This is the 47th of 50 Days of Chicago Nature. Read previous posts here.
Jeff Skrentny started the year with a stunning goal--to identify 2,500 living things in Cook County: plants, birds, insects, mushrooms, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, arachnids, mollusks and even protozoa. Last year all observers in Cook County had 2,472 observations, according to a piece Dale Bowman wrote in the Sun-Times in late February. The 2,500 goal is a lofty one, to say the least.
'I'm only about one-third of the way to my stated goal," Jeff wrote last week on Facebook. "It is going to be a pretty big stretch goal."
Jeff is at 828 peer-reviewed observations via the iNaturalist mobile app. Kingdom Plantae has the most sightings with 420. Next comes Class Aves with 220.
"I am very proud of my 220 documented bird species, but I will likely only add 30 to 40 more if I am VERY lucky," Jeff wrote.
One of the more surprising finds was a Painted Bunting, generally a bird of the southern United States, in the West Ridge neighborhood on May 2. "A one-day wonder," Jeff calls it, as the Painted Bunting disappeared after that day.
Jeff notes the quest has benefited from tips from an array of friends.
Says Jeff, "One of my best finds of the year, Dwarf Periodical Cicada, was seen thanks to a friend letting me know she had them in her yard. Best bug of the year thus far."