Monday, March 21, 2011

Wild dogs

In January I posted about a coyote I saw at Montrose Point. Since then I've come across two local coyote videos, one from Uptown in February and the other from the Lincoln Park area this week (above). The Uptown coyote ran out of the Truman College parking garage, in a very urban area about a mile west of the lakefront. The other appears to be somewhere in Lincoln Park itself, on one of the overpasses near North Pond.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marching onward

March is mostly a dreary weather month around here. It's not quite warm enough to be conducive to springtime outdoor activities, and it's not cold enough to be conducive to winter sports. But there are some subtle signs of spring that give us hope. I recorded my first red-winged blackbird of the year on Feb. 24. Red-wings don't completely leave this region in winter, but they do leave my haunts at Montrose Point. They also were plentiful on my ride to and from Springfield.

On March 3, I heard a killdeer flying around at the workplace on the Southwest Side; that same week a house finch was singing in our alley for the first time in months. Then this weekend produced a couple of spring-like scenes--turkey vultures soaring over the road to Lockport, and common goldeneyes displaying at Montrose Harbor. There also seems to be a great movement of raptors afoot--I've seen three peregrine falcons in the past two weeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raptor ride

I made the 207-mile journey to Springfield, Ill., yesterday. The majority of the route uses I-55--basically from Lake Shore Drive to the outskirts of Springfield itself. The highway cuts across the Southwest Side of the city, continues along a heavy industrial corridor and the Ship and Sanitary Canal before encountering the distribution centers and nondescript warehouses of Bolingbrook, Will County and the I-80 corridor. South of 80, the landscape opens up, from farmland to restored prairies and woodlands. It was a bright, sunny day and everything was sort of a brownish yellow color from horizon to horizon--the fallow fields, the turf grass, prairie grass, everything was the same drab color. There were a lot of raptors, from dozens of red-tailed hawks and kestrels to an osprey hanging out by a small farm pond. The highlights from today--another bright day--included a rough-legged hawk flying low over a field near Normal, and many more red-tailed hawks.