Monday, April 30, 2012

Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve - 4.15.12 - Post 3

Okay, the next set of spottings...

Prairie Trillium (028 - 2012)
 So I first noticed Trillium in Tennessee.  I didn't think we had it up here, or at least I'd never noticed it before.  But hey, look!  The one in Tennessee was called a "Sweet Betsy".  This one is called a Prairie Trillium.  At first I couldn't see much of a difference between the two, but one of the websites I looked at made me look at the leaves closer.  These leaves are two distinct shades of green.  The Sweet Betsy has solid leaves.  It also has taller, thinner flowers than this.

Eastern Gray Squirrel (029 - 2012)
They're pretty ubiquitous around here, but I found this Eastern Gray Squirrel to be pretty adorable.

He's the original tree-hugger. :)

He didn't see me for a while , but you can see in this shot that he'd finally figured out what was going 'click-click-click'.

Which prompted him to do this.  Turn ninety degrees and hang out sideways for a good long time.  Strange little dude.  Cute... but strange.
Tiger Beetle (030 - 2012)

The arthropods and other cold-bloodeds started sticking their heads out in March when we had that freakish warm spell.  But for the most part, they've gone to ground as the temperatures have normalized.  This lone tiger beetle was the only 'crawly' I saw this trip.  There will be butterflies later, but this is the lone 'bug'.
Blue-Winged Teal (031 - 2012)

 Okay, this shot is *abysmal*, which is really disappointing.  It's a totally new species and from pictures I've googled they're cool looking water foul.  But at least now I know they're around and what I'm looking at when I see them.

It's a Blue-Winged Teal.  Teal, in this case is the type of bird it is.  Like we'd say 'duck' or 'goose' or 'grebe'.  So it's not in one of those groups.  It's in the group called 'teal.'

So, I know this shot is awful, but since I'm pretty sure I've never seen one before, I don't want to take the chance that I won't see another one.  So for now, I'll post the horrid shot, and hopefully I'll be able get better ones before migration is over.  (This was one I was glad I had the magnet board in the visitors' center to check the species on, because the picture is so incredibly bad.)

Creeping Buttercup (032 - 2012)
Okay, wild buttercups have a tendency to look a lot alike.  Now, there's a sign in the cultivated area that says these flowers are swamp buttercups, but when I Google that, I get a very different picture.  So I poked around for a while longer and what I think I actually found out in the 'wilds' was a Creeping Buttercup. If anyone is better with Illinois wildflowers and has a better idea, I'd love to hear it.  Thanks!
American Robin (033 - 2012)

So it occurred to me the other day that I'm ignoring some species because they're as common as dust around here.  Then I realized that my blog has been seen in 35% of all the countries in the world. Which means that for at least a few people, what's common to me probably isn't so common to them.

One of the things I haven't been blogging and counting are what I think of as 'the six second grade birds.'  See, when I was in 2nd grade (about 7 years old) we had to learn to identify the 6 birds we were most likely to see wild in Northern Illinois: sparrows (and they were all just lumped together, but I think mostly we saw pictures of house sparrows), robins, crows, cardinals, mallard ducks and Canada geese.  So to me, these things are just everywhere and not that 'special'.  But I should probably get them in here if I want to have as complete a record of what's around here as I can get.

Also fair to note, apparently the American maturity rate has sunk to about eleven years old and gotten stuck there long enough that they renamed this bird since I was in 2nd grade.  We learned it as the "Robin Red-Breast".  You know like the White-Breasted Nuthatch from the last post?  Well, apparently the word 'breast' is now too controversial so it's now called the "American Robin."  Dear school children and those who act like them over the name of a bird... Grow up. 

Red-Breasted Woodpecker (034 - 2012)
So from the very common to the quite uncommon.  I know I saw one last year, but that was it.  I saw one.  All year.

And apparently I never got it blogged, which makes it new for the count. :)

This is a male Red-Breasted Woodpecker.
Possibly one of the strangest names ever for a bird.

Now, given, Red-Headed Woodpecker was already taken.  But still, look at that first picture.  Do you see any red on his breast?  And it's not just a weird specimen; when you check on line, the notably red part of this bird is his head.  His chest is mostly white with maybe a bit of a rose blush.  I totally don't understand how this bird got the name he did.  (On the flipside, at least he's rare enough that he didn't have to undergo a name change to avoid making school kids giggle like crazy every time he came up in conversation.)

In this shot you can see that he has a bit of blush around his eyes and red around his beak... but still no red breast.

Okay, that's it for this post.  More sightings tomorrow.

Total Identified Species Sited for the Year: 34
Total Unidentified Species Sited for the Year: 1
Total New Species: 18

Prairie Trillium*
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Tiger Beetle
Blue-Winged Teal*
Creeping Buttercup*
American Robin
Red-Breasted Woodpecker*

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