This is now my 5th year of heading to Messenger Woods Forest Preserve (Homer Glen, IL) in early May. Virginia Bluebells and Trillium are usually in abundance by the first weekend in May, although there have been a few “dud” years when that did not hold true. Last year’s freakish early Spring had the bluebells and trillium already done and fading by early May. A few years before that, a drought had prevented much of the wildflower bloom.
Spring this year has felt a few weeks late, so I wasn’t sure if anything would be blooming yet but I put my tall rubber boots on and trodded into the woods with my camera bag. The paths I had taken previously to the main bluebell grove were completely impassable due to a number of tall oaks being blown down from last year’s storms, so I had to start out on the main trail and backtrack along the creek bed to reach them.
Fortunately, the creek bed was relatively dry and easy to walk without leaving an impact. With delicate wildflower groves like this, one should be careful not to trample the plants or “leave a trace” with muddy footprints.
The Mayapples were also growing quite well. Love those cute little “umbrellas” in early Spring.
Lots of woodpeckers and warblers in the woods today as well, but I didn’t bring my long telephoto lens, so had to settle for just listening to them and watching them with binoculars.
Spring has now officially “sprung” here in Chicago!