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ChicagoNatureNOW! ALERT05-19-2017

ChicagoNatureNOW! ALERT
05-19-2017

  • Author: Mike MacDonald
  • Date Posted: May 18, 2017
  • Category:

Chicago Nature Now! Alert
May 19, 2017

“Chicago nature info and news to help you discover the region’s
finest natural wonders and to plan your Chicago nature trip.”

 

Here’s what’s happening in Chicago nature, right now!

 

THE PRAIRIES BEGIN TO FLOWER AS MANY WOODLANDS FADE.

THANK YOU TO MY SCOUTS: First of all, I’d like to thank our scouts, Kathy Deets and Zeke Wei, for venturing out to the farthest preserves to selflessly share this valuable information with the people of the Chicago region! Kathy drove to Wisconsin and then to Zion to file reports on Chiwaukee Prairie and Illinois Beach Nature Preserve. And Zeke went all the way out past Kankakee to report on Pembroke Savanna. This week, we scouted a total a remarkable eleven preserves and, yet, we’re still four short of what we needed. If you find this free website useful, please help us scout or give a donation to keep it running.

WOODLAND HIGHLIGHTS: Wild geranium and wild hyacinth are putting on the woodland show of the week. This is why I recommend the savanna at Wolf Road Prairie and Oldfield Oaks, which is not officially featured here. Check out the bluff trail at Black Partridge Woods for geranium, phlox, and (if you look carefully) shooting star. And while you’re at these preserves,. look for delicate blooms of starry false Solomon’s seal, patches of red trillium, and the green foliage of mayapple, wild ginger, and skunk cabbage.

PRAIRIE HIGHLIGHTS: Chiwaukee Prairie in a dream with its breathtaking display of shooting star! It’s definitely worth the drive. Alongside the shooting star, you’ll find Look for the yellow blooms of wood betony, hoary puccoon, and golden Alexander. Experience the blues with birdfoot violet and blue-eyed grass. And watch for shooting stars of white and pink.

 

SCOUTING NEEDS through Thursday, May 25:

If you’d like to scout the preserves for us, please take several quick pictures of the scene to give us an idea of the experience along with some closer shots of the flowers with their leaves.

 

Plan your Chicago nature trip. Here are the best preserves for lush and colorful displays of springtime flowers:

Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester: Wild hyacinth is blooming in profusion in the savanna. Just park at the kiosk and take the sidewalk(s).

Black Partridge Woods in Lemont: Take the trail atop the bluffs for geranium, phlox, and (if you look carefully) shooting star.

Oldfield Oaks in Darien: This is not a ChicagoNatureNOW! preserve, but it’s now putting on a show of geranium and wild hyacinth in the northwest portion of the preserve.

Chiwaukee Prairie in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin: The display of shooting stars is a show to behold. And it’s happening right now! Alongside the shooting stars, look for birdfoot violet, hoary puccoon, wood betony, and yellow star grass. You may even find some gorgeous wild lupine. While you’re visiting this preserve, it’s worth a trip to Illinois Beach Nature Preserve in Zion, which is getting ready to explode.

THESE PRESERVES ARE PROBABLY STILL GOOD, but didn’t have enough scouts to get to them:

Fermilab Prairie (and woodland) in Batavia: UNSCOUTED. Last week’s report: The prairie offers some nice patches of wood betony, but the woodland adjacent to the prairie is the place to visit at Fermilab. There, you will find woodland phlox throughout. The display of large-flowered trillium is beautiful. And you’ll also find patches of red trillium, bellwort, and lots of mayapples with their hidden white flowers that smell like gardenia.

Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin: UNSCOUTED. Last week’s report: There is a fine display of shooting star covers the northern face of the northeast kame. A walk east along the trail to find a beautiful patch of blue-eyed grass. The yellows of wood betony and golden Alexander are also flowering in the open prairie. Mayapple and skunk cabbage can be found in and around the canopy of the oak savanna.

Shoe Factory Road Prairie in Hoffman Estates: UNSCOUTED. Last week’s report: This small hill prairie has several stunning blooms, right now, including blue-eyed grass, and thick patches of wood betony, hoary puccoon, birdfoot violet, and hoary puccoon. Flowering mayapples are located on the eastern slope.

 

PHOTO SECTION

Wild Hyacinth

 

Wild hyacinth at Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Illinois.*

Wild hyacinth at Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Illinois.*

 

Each May, wild hyacinths bloom in the oak savanna at Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Illinois.*

Each May, wild hyacinths bloom in the oak savanna at Wolf Road Prairie in Westchester, Illinois.*

Wild hyacinths bloom in abundance at Oldfield Oaks in Darien.*

Wild hyacinths bloom in abundance at Oldfield Oaks in Darien.*

Shooting Star

Shooting stars

 

May at Chiwaukee Prairie offers a breathtaking display of shooting stars.*

May at Chiwaukee Prairie offers a breathtaking display of shooting stars.*

 

Springtime wildflowers bloom in profusion at Chiwaukee Prairie in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.*

Springtime wildflowers bloom in profusion at Chiwaukee Prairie in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.* Here, we can see shooting star, wood betony, hoary puccoon, and yellow star grass.

 

Shooting stars and woodland phlox at Black Partridge Woods in Lemont, Illinois

Shooting stars and woodland phlox at Black Partridge Woods in Lemont, Illinois.”

Woodland Phlox 

In May, woodland phlox covers the bluffs at Black Partridge Woods.*

Woodland phlox covers the bluffs at Black Partridge Woods. They can also be found at the other featured woodlands.*

Wild Geranium

May brings glorious displays of wild geranium to Oldfield Oaks in Darien, Illinois, part of Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.*

This week’s glorious display of wild geranium at Oldfield Oaks in Darien, Illinois.

 

You can find wild geranium at all featured woodlands. Here, at Black Partridge Woods, the pink blooms float above its star-shaped foliage.*

You can find wild geranium at all featured woodlands. Here, at Black Partridge Woods, the pink blooms float above its star-shaped foliage.*

Common Blue-eyed Grass

Common blue-eyed grass

Find this gorgeous flower in the prairies and savannas.

 

Skunk Cabbage

It's springtime at Pilcher Park and sunlight shines through the enormous fanning foliage of skunk cabbage which, if broken, releases a strong scent reminiscent of skunk, though sweeter and not nearly as overpowering. If you’re someone who, like me, finds the powerful essence of skunk to be an invigorating and life-affirming experience, the skunk inside the cabbage will definitely let you down.*

It’s springtime at Pilcher Park and sunlight shines through the enormous fanning foliage of skunk cabbage which, if broken, releases a strong scent reminiscent of skunk, though sweeter and not nearly as overpowering. If you’re someone who, like me, finds the powerful essence of skunk to be an invigorating and life-affirming experience, the skunk inside the cabbage will definitely let you down.*

 

* 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

 

© 2017, Mike MacDonald. All rights reserved.