What a beautiful weekend it was! Saturday was a little cool, so my kids took me to a movie for Mother’s Day (“Iron Man 3” – highly recommended!).
Sunday was sunny and warm, with a bit of a breeze at times. Not quite t-shirt weather, but not heavy-coat weather.
Great day for a hike!
I thought it might be a good day to take in a marshy preserve before another drought sets in, so we visited Cuba Marsh in Barrington.
For such a small preserve, it has a lot of different things going on!
There is only one parking lot, on the north side, and we start off walking in a nicely wooded area.
Nearly first thing, I see a little bird fly off into a further tree, kind of bluish in the sun. Cool, a new bird maybe!
Silly little bugger didn’t stay in one place hardly long enough for me to focus, much less get the picture!
There were a lot of them around – I have several out-of-focus shots of them jumping from branch to branch, even shots with nothing but branches, but I did manage to get a good one.
Between all the different shots, I was able to identify this one as a blue-gray gnatcatcher. NEW BIRD!
The trails here don’t go in a loop, so we did see some of the same areas twice, once in and once out, but that does give you a different angle and scenery.
And the scenery here was different around nearly every curve! We started in woods, passed oak savanna, crossed a marshland, viewed ponds and lakes, and climbed hills. A one-stop forest preserve!
As we continued on, I spotted a deer behind some brush. Walking a little further on, we found a path that the deer was actually on. After shooting some zoom shots and knowing how bad my zoom is at full zoom, I thought I would see how close I could get.
It was funny. I was walking straight at it, in full view, yet it would pay attention to other walkers on the path behind us, or sounds off to the other side. The only time it looked straight at me was when I started making noises. Nice shot, eh?
I got within about 30 feet I figure, and it just walked away.
I noticed what I thought were markings on its side (you can kind of see them in the second shot), but when I zoomed on the photos, it looked like they were actually healed wounds, the skin was reddish and the fur hadn’t grown over them. Made me wonder if it was a buck that didn’t do so well in the fall battles. It didn’t look obviously male, but I don’t usually sex deer!
So, that was cool, too!
The next unusual thing we saw, was as we were coming to the top of a ridge, above a large marsh area. Off in the trees I saw bunches of flowers that from a distance I thought might be jonquils, once domestic, now feral. The preserve area had been farmland at one time, so conceivably, they could have been forgotten bulbs.
Once I got closer, though, I wasn’t so sure. The cup on them is very shallow, as you may be able to tell from the feature photo or this one:
I haven’t tried to find out what they are yet. If anyone has an idea, I’d love to hear it!
Tomorrow – Out on the Marsh!
*Update: I looked around online today (Google is our friend!) and it looks like it is a variety of jonquil,
now gone wild here. Very pretty!