Chicago Nature Now! Alert
June 28, 2018
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Here’s what’s happening in Chicago nature:
Last week’s top 3 preserves still have very good blooms at Belmont Prairie, Bluff Spring Fen, and Somme Prairie Grove. Actually throughout the summer, these places have non-stop shows of different wildflowers and plants. Pale purple coneflower may have just passed the peak at these preserves but is still good for visit. The show is turning to leadplant, prairie coreopsis, New Jersey tea, and all kinds of milkweeds. Joining the top group for this week is Miller Woods. According to last year’s record, the precious sand savanna can be covered with New Jersey tea right before July 4th time frame.
PLAN YOUR CHICAGO NATURE TRIP THIS WEEKEND
Belmont Prairie in Downers Grove: If you followed our alert last week to visit this intimate remnant prairie that’s nestled within a quiet neighborhood of Downers Grove, I bet you were not disappointed. It is really a good experience of the beautiful symphony of color and texture. This week, the grand display of pale purple coneflower is still going on, but may have just passed peak. The blue bloom of scurfy pea is still at peak, blended with New Jersey tea, black-eyed Susan, and butterfly milkweed.
Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin: Foxglove beardtongue and large shows of pale purple coneflower should have passed the peak. Taking the stage now should be leadplant in large coverage at the central prairie and kames. You should be able to find large quantities of purplish common milkweed and patches of orange butterfly weed. One of the kames at the center of the preserve should have some good quantity of yellow prairie coreopsis.
Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook: There are so many different species of colorful flowers in bloom, right now. It’s like taking a fun course in biology. Various milkweeds, purplish common milkweed, orange butterfly weed, and purple milkweed, have just started to bloom. They will be awesome next week at this restored preserve. They are good food sources for butterfly and bees, so you can find lots of them over here. Other flowers that are also blooming here include leadplant, prairie sundrop, foxglove beardtongue, white wild indigo. Many of the special species are not in large coverage, but it is really fun to find them in the preserve.
Shoe Factory Road Prairie is a nice place to visit, this week, if you’re in the neighborhood, which happens to be pretty close to Bluff Spring Fen. This or next week, yellow prairie coreopsis may start to bloom in large coverage in the prairie. Just outside the fence, there is good display of pale purple coneflower and black-eyed Susan on the slope.
Miller Woods (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) in Gary, Indiana was not scouted this week. According to our record last year, this precious sand savanna should be covered with large quantities of white and tender New Jersey tea right before July 4th. If it happens again this year as nature tends to repeat every year, it will be fantastic.
COMING SOON: PURPLE PRAIRIE CLOVER
Somme Prairie Grove
Miraculous Porcupine Grass and Its Spinning Seed!
Illinois Beach Nature Preserve
Pasture Rose at Illinois Beach Nature Preserve & Bluff Spring Fen
Bluff Spring Fen
Shoe Factory Road Prairie
* Photo is representational and was not recorded this year. Bloom times vary from year to year.
SCOUTING NEEDS for my next report on Thursday, July 6 (in rough order of urgency):
- Somme Prairie Grove: Status of leadplant and other blooms, including rattlesnake master.
- Miller Woods: Status of New Jersey tea.
- Bluff Spring Fen: Status of leadplant, prairie coreopsis, pale purple coneflowers, and purple prairie clover.
- Shoe Factory Road Prairie: Status of prairie coreopsis, leadplant, purple prairie clover, and rattlesnake master.
- Illinois Beach Nature Preserve: Status of butterfly weed, etc.
- Powderhorn Prairie: Status including eastern prickly pear cactus.
- Belmont Prairie: Status of pale purple coneflower, scurfy pea, and butterfly weed
- Fermilab Prairie: General status.
- Wolf Road Prairie: General status.
- Middlefork Savanna: General status.
If you’d like to help your neighbors discover national-park quality natural events around our homes, then become an official scout. Or, you can help by just sending us pictures and a text description from your visit. Another way is to post your pictures to Instagram using these essential hashtags: #ChicagoNatureNow and #NameOfPreserve.
© 2018, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.