While I’m Waiting

I miss going to the Chicago Portage. It has almost become my new job. Nearly every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and then often on Saturday or sometimes a Sunday, I start walking at the Portage and find myself again.

There are lots of photos from recent visits and going all the way back to May and even late April, so I won’t run out of nostalgia, but from the look of things the improvements to the Portage may be going on through the end of July. It seems they have closed access while they are paving the trail staked in the picture below to allow for wheelchair access. I worry about the breeding birds that nest low, but there is still plenty of area far from the trails so maybe my concern is not warranted. I am eager to go back to see if my friend Tadziu the Indigo Bunting is still around. I should give the birds more credit, they’ve been witnessing all this activity on a daily basis and they know more about it than I do.

These are photos from June 15 and 18, not in any particular order. It’s obvious I spent a lot of time watching the herons. I love the photo below because of the contrast in size between the Green Heron and the Great Blue Heron.

The 15th was a cloudy day. This Baltimore Oriole stood out anyway, albeit at quite a distance. It looks like he was doing his morning exercise routine.

Later I caught up with him in a better background.

There was a quiet moment in the same tree with a Song Sparrow, too.

American Goldfinches have been so busy, I haven’t seen them all that frequently.

Cedar Waxwings stand out even in bad light.

I decided to go straight to the herons on the 18th, so as I walked through the middle lawn section just beyond the shelter, I saw the Eastern Wood-Pewee I often hear but had not seen all this season.

There have been a few Green Herons present simultaneously. Below I captured a brief disagreement between two of them.

It almost looks like the Great Blue Heron below is standing by the side of the road, but that is actually the duckweed covered water, or what’s left of it.

Occasionally a Great Egret has been here too.

It’s hard to resist photographing Indigo Buntings when they sit right out in the open, if for no other reason than to see how they look in that particular light. I think this is Tadziu on his alternate tree.

Northern Flickers are starting to reappear.

The tree stump below is all that is left of a dead tree that a pair of Northern Flickers used to nest in. It’s over by Tadziu’s bridge.

I wonder if this is the same pair that used to nest in it.

I encountered what looks like a young Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Another one of those “how blue is the Indigo Bunting” photos.

A rare glimpse of a Warbling Vireo that looks like a juvenile.

As the Great Blue Heron flew over the marsh, it got a little too close to a Red-winged Blackbird nest.

I was a little surprised to see a Northern Flicker foraging in the duckweed.

This could be my most ho-hum photo of a Baltimore Oriole

Oh why not a few more?

The muskrat appeared briefly on the 18th. Then I decided the duckweed-covered turtle deserved more attention.

There are ever-so-slight changes of expression with the first Indigo Bunting…

A couple more for the road…

A female Indigo Bunting

We finally got some rain overnight. I woke up in the early morning hours delighted to hear thunder and the rush of rain pouring onto the house. I won’t have to worry about watering for a while. One rain barrel is full. It was hot all day but very windy. Now we are cooling off again, and we even got a little more rain. All we need is enough to attract the rain clouds more often to pull us out of this drought. The strange summer continues.

I have a lot going on the next couple weeks so I won’t be taking off for more distant destinations, but I will be driving by the Portage now and then to see if it’s open. And I still have Riverside and swimming to keep me out of trouble.

4 thoughts on “While I’m Waiting

  1. Well I guess we will have to live with the memories of birds at Portage for a while. We will also have wait and see how much impact their work will have on birding activities. My son did see and take a picture of a Black-crowned Night Heron at Graue Mill. But, I will be in Montana for a few weeks and the birding trails will be open.

    • No sooner did I publish this post than the gates opened at the Portage. I will be spending plenty of time monitoring the improvements.
      Very nice to hear about the Black-crowned Night Heron. I saw them at that location years ago, I should go back.
      I hope you see lots of birds in Montana and have good weather.

    • Thanks, Tom. I suppose it becomes more difficult to discern between management and mismanagement of wild spaces in an urban environment.
      I’m reminded of John Marzluff’s book of a few years back, Welcome to Subirdia, which came to the conclusion that more surviving species of birds were found in between the disparity of cities and wilderness.

Leave a Reply