What a surprise to visit the Chicago Portage Tuesday morning and find that there had been a controlled burn last Saturday. I had gone to McGinnis Slough that morning and remember passing by the Portage on the way back home and seeing a lot of vehicles in the parking lot. Although I think the intervention was long overdue, the timing couldn’t have been more precarious. The ground was still somewhat damp from all the earlier rain. But the subsequent hot, dry and windy forecast would have been prohibitive. Below are some views of the charred ground.
The female House Sparrow below was the first bird I noticed when I started walking from the parking lot. I thought the buds on the tree and the blue sky background made her look extra special.
An American Robin was by the first bridge, fluffing its feathers as if it had just taken a bath,
It was a beautiful day for photos of the regulars.
Later, when I was on the inside trail, the Belted Kingfisher saw me and took off.
But he soon surprised me by hovering and flying over the water, as if he was happy to give me a little demonstration of his technique.
A male Brown-headed Cowbird caught my eye,.
By the second bridge, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker put on a little show.
One Yellow-rumped Warbler paused just long enough for me to capture his image.
Two Canada Geese were flying back and forth.
Earlier the geese shared a log island with the turtles.
The turtles are ready for this weather. The Blue-winged Teal have been around for the last couple weeks, but I don’t always see them if they are tucked in to the vegetation by the shore.
I met a friendly White-throated Sparrow.
And I saw my first Eastern Phoebe.
I had gone to sit on a log by the shore off the inside trail, when a Bald Eagle flew over briefly.
We continue with hot, dry weather until late tomorrow night when the forecast is for cooling off, rain (I hope!) and then – wait, there’s more! – we are supposed to get some snow on Monday. I don’t think it will be with us for long because the temperatures are not likely to hit freezing, but this is really messing up with my plans to clean up my yard. All those insects that are starting to emerge will need a place to take shelter. In the meantime, however, I have been removing invasive Lesser Celandine from the backyard.
The Portage is already starting to come back through the ashes. I have much more to report and I will try to keep up the next few days.