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.