A few interesting sightings yesterday evening.
There was what I think was an adult female hooded merganser preening in the water near the grass. She gurgled some water, seemed to swallow it, then did some behind the wing preening. She repeated this over 5-6 times as I watched and videoed. I thought it was interesting.
Later, it seemed as if the place was abandoned, but finally the sun came out and some birds appeared.
There were young cowbirds making a somewhat irritating call when I walked in and then later a couple were in a tree. This was a very busy tree! There were several rwbb there as well, I think also with some young. It was hard to see any of the birds well though, with all the leaves and sticks in front of them. Finally I was able to find the little bird that kept flying around in the grasses and the trees, it was one of the willow flycatchers. I saw him/her on and off for a while, and then I saw it feeding a cowbird! I guess they get into all the nests… Standing nearby this mis-matched pair was my FOY fledged baltimore oriole. I say fledged because I was observing their nest but missed the fledging and never saw them, until this one now, which I am glad to have seen. I was feeling disappointed at missing that. That was not the only fledging disappointment but the rest will be told later.
There were a lot less swallows, but still several barn swallows. I think 2 n rough-winged and I also saw what might have been a cliff swallow (Al had one today).
The white duck I have been seeing in Glenview for around 4 years now has 4 of her 6 offspring remaining with her and I got to watch as she led them through the grassy river bank, across the path, into the prairie, and eventually as they emerged at the bottom of the slope to enter the lower basin. That was fun to watch. She had three of each white and brown phenotype, and now there are two of each, that I saw yesterday.
The flowers and grasses are doing very well now along the southern path. I was concerned earlier in the year, seeing several invasives also doing well, but it turns out that they are a minor component of the whole area, which is good to see.
The surprising thing here was that there were three great blue herons. This is a record for me in 6 years. It's unusual to even have one. One of the three was the immature that has been feeding here in the last two weeks. It has stripes that run down its long neck. I'm sure they're here because their usual locations (Techny, Techny N, and maybe even Skokie Lagoons) have so much water now that it makes it harder to hunt successfully.
There was an immature barn swallow perched on the nest when I arrived, but it was gone when I left. No barn swallow attacks today, so maybe they are now all grown up.
It's been a weird breeding year for ASP, more in the breeding notes later in the summer.
Suzanne ColemanCook co.posted 7/25/17