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Chicago Nature Now! Alert
June 7, 2018

“Plan the best Chicago outdoor getaways and nature walks with Chicago nature news and info that helps you discover the region’s finest natural wonders.”

 

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This week’s highlights to help you plan a Chicago outdoor adventure or nature walk this weekend:

The event of the week is taking place at  Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, where sand coreopsis is blooming in golden numbers in the prairie near the lake, and where wild lupine, hairy puccoon, and downy phlox add color to the understory of the black oak savanna. Miller Woods, Tolleston Dunes, and West Beach are still worth visiting for wildflowers like wild lupinehairy puccoon, and it’s slightly more golden brother hoary puccoon. And get over to Fermilab Prairie and Wolf Road Prairie to see Ohio spiderwort. But, the purple flowers melt in the heat of day. So, get there before noon or you’ll miss it. See my story about spiderwort.

 

WHERE TO GO THIS WEEKEND FOR A CHICAGO OUTDOOR GETAWAY OR NATURE WALK:

Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion is putting on a big show of sand coreopsis in the sand prairie, and wild lupine, hairy puccoon, hoary puccoon, and downy phlox can be found under the canopy of the savanna. In the prairie, you’ll also find sandwort and New Jersey tea.

Miller Woods is still beautiful this week with wild lupine mixed in with great amounts hoary puccoon and hairy puccoon. While you’re there, make your way to see wonderful plants to Tolleston Dunes and West Beach.

Fermilab Prairie in Batavia has been fully burned, leaving the ground free of last year’s growth. You can really see the flowers. Right now, come to see a wonderful blue display of Ohio spiderwort as it combines with white wild indigo and the big leaves of prairie dock and compass plant.

Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester is offering a nice display of spiderwort, but get there early before they melt.

Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook is rated as “Go, if you’re in the neighborhood.” The preserve currently offers a nice display of blue flag iris in the wetland and a sprinkling of other flowers throughout the preserve.

 

PHOTO SECTION

Various Wildflowers in Our Sandy Preserves

Biodiversity is about the many, not the few. Here, it’s springtime in the savanna, where blue lupines share precious space with hoary puccoon. But, as the season advances, both will fade, making room for an array of other species, in a cycle where each has its time in the sun and then returns to the soil.*

Biodiversity is about the many, not the few. Here at Illinois Beach Nature Preserve, it’s springtime in the savanna, where blue lupines share precious space with hoary puccoon. This kind of display is still about a week away at this preserve.*

 

 

Atop this spring dune thrives wild lupine at Miller Woods Nature Preserve, part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Gary, Indiana.*

Last week, this was the scene at Miller Woods Nature Preserve. This week, the lupines are fading, but given the other species of wildflowers in bloom, it’s worth the trip..

 

In a celebration of life, blooms of sand coreopsis spread with golden joy along the banks of the Dead River at Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion, Illinois.*

In a celebration of life, blooms of sand coreopsis spread with golden joy along the banks of the Dead River at Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion, Illinois.*

Deer Fawns

Mother white-tailed deer and her fawn at Miller Woods Nature Preserve, part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Gary, Indiana.

This is the time of year to spot deer fawns. I’ve already seen two. Last week, I made this shot at Miller Woods Nature Preserve. This week, I saw a mother and her fawn at Fermilab Prairie.

 

Somme Prairie Grove

A phalanx of bue flag iris towers over the spring wetland at Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook, Illinois*

A phalanx of blue flag iris towers over the spring wetland at Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook, Illinois*

The purple flowers of American vetch dot the savanna at Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook.

This is the scene from last year, as purple flowers of American vetch dot the open savanna at Somme Prairie Grove in Northbrook.*

Ohio Spiderwort

Ohio spiderwort in the morning light at Belmont Prairie in Downers Grove, Illinois.

Ohio spiderwort comes to life in the morning light, but soon fades to a liquid in the heat of the day. To see this remarkable plant in bloom, you must visit in the morning hours. If you show up late in the day, you’ll find buds with purple liquid inside. Read more about spiderwort by clicking here.

The Wonderfully Large Leaves of Compass Plant & Prairie Dock

These are the large leaves of the prairie's most iconic plants. The heart-shaped leaf is that of prairie dock, and the long-lobed leaf is from a cousin called compass plant.

These are the large leaves of the prairie’s most iconic plants. The heart-shaped leaf is that of prairie dock, and the long-lobed leaf is from a cousin called compass plant.

 

* Photo is representational and was not recorded this year. Bloom times vary from year to year.

 

If you find this website of Chicago nature information useful, please consider donating or purchasing my nationally-acclaimed book that celebrates all of the preserves featured on this website.

—Mike

 

© 2018, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.

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