Vertebrate Notes

by Carl Strang

Today I have a few observations on vertebrate animals to report from Mayslake Forest Preserve. The first was a personal nostalgia trip as I watched a green heron foraging in the stream corridor marsh.

While green herons sometimes wade, they more often hunt from a perch.

This brought back childhood memories of watching green herons hunt from the piers at Lake Maxinkuckee in north central Indiana.

Here the heron takes aim at a tadpole or other small animal.

Nearby, at May’s Lake, I found a log protruding from the water a few feet offshore that has become a marking station for a mink.

The mink at Mayslake typically travel in the water, seldom leaving tracks on shore, so such depositions of scats are the best clue to their presence.

In recent days we have been hearing the familiar incessant complaints of a fledgling red-tailed hawk.

It frequently perches in the top of a tree.

This probably is an offspring of the same pair that nested on Mayslake preserve last year. They decided to nest elsewhere this spring, but frequent sightings hinted that their nest was nearby, and the arrival of this youngster supports that idea.

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