I take the yellow trail towards the shelter (one of only a few remaining in the Cook County Forest Preserves). False Solomon seal berries are all along the trail. Speckled red on white and solid deep red berries are clustered near the forest floor.
As I continue on the trail, a bit of bright red catches my eye. There are Cardinal Flowers in a field of Orange Jewel Weed. I step off the trail and inspect a little closer.
Even though this summer wildflower is not rare, it is very rare that I actually can find it.
I am exceedingly happy.
Just as I am deep in a cardinal spell, I hear a “click, click, chip, chip”. I turn my head to see what the sound is and I realize that I am standing in a field of humming birds!
Keeping a safe distance, my tiny little camera could not keep up with their quickness. Hover – sprint – hover – sprint, my own eyes could hardly keep up. I did catch one resting on a distant branch. He is circled in red. This is what they like…
Orange jewel weed grows in moist soil and so does cardinal flower. I’m guessing the small field I was in was once a pond or maybe there is one near by feeding the soil with water. No doubt the humming birds were storing up on fuel for the long trip south.
I am blessed for having encountered them along my hike at Swallow Cliff.