The Lakefront’s Juvenile Birds

Monroe Harbor

Monroe Harbor

I haven’t been down to the lakefront regularly, and I miss it. With the devastation of available park space it’s been difficult to motivate myself to get up an hour early.

Sculptures in Solti Garden

Sculptures in Solti Garden

But last Friday I managed to go because it seemed like the best weather available (a distant memory after the heat and drought that followed) . I miss seeing the crows and I was curious to find out how many of them remain with the reduced habitat.

Borders sign IMG_0095_1 - Copy

My first stop was at the Solti Garden just south of The Art Institute on Michigan Avenue where I was surprised to see the Chicago Park District had replaced the yews with what looks like native grasses, to accompany an installation of “Borders” by Steinunn Thorararinsdottir, an Icelandic artist.

Borders IMG_0104_1 - CopyBorders IMG_0101_1 - CopySand IMG_0100_1

Someone covered the sculpture above in sand and gravel from the walkway.

Monroe Harbor Spider

Monroe Harbor Spider

A bit later after finding nothing of interest north of Buckingham Fountain (except for a group of people led by the Field Museum’s ornithologist Doug Stotz–if there was anything interesting he would likely have reported it later to the local listserve, and he did not), I made it to the lakefront where spiders have set up webs between the metal dividers that support the sidewalk and protect it from the lake. I guess the lower lake levels are good news for them; they can lure all the bugs the swallows miss.

European Starling

European Starling

While it wasn’t possible to get pictures of the swallows, no matter how hard I tried, there was a juvenile European Starling looking almost adult.

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird

And the same can be said for this juvenile Red-Winged Blackbird. There were perhaps forty or so foraging in the grass right along the bicycle and footpaths that follow the lakefront.

A juvenile American Robin is always in order.

Robin IMG_0180_1

The Ring-Billed Gull below is probably a second-year. The light is always tricky this time of year, or at least that’s my excuse.

RBG IMG_0124_1

In all between three parks and half a mile of lakefront, I counted only 8 crows, of which one was the juvenile below.

Juvenile Crow IMG_0187_1

I am looking forward to cooler weather, more rain and more birds!