Plum, Serviceberry and Water Striders

Spring is happening everywhere you look now.  I took so many pictures this weekend I will try to put them in two different posts.


The American plum tree is blooming now and the fragrance is wonderful.  This is a great native tree to attract insects and birds, and a great boost to the ecosystem.  The down side is that it suckers a lot.  But we just mow over the new shoots in the lawn or clip them back.  The fruit has sour skin, but tastes good inside.


Red admiral butterfly on plum blossoms.


Amelanchier laevis, Allegheny serviceberry. This is a small tree, but a favorite in our yard.  If we don’t eat the small June berries the birds will, so they are never a mess.  Serviceberries like partial shade.  I wish more people in our neighborhood had this lovely tree, but the nurseries don’t do much with native shrubs.  We got this at Possibility Place in Monee when it was less than 2 feet tall.


We also have three small Regent’s serviceberry cultivars on the west side of the house.  They should not get over 6 feet, but they are not quite 3 feet yet.


Close-up of Regent’s serviceberry blossoms.


Yesterday we went to the Palos Forest Preserve at Cap Sauers Holdings, where I have been volunteering with a team to remove invasive honeysuckle.  I wanted to show Dan where we have been working, so we came in on the trail and then headed up a hill off the path.


It was a beautiful morning and we came to this stream where we listened to the morning bird noises and observed the flowing water.  All the shrubs with green leaves are the honeysuckle bushes that we are in the process of removing to open up the forest to more sunlight and native species.


The trees, which have not quite leafed out yet, were reflected in the stream.


We noticed a lot of water striders in the water, and they mostly seemed to be in the process of mating.  I think I sometimes call them pond skimmers.


Here is a closer look.  There are two of them here and you can see the extra legs….


We wandered down a horse trail we found that was sometimes very muddy.


This looked like a cozy hollow log for some animal.


Can you see the moth?


We often stopped to look at huge old trees.


Soon these branches will be filled with leaves.

If I have time today I will put out another post with all the wildflowers and birds I saw this weekend!  Happy Easter!

Lake Katherine May Sightings

After the rain it turned into a beautiful afternoon and I took a leisurely stroll around Lake Katherine.

Eastern Wood Pewee Cropped 2

I believe this is an eastern wood-pewee.  I often hear the pee-a-wee whistling call, but almost never see the bird.

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Tadpoles in the ephemeral wetlands.  The pond was full and surrounding grass area was very wet.

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A water strider walking on water.  Apparently its legs are covered with microscopic hairs which trap air, helping it to float.

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Yellow buckeye tree

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It looks like a honeybee on the yellow buckeye flower.

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I think this is a song sparrow that I must have disturbed near a nest.  It chirped a long time until I walked away.  It looks like it has a grub or something for a baby bird.

Happy Mother’s Day!