Thanks to a dog walker I met twice last week… I visited a new-for-me place which has been in my backyard, so to speak, all along. I had been meaning to check out the Riverwalk on the Lyons side of the Des Plaines but never realized the other side had a park along the river called Indian Gardens. Many thanks to Ken the architect from Riverside who told me about it. It’s actually closer to home than the Portage, even, by about a couple minutes.
These pictures are from two days’ visits. I parked on the Lyons side and then walked across the bridge and through the Indian Gardens park. I didn’t venture past the tennis courts the first day, but on the second day I walked through them and found where there is an “unmanaged” trail along the river where I will be going more often.
The Lyons side has a fantastic Hoffman Tower which provides a place to hang out for a sizable number of feral pigeons. It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen a flock of pigeons in flight for quite some time.
Blue Jays seem to be everywhere lately. They’re carrying on noisily and are even sometimes visible.
Time to get your fill of Magnolia Warbler photographs because I just barely saw one the last couple days – I think they have moved on, after dominating the warbler migration scene for two weeks. You can click on any of these pictures to get a better view.
Monarch Butterflies are still migrating here and there.
There are a lot of Northern Cardinals at this location, but they are more often heard than seen. I did manage to capture a few females, though. I’ve never seen one capture an insect – it looks like a grasshopper. And then the one perched in a tree with its leaves already turning – she nearly blends in.
It’s absolutely wonderful to see the Great Egrets – even if it’s mainly due to the fact that we haven’t had any substantive rain for at least a couple weeks and it’s been hot, so the middle of the Des Plaines River is very low – perfect for waders.
Gray Catbirds have evaded my lens nearly all summer and now they are getting bolder as they prepare to fly south. The young bird amongst all the dead leaves was right at my feet on the Lyons side.
Canada Geese are moving around and I always love to see them in flight.
Not as many Great Blue Herons as Great Egrets but they are also taking advantage of the shallow river.
On occasion, a Double-Crested Cormorant. Since they are divers, I can’t imagine this bird was too happy with the shallow water situation.
European Starlings are not in huge flocks like they were several years ago. Here’s a few staked out on a dead tree.
I was delighted to see a Belted Kingfisher fly by noisily on my second visit, as I crossed the bridge.
A sneaky closer view of this Great Egret.
Below is a busy Blackpoll Warbler, blending in with the leaves.
I saw the Osprey on both visits. On my second visit, just as I discovered the access point to the trail closer to the river, I inadvertently disturbed the Osprey – it was perched in a large tree right past the trail head, until I approached – so I will be more careful to look for it before I venture forth next time. The bird flew across the river to perch on the tree below. It was quite something to have a bird with a 63″ wingspan take off right over my head.
I was happy to find a Canada Warbler and took advantage of its willingness to stick around for several shots, albeit at a distance. This looks like a first year bird, with a faint necklace.
I was trying to capture the Gray-Cheeked Thrush below and was photo-bombed by a Magnolia Warbler.
I thought it would be easy to combine all these photos into one post but it seems I have overshot my limit again.
Many more photos to come – if I can keep up with it. I have to get used to my new routine, while it lasts anyway. I have a feeling I will be delving into the archives over the winter months playing catch-up. This morning started off cool and cloudy at Columbus Park where we had a scheduled walk. We didn’t see very many birds and those that we did were not easy to capture in low light. I feel like I’ve been given the rest of the morning off to finish this post.