yellow flower below looks different from the ratibida pinnata but I have no clue…tucked away in the shadows, a bunny and a young Robin.
The bracket fungus below is quite impressive. I don’t think I’ve seen it before.
Below is a Northern Flicker in the most popular tree bearing fruit. Now I’m realizing I was so busy following the birds in it, I didn’t bother to figure out the tree itself. More challenges ahead.
I fully intended to do a post encompassing all last weekend’s experiences but there’s too much so I will be back shortly with a couple more installments.