Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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July 23, 2014
North Star State of Mind

As a researcher I fantasize about what the world would be like if I could stroll up to a field site and have all the species present step out in single-file fashion, nod their beak, snout or what have you, and slowly saunter back into the wilderness.

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July 3, 2012
Black-Crowned Night Herons Fledging at Nature Boardwalk

A black-crowned night heron fledgling rests between attempts at flight.

The black-crowned night herons are always a wonderful sight at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Heron chicks have been heard in the area since early May. Finally, now, a number of them are trying to figure out how to fly.

June 26, 2012
Nature Boardwalk Through the Seasons

Sunday marked the second anniversary of Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Celebrate two years of growth in the urban oasis with these time-lapse photos showing the landscape in spring, summer, fall and winter.

June 22, 2012
Plant of the Week: Butterfly Milkweed

This beautiful prairie wildflower has weathered the recent drought well at Nature Boardwalk. Butterfly milkweed is a tuberous, rooted perennial. It grows in clumps to 1–3 feet tall and features clusters of bright orange to yellow-orange flowers atop upright to reclining, hairy stems with narrow, lance-shaped leaves.

June 15, 2012
Snapping Turtle Yearlings at Nature Boardwalk

Lincoln Park Zoo biologists have been tracking the movement of a snapping turtle that was released into the pond this March.

June 12, 2012
Plant of the Week: Lanceleaf Coreopsis

 
As if summoned by royal decree, Coreopsis lanceolata has rapidly mustered its lances like shining knights circling the round table of the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Its shimmering, yellow, daisy-like flowers currently dominate the site and will dazzle through early summer.

June 4, 2012
Red-Winged Blackbirds Fledging at Nature Boardwalk

Breeding season is upon us at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. Baby snapping turtles have been spotted, adult dragonflies are often seen flying in tandem and numerous swallow species, sparrows, and, of course, black-crowned night herons are nesting in or around the area.

One of the more recognizable bird species nesting at Nature Boardwalk this year is the red-winged blackbird. The males of this species are easily identified by the red shoulder patches on their wings while the females are more the color of this fledgling I spotted on Nature Boardwalk’s southwest side.

May 31, 2012
Plant of the Week: Golden Alexanders

 
Golden alexanders, found in sunny locations throughout the Nature Boardwalk site, is a native perennial prevalent in damp woods and meadows, thickets, glades and prairies. It features flat-topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers bunched atop stems. Both basal (base of the stem) and stem leaves are compound biternate (divided in three) with toothed leaflets.

May 25, 2012
A Sora Stops Off

The sora is a secretive water bird that often spends its time in tall vegetation in freshwater marshes and wetlands. This individual was first spotted at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo in the middle of March, about two weeks earlier than wildlife biologists saw one in 2011. The warmer winter this year could be a potential reason why this member of the Rallidae family was spotted sooner than expected.

April 24, 2012
False Indigo Flourishing at Nature Boardwalk

Prairie and native plants are now emerging for the season at Nature Boardwalk. One of these, false indigo (Babtisia australis), looks to be even more robust this year.

Like most of the prairie plants with more of their biomass below ground, false indigo spends its first few years developing a substantial root system before showing off significant above-ground growth.

April 6, 2012
Where Are the Bunnies?
 
Did it seem like there were fewer cottontail rabbits around this winter than there were a few years ago? It certainly seemed that way to me. Rabbits are known to have cyclic populations, reproducing rapidly, increasing to enormous densities and then crashing to a low before rising yet again.
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