I’m taking a brief break from the spring warbler photos to document a couple drought-related observations down by the Des Plaines River last week. I thought I had the perfect title for this post two days ago but I forgot to write it down, so “slim pickings” it is.
On May 24, with the river so low, I noticed some fish having a hard time negotiating some of the rocky, shallower spots.
Then on May 26, I first noticed a black bird chasing an Osprey. In other photos the bird in pursuit appears to have been a Common Grackle.
I started to follow the Osprey with the camera as it began flying around the bend in the river, looking for a fish. These are only a few (!) of the photos I took, but they are basically in order. The Osprey was desperate to find something to eat. I was exhausted following it as it searched, not to mention wondering how long it could continue expending all that energy for nothing.
So busy was I following the Osprey I nearly forgot there were any other birds. I found a couple Chimney Swifts in my photos later.
The Osprey came around again, repeating the same exercise.
Finally it decided to go after something. I think that’s the library building behind it. But it came up with nothing from that dive except wet feathers (second photo below).
Not too much later, it was back again.
Finally the Osprey seemed to have found something. I wasn’t able to focus quickly enough to adequately capture the scene below, but I’m including it anyway as I realized later I had not even noticed the Great Blue Heron watching all this. Sadly to say, the Osprey flew off without anything in its talons.
When I got back to my parked car by the Hofmann Dam, I took a few photos of a Ring-billed Gull searching for food.
The forecast remains hot and dry. We are due to cool off around Tuesday, and I can only hope that brings some precipitation with it, but the forecasters are not optimistic.
I have started branching out a bit to check some other locations here and there. I also hope to be helping out with monitoring of breeding birds at the Chicago Portage this month. Garden work persists and a few native plants are starting to bloom. There’s lots going on outside, but I am grateful for air-conditioning. And my indoor crowd has promised to help me write a little music. To be continued…