Paved at the Portage

The paving over of the inside trail appears to be complete. Remnants of fencing and barriers remain but will likely disappear shortly. Each visit to the Chicago Portage remains slightly different as the plants and the wildlife continue in spite of everything,

We have noticed numbers posted on some of the trees by the paved trail and wonder what the significance is. Yesterday I asked Rick, a foreman of the volunteers, and he said he and his dad were speculating as well. He texted his contact with the environmental team for an answer. Maybe we will eventually find out. I ran into José later yesterday and he speculated that it had something to do with which trees had to be preserved as a few were removed in the pavement process. No. 15 is one of my favorite hackberries, for what it’s worth.

These photos are from my visit on July 24. I have been back a few times since but as quiet as things seem, I can’t fit all the visits into one post.

I have taken to walking straight out the grassy area to the paved trail, beyond the shelter, to check the water for herons first. On that day I saw this rabbit…

and what appeared to be an Eastern Wood-Pewee with its offspring. I always hear this bird but rarely see it. The adult is on the left.

The youngster was very cooperative with my camera.

I saw no herons that day. But as I walked there were other things to catch my attention, like two Ladybugs on a plant I have not identified.

A European Starling lost in mulberries.

A Downy Woodpecker investigating a dead tree.

The view from the bridge closest to Harlem Avenue.

Plants demanding attention. The White Vervain is starting to bloom. It looks oh-so-weedy but it is actually quite beneficial to wildlife. A large Common Elderberry is ripening its berries. What appear to be a couple willow trees are growing beside Tadziu’s bridge. And I cannot resist the Squirrel-Tailed Grass in full bloom.

I won’t begin to try to explain what these Vespids are up to.

Faraway birds…

Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Another young woodpecker, this one a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

A young Red-winged Blackbird perfecting the art of preening.

I have seen this behavior several times this summer. An American Robin sitting on the gravel trail. I don’t expect to see one sitting on the asphalt, however.

The turtles are in place.

One more of the Downy Woodpecker above.

I will be back shortly with some Green Heron photos from yesterday’s visit that proved interesting.

4 thoughts on “Paved at the Portage

  1. Was out this morning. Saw your bunting, a common yellow-throat, woodpecker and a large deer with full antlers. Nice update on Portage.

    • Good morning to go out, but I didn’t want to fall asleep at the theatre – which was fabulous. Yesterday was pleasant too. No deer, but green herons I was interested to distinguish later in the photos. Report coming soon.

    • That’s what we were thinking, that somehow they were identifying types of trees. But I was mystified by noticing more recently that one tree had two numbers on it: 7 on one side and 8 on the other. I may never find out what all this means. But it reminds me of one of the storyboard signs as you walk through the preserve that begins, “If these trees could talk…”!

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