Monthly Archives: April 2010

Ring-necked Duck

Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL.
Ring-necked Duck


Solitary Sandpiper

Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL.
Solitary Sandpiper


Ruddy Duck

Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL.
Ruddy Duck


Tree Swallow

Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL.

Tree Swallow

I was staring at a Northern Cardinal through my binoculars when Roger said “Nate, turn around really slowly.” I turned around really slowly and this guy was perched on a branch about ten feet from me, just above eye level.


Baker’s Lake Heronry

Click to enlarge

Hideous but functional, this scaffolding that sits on a tenth of an acre in the middle of Baker’s Lake is the Spring home to Double-crested Cormorants, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. The “island” used to consist of actual living trees but the acidity in the bird’s feces essentially destroyed the natural habitat, so the Forest Preserve District of Cook County spent a quarter of a million dollars to erect the scaffolding that exists there today. Built with telephone poles and 2×4’s and lined at the base with dead Christmas trees, it’s not pretty but it gets the job done.


The Bird Is The Word

It’s official. I have adopted a new hobby. I am formally announcing myself as a BIT (Birder In Training). I went on my first birding adventure this past Saturday, with the foremost expert on the subject, that I am aware of, as my guide, the preeminent Roger. Roger also introduced me to rock stacking and happens to be a very good friend.

We stopped at three locations and saw 33 species. Actually, Roger pointed out to me 33 species, I think only about a dozen of which I actually got a close enough look at to be able to identify a second time. I’ll be posting pictures of specific birds in other posts. Here are a few of the non-bird pictures I took while birding.

Painted Turtles. Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL

Inaccessible Toilet. Crabtree Nature Center. Barrington, IL


Sufficiently Baffled

As I mentioned, I took the baffle off the pole and this guy wasn’t sure what to do. Points for tenacity, I’ll give him that.

The feeder has a spring assembly on the cross bar, so when anything over a certain weight hangs on it, a flap closes over the openings where seed comes out. So even swinging on it doesn’t offer any reward.

Poor guy. Guess he’ll have to find a free meal elsewhere.


Not Baffled

When we purchased our feeder supplies, we also purchased a squirrel baffle, to keep squirrels from climbing up the pole to get at the seed.

As you can see, this squirrel was not baffled by this baffle. He was jumping from a nearby bush, onto the baffle. Not so smart on my part. I removed the baffle altogether, as you’ll see in my next post. It was a good thing too. Karen and I got a good laugh out of this guy the next day.


Ornithologically Challenged

We recently invested in a bird feeder. These are some of the guests we’ve seen in the last week or so. Please correct me on any errors in identification. I’m new at this. All of these were identified by searching whatbird.com.

Male and female Cardinals.
 

Male And Female House Finches
Male And Female House Finches

Rusty Blackbird
Check that … Common Grackle
Common Grackle

Black-capped Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee

House Sparrow
House Sparrow


Rock Stacking

While camping in Arkansas a couple weeks ago, I had a chance to try my hand at rock stacking. I’d never stacked rocks before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I mean, I’ve seen the results of other people’s rock stacks. But it always seemed like something that you would spend an entire day on and only come up with one good stack.

So I made my way to the area where I knew there would be plenty of rocks worth stacking. Roger did some stacking the day before but his stacks had all but vanished; flattened by the elements. The setting was amazing, right next to Lee Creek. It was a warm day; high 70’s with bright sunshine. Not the best for taking photos but I wasn’t about to be picky, especially since our campsite was buried in a foot of snow just one day before we arrived. I set right out to stacking and had a couple of stacks done within about twenty minutes. The image below, on the left, is of my first two stacks. As soon as I snapped a few photos, a stiff breeze blew through and they both simultaneously fell over in a heap.

I built two more stacks, hoping to achieve slightly more permanence from using different rocks. Again, I snapped a few more shots and just like before, a stiff breeze blew through and they were history. I think I was getting the hang of this.

Roger showed up soon after and joined me in the stacking extravaganza. Here he is attempting a particularly difficult, if not impossible stack. As it would turn out, it was impossible, for us at least.

Here’s my final stack. I had to rebuild this one several times before I came up with a configuration that would stand long enough to take a picture. Those are Roger’s stacks in the background.
Flintstone Highrise

Just as I was getting this photo, Roger said he was gonna head back to camp. I told him I was going to see how much higher I could get this one and then I’d head back as well. Roger was gone about ten seconds when I stood up to try and pile more on and, yep, you guessed it, a stiff breeze and that was the end of that.

Ah, well. Nothing lasts forever.


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