A Midweek Visit to Millennium Park

North Sculpture Garden IMG_8297_1

Nicer weather and the tourist influx makes Millennium Park challenging for birdwatching on my lunch hour, but it’s closer to where I work so when I don’t have a lot of time, the park beats sitting in the office. Sometimes having lower expectations brings surprises. One thing is certain: my beloved crows are not hanging out there too much. They are shy of most people and even avoid interacting with me in crowded situations. It’s certainly beneath them to beg along with the park’s summer residents that include Common Grackles and Ring-Billed Gulls in addition to Rock Pigeons and House Sparrows.

Park Birds IMG_8306_1

On Thursday I made my way over to the Lurie Garden at the south end of Millennium Park, which is in its first glorious phase of a full bloom cycle.

Lurie IMG_8278_1

Lurie Garden

I am particularly fond of Prairie Smoke, which reminds me of cotton candy in its air-blown wispiness. It’s not in the photo above – the plants on the bottom right are Bergamot – but was elsewhere in the garden, and close up below. It’s one of the first flowers to bloom.

Prairie Smoke IMG_8279_1

Prairie Smoke

Prairie Smoke IMG_8282_1

On the way back I ran into a couple young Grackles,who had just fledged, by the appearance of their pin feathers.

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Common Grackle Fledglings

Grackle Fledges Talking IMG_8293_1

And the Ring-Billed Gulls were still trying to drum up business. My friend Karen once called them “prima donnas.”

RB Gull Aerialist IMG_8310_1

RB Gull IMG_8322_1

Ring-Billed Gull, begging

More to come from the City Parks. I was planning on birding the Portage this morning early, sort of doing a self-styled breeding bird survey, but one of my brake lines failed last night when I moved my car back to my side of the street, and my car is in the shop. It’s old and rusty, like its owner. 🙂