A Visit to Goose Lake Prairie – Part 2

As promised, here are the rest of too many photographs taken last Tuesday – a week ago already! – at Goose Lake Prairie. The bird at the top of the post is an adult male Common Yellowthroat. Below are two photos of a juvenile Common Yellowthroat negotiating a thorny perch.

I reported 6 Dickcissels but there were likely several more. In any case, I took photos of the closest ones I could find. Once the sun started to emerge from behind the early morning clouds, they were singing everywhere. And they were not shy.

Below is a young Gray Catbird.

And I managed to find an Eastern Kingbird.

More photos of the prairie plants: Ironweed, Blazing Star, Prairie Coneflower and Partridge Pea, which is a new one for me.

Insects enjoying the Rattlesnake Master.

Apologies if I am repeating one of these Dickcissel images from the last post…

Below are a few other individual Dickcissels looking more like females and/or juveniles.

Still searching for Sedge Wrens and finding two more House Wrens…

I made my way over to one of the lakes, but with all the vegetation it was difficult to see much of anything. I did find what appeared to be a female or immature Hooded Merganser.

The photos below stumped me for a day and a half for whatever reason until I realized it was a Red-winged Blackbird.

I was happy to see three American Crows and managed to follow one as it flew over.

Below is a bird I did not expect to see. She’s a female Scarlet Tanager.

Sharing a bush, below, a Dickcissel and yes, a House Wren…

Common Yellowthroat male

I took notice of another Gray Catbird.

Rabbits seem to be ubiquitous this summer.

That’s it for August 1 at Goose Lake Prairie.

On the home front, the day before, I noticed a Monarch caterpillar on a small milkweed plant in the front yard. The next day when I came home from Goose Lake Prairie, I noticed all the leaves off the original plant were gone, and the caterpillar had moved to another small milkweed plant nearby. I have since lost track of it. I hope it is safe and thriving somewhere in the front yard. After years of Common Milkweed appearing in my yard, this is the first Monarch caterpillar I have ever seen. I can only hope there will be more.

And lastly, John L. from the Friends of the Chicago Portage contacted me a couple days ago to tell me about an organized 350-year celebration of sorts of the Chicago Portage National Historic Site, to occur this Saturday, August 12. He has asked me to participate in some fashion, which I envision might include talking to visitors about birds at the Portage, and I guess I could volunteer a little information on the plants I’ve become familiar with too if necessary. I am not contemplating a formal presentation, but I am starting to gather a few facts to have handy. From what John has told me, it sounds like it is going to be quite interesting, including actors reenacting explorers Marquette and Joliet following the lead of Native Americans through the site and representatives from the National Park Service, the Cook County Forest Preserves and others with booths and activities. Needless to say, I will be arriving much earlier to check on the birds before all this occurs.

Below are quick photographs I took this morning of a sign that is now posted by the Harlem Avenue entrance, the famous statue, and one of the storyboards that was added when the shelter was built a few years ago. If nothing else, all this explains the completion of the asphalt trail and the native plantings by the parking lot. Maybe I can find out what the numbers on the trees were for. I promise to (try to) give a full report afterward.

I have since been over to the “other” Goose Lake, a few visits to Riverside, and back to the Portage again. I will try to get caught up with some of these visits. Fall migration is just starting and it almost seems like every day, even in the middle of heat and not a lot of activity, there is always something new.

3 thoughts on “A Visit to Goose Lake Prairie – Part 2

  1. You have done a really nice job of recording photos of a number of juveniles. I noticed that you were able to find a few Dickcissels in your walk. I won’t ask how many more photos of said bird did not make it to your Post. Thanks for identifying the female Scarlet Tanager and the immature Hooded Merganser. I look forward to your presentation on Saturday. Will popcorn be served?

    • I don’t know about popcorn, but I saw two red Coca-Cola trucks in the parking lot today before I left. I also had an Osprey fly over…which I barely captured once it was quite distant.

  2. As well as your usual flood of birds. you had some very pretty pictures in today’s post. I hope that your event on Saturday goes well. You must be a mine of information for visitors.

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