Friday, August 15, 2014

The Morton Arboretum - 13 Aug 2014

Robin and I drove out to the west side of Chicago Tuesday night. She had the opportunity to take an art class so I took a vacation day to drive with her to Lisle, IL and the Sheraton Hotel.  After Monday's record 6"+ rainfall, basement flooding, yard cleanup, basement cleanup, and an afternoon at work I was feeling dizzy by the time we reached Benton Harbor, where we spent the night.  Wednesday morning we got up early and drove the rest of the way to Lisle.

I headed for The Morton Arboretum, 1700-acres of trees, gardens, and hopefully birds!  I was not disappointed.  The trees were alive with Indigo Buntings, Northern Cardinals, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Wood-Pewees, Scarlet Tanagers (females), Indigo Buntings, Northern Flickers, American Robins, and Red-tailed Hawks.

I had several opportunities to digiscope an Indigo Bunting male on territory.  He spent several minutes at a time atop bushes and tree limbs singing away in the morning sun, and his blues just popped! I had gone there w/ the hopes of photographing some (Eastern) bluebirds, and instead got to photograph blue birds...

I hiked the Main Loop 1 and 2 trails (eastern edge) and walked toward the Big Rock Visitor Center, and swatted mosquitos while trying to photograph birds in the understory of thick woods.  Even though it was sunny and warm the light was not great under the trees.

When I finally got out into the open fields I found a cooperative House Wren that spent some time on top and inside one of the local bluebird houses.  Digiscoping was fun!

On the way back I walked past a small duckweed-covered bog, complete with dead trees and a pair of  Red-headed Woodpeckers!  I spent 15 minutes just watching the pair chase each other in the canopy of the trees surrounding the pond.  Eastern Bluebirds were singing far off in the fields, and more Indigo Buntings were chattering away in the open scrub.

As I walked back into the forest I spotted a juvenile Rufous-sided Towhee, and then later found an adult bird singing in the morning sunlight.

For anyone visiting the west Chicago area this place is a must-visit destination.  I only covered a tiny corner of the arboretum, but the place is beautiful! Check out BirdwatchingDaily's website for a writeup on this place, as it is an important birding destination in the fall and winter.  I enjoyed it thoroughly!

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