Predicting the fleeting bloom of spring ephemerals takes some work. A photographer friend had been scouting Messenger Woods in Lemont for the spring bloodroot bloom for a couple of weeks. Each bloom only lasts one day, so there’s only a small window of time to see them. It was with this goal that we met up last Monday. I wouldn’t describe myself as a flower photographer, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out into the woods on this beautiful spring day.

Among the flowers we did find, carpets of Virginia Bluebells and clusters of Spring Beauties, was this busy chipmunk. He was happily foraging, returning to this log time and again to eat.

Snacking chipmunk
Chipmunk

Along the creek with the Virginia Bluebells, migrating warblers flitted about picking insects out of the air.  They were on a stopover, fueling to continue their journey north.

Messenger Woods (53 of 120)
Forest floor carpeted with bluebells

Also along the creek, I also watched a pair of courting Northern Flickers, following each other from tree to tree, putting on a fabulous display of fanned, yellow, tail-feathers and raised, red crests in their aim to impress.

Courting Flickers
Northern Flickers

While searching the trees for the tiny warblers, I spied this sun-kissed ruffled edge of fur protruding from the bottom of a notch high up in a tree. A sleeping raccoon content to ignore me traipsing below.

raccoonIt’s hard to predict nature, despite our best efforts, and so we missed the bloodroot bloom. But what we found in the other blooming flowers and animals was even better.