Last Tuesday morning I got up very early and went to Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area. This is a place I traditionally visit around the 4th of July, but my July was full of too many other things this year.
It was quite cloudy, but that made it cooler, and it was a treat anyway to be able to see uninterrupted sky. It was also much quieter than my usual suburban haunts.
Early on there were few birds visible. Some American Robins.
There were a lot of House Wrens chattering about the lookout ramp attached to the back of the Visitor’s Center.
The clouds kept parting here and there for a bit of sunshine.
There were a considerable number of American Goldfinches. This one caught my attention.
The native wildflowers that dominate this prairie are beautiful. Below, a little Blazing Star.
I saw my first juvenile Eastern Bluebird.
The sun kept making its case.
Below, two Song Sparrows. The second bird appears to be a juvenile.
Young Field Sparrows were everywhere but hard to capture in iffy light.
Common Yellowthroats were abundant.
The Cragg Cabin represents the earliest settlement.
The body of water outside the cabin was at a low level, attracting just a couple shorebirds. I barely got photos of a Solitary Sandpiper…
and a Killdeer.
Rattlesnake Master, one of my favorite plants I am again trying to grow at home, is in bloom here and there.
There were Tree Swallows..
Another male Common Yellowthroat.
American Goldfinch males started accumulating in one tree as if they all wanted to be in the picture.
I saw one juvenile Eastern Meadowlark.
Barn Swallows on break…
A view behind the cabin of the windmill and a conestoga wagon.
I saw a couple more juvenile Eastern Bluebirds.
And more House Wrens. I kept hearing Sedge Wrens but was unable to capture any.
Below, a couple young Field Sparrows.
Another House Wren…
The photos below were taken at quite a distance but they’re interesting to me because there’s an adult male Common Yellowthroat and then below him, to the right, is what appears to be a juvenile.
More American Goldfinches showing off.
Well, basically I got through dropping half of the photos into this post and it became too exhausting for me to go on, let alone expect you to wade through any more of it, so I will be back with Part 2 fairly quickly. That’s a Dickcissel at the top of the post, by the way. Many more images of that bird to come in Part 2.