Mayslake Miscellany

by Carl Strang

A highlight at Mayslake Forest Preserve this year was a successful red-tailed hawk nest. The single fledgling stuck around the mansion grounds and prairie area for several weeks, frequently making its presence known with high-pitched calls (“feed me!”) or perch choice on favored high points.

The bird has been absent from that area in recent days. We wish it well.

One day in mid-August there was much activity by black-capped chickadees and blue-gray gnatcatchers among the goldenrods and Queen Anne’s lace.

Their small size and acrobatic ability allows them to exploit a temporary abundance of insects in such places. I suspect the gnatcatchers were migrants. Already the season is turning.

The red-colored saddlebags dragonflies have vanished, after being a daily presence for the early part of the season.

Like this male, I suspect that all or most were Carolina saddlebags. I wasn’t the only observer in northeast Illinois seeing more of these than usual. That’s the way it is with insects. A species has an outbreak year, for reasons we often don’t understand, then usually drops back to its typical low level the following year.

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