Once again south suburban Chicago lakes, ponds and sloughs are the home to migrating Great Egrets. In the springtime they pass through the area and some even stay all summer long to nest and raise young ones. During springtime, their breeding season, the great egret changes into its gorgeous nuptial plumage. A patch of skin around its eye turns neon green and long flowing plumes grow from its back. The egret fans its plumes during a courtship dance in hopes to attract a partner. (more…)
The donkey, often misunderstood and underappreciated, is instead an intelligent and independent thinking animal. Their stubborn behavior only arises when they perceive a threat to their own safety and self-preservation. A donkey will never do anything that it considers unsafe, rather it will dig its hooves into ground to make itself immovable.
It was raining sandhill cranes. For a short time in mid-November, flocks and flocks of these magnificent birds flew into and out of the cornfields and marshes of northern Indiana. They gathered, gabbed, danced, ate and rested before flying away like kites in the sky to continue their southerly winter migration. Consolidating into V-shaped flying formations these awe inspiring fliers reached thousands of feet into the sky.
John Muir once said “Most people are on the world, not in it”, on a peaceful May afternoon I was truly in the world. At the edge of Tomahawk Slough there is an oak savanna. Within this oak savanna lay a colony of white trout lily. These lovely spring ephemerals spread across the burnt logs and rising oaks to carpet the woodland floor in green and white.
Like a typical gold mine, this one is brimming with the brilliant, shiny golden objects. Though these gems are not nuggets but instead the yellow flowers of the marsh marigold. A delightful harbinger to spring, the marsh marigold makes a brief, spectacular appearance in late April through early May, then it disappears as fast as it arrived. The golden flowers and emerald green leaves of the marsh marigold make a stunning forest floor carpet.
As it is about to crash land into a swimming flock of pelican, a flying pelican tries to change course before it lands. One wading bird, with its beak wide open, screams warning to the misadventurous landing pelican.
For approximately one week in early April, Maple Lake in the Cook County Forest Preserve turned into Pelican Pond. Each day there were well over seventy American White Pelicans swimming, flying and foraging at the lake. For this brief week in April these white feathered birds were like angels floating on a small blue heaven in southern Cook County.
People often think of the pelicans only as seacoast birds but they are typically only thinking about Brown Pelicans. American White Pelicans differ from their coastal cousins in several ways; (more…)