Day Two Hundred Ninety-six

Zoom!

Today, my daughter and I headed to the Bartel Grassland, part of the Tinley Creek Region of the Cook County Forest Preserve. This grassland, which I’ve visited often, only has a small parking area and mowed grass paths, but it’s a great spot to see birds and wildflowers, including a few goldenrod plants still hanging on to their color.

Bartel Grassland2I’ve been saving up for a new telephoto lens, and it came today. It’s not an expensive lens as these things go, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it will help the wildlife shots on my walks. As soon as we parked at the grassland, we saw a hawk on the telephone/power lines along the road and gave the new lens a try.Hawk airOn our way home after the walk, a hawk swooped in front of our car towards the corner of a golf course, and we had a better chance to test the new telephoto lens. We pulled into the drugstore parking lot along the edge of the golf course, hoping to spot the hawk. In a nearby pine tree, we found the it–and its prey!Hawk treeI didn’t realize we’d be documenting carnage in the suburbs on the first day with my new lens!

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Day One Hundred Sixty-one

That’s One Big Bird of Prey!

Immediately after parking the car, I saw the largest hawk that I have ever seen.  It was sitting near the top of a tall, dead tree on the edge of a forested area.  The hawk was obviously looking over the open field below and paid no attention to me alternately looking at him through binoculars and a camera.

My son and I walked today at the Hickory Creek Preserve of the Will County Forest Preserve in Mokena, Illinois.  This  part of the preserve has an open rolling prairie near the main parking lot surrounded by thick forested areas.  The main trail runs right through both the prairie and the forest.

Hickory CreekWe headed first back towards the entrance to the preserve.  While walking, we had a deer cross directly in front of us and then watch us closely from the woods along the trail.  Once we had a look around, we turned back towards the parking lot again, to head deeper into the preserve.

I noticed that the hawk had left his perch in the tree.  He was in the field near the trail!  As we walked up, he flew off.  He seemed even bigger as he took off!

After we walked across the field and through the woods and back, I noticed that the hawk was back at his perch surveying the field as we got into the car.

Good day, good walk!