This is a log of nature observations for my neighborhood south of West Junior High. Want to share your observations? See below. Or start your own nature notebook at home.
- May 26–3 young hawks are still in the nesting tree, but one has moved to a branch a foot or so above the nest.
- May 26–Purple finches in the neighborhood.
- May 26–Some mulberries are ripe (and tasty)!
- May 25–Grackle fusses persistently at neighbor’s cat. Probably young grackles close by.
- May 23–Spotted a redtail hawk’s nest on Orchards Golf Course. Binoculars show 3 large young birds with giant eyes. Read this about ID’ing juvenile birds.
- May 22–A broken robin’s egg on the sidewalk. A different nest has unhatched robin’s eggs.
- May 10–Baltimore Oriole in our Sycamore tree. First one I’ve seen here in a few years.
- May 7–Sycamore trees are dropping seeds, too.
- May 5–Cottonwood trees are dropping their white fuzzy seeds. Max calls this “snow”.
- May 5–Mulberry trees are setting their fruit. In June, these messy purple berries will make a tasty treat for birds and people. (Note: Taste varies from tree to tree. If you’ve had a bad-tasting berry, try again from a different tree. And read this short blog.)
- May 5–The little blue herons have definitely returned to their regular nesting site. Why do they nest in our so-suburban neighborhood?
- May 2–Honeysuckle shrubs are blooming, releasing their sweet-smelling fragrance. Take a walk at night and see if you can tell when you pass one. (Honeysuckles are a problem plant, but the nectar smells and tastes sweet.)
- April 30–Spotted a heron in our neighborhood. Looks like this will be the 3rd year for them to nest here.
- April 30–Black locust trees are full of blossoms. Stand under one and smell the sweetness!
- April 26–Yards, sidewalks, and streets are filled with the “helicopter” seeds of maple trees, alsa called “keys” and “samaras”. Flowers from oak trees also abound.
- April 15–About an hour after sunset, one lone firefly is flashing
- April 12–White redbuds are blooming. Lilacs are close. Spotted some poison ivy, sigh….
- April 10–Max is seeing lots of “snow butterflies”, actually spring azures. This is a sign of spring.
- April 8–Heard first-of-year thrasher in the neighborhood. Their songs come in pairs. Listen here.
- April 6–For the first time ever, heard a frog in our neighborhood. At sunset, after an evening of rain. I think it was a western chorus frog.
- April 5–Our first real spring thunderstorm? Occurs soon after dawn. A couple cardinals keep singing through the storm.
- April 4–Redbuds are budding. Elm tree seeds are dangling. (See elm tree seeds and other tree seeds and flowers in this blog about neighborhood nature in Chicago.)
- April 4–Kevin spots butterflies in our backyard!
- April 2–Forsythia and vinca are in full bloom; the invasive Japanese honeysuckle is leafing out.
- April 1–Turkey vultures have been back for several days. Watch for them soaring, with wings in a V-shape. Some birders say it’s not spring until the vultures return.
- March 30–Forsythias are budding yellow
- Mar 13–Grackles have returned! As spring progresses, watch for lots of male grackles chasing a single female from tree to tree
- Mar 12–Sandy thinks she hears a catbird mew
- Mar 12–Some vinca is blooming, and daffodils are budding
- Mar 7–Max spots a bumble bee and earthworms
- Mar 7–Kevin finds crocuses blooming under our dogwood trees
- Mar 6–Kevin spots a bat flying, around sunset
- Mar 5–Sandy sees gnat-like bugs flying about
- About Mar 4–David spots a red fox running through his backyard, daytime
- Early Mar–Sandy hears lots of bird sounds, including blue jays, crows, robins, cardinals, flickers, red bellied woodpeckers, juncos, tufted titmice, chickadees
- Early Mar–Sandy hears, then sees, hundreds of snow geese flying overhead. Looks like they’re heading for a stopover on Clinton Lake on their way north.
- Feb 10–Sandy hears a fox barking, around 9 p.m. Sounds like this
- Jan and Feb–After multiple snows, Sandy sees alleged fox tracks in her yard and the yards of neighbors Fox tracks in the snow may look like this
Want to share your observations? Add a comment or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will add to the log. Send first name, age (if you’d like), observation, and your location in relation to a public school.
Or, start your own nature notebook at home, with your family. Sometimes hard to keep at it, but lots of fun to look back at previous years to see if events are happening earlier or later. We got a big kick out of observing our first-of-year bat on the same day two years in a row.