Van Patten Woods 2

Continuing from yesterday – Sterling Lake at Van Patten Woods!

The Des Plaines River Trail runs to the east of the lake, and a trail forks off and follows the shoreline around the lake. There is little cover on the west side, and we were walking on a sunny day. There were various spots where you can get close to the water, and it was at one of these open spots we took a short stop.

We could see geese swimming, with mostly grown goslings of various ages. A couple of groups swam past us and collected off to our left. They proceeded to duck under to eat. I tried to get a shot of all of them ducking at once, but the feature is the closest I got. They looked funny with all their white tails in the air!

caption

You don’t normally see female red-winged blackbirds out and about.

There were a lot of birds around, from the ever-present blackbirds to goldfinches and swallows. Another surprise was in store as we came around a curve. There were a lot of dark birds flying out over the lake, quickly darting in and out, and we could soon see why.

This was the first full purple martin house I'd seen

This was the first full purple martin house I’d ever seen

I’d never seen purple martins before, and now there were tons! I tried to catch them flying, but (still learning the camera) I was on the wrong setting. I tried getting as close as I dared – I didn’t want to disturb them. This one wasn’t too bad.

One final stop lakeside gave me this image – I love the graduated colors!water

I don’t usually see such a dramatic color change. It’s almost what I saw. I wonder if it’s a combination of super deep water and the sunny day?

Again, it was the middle of the drought, and we could see where the water should have been higher. And further on, there were more obvious signs.

But that’s another post!

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