Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was flying around my coneflower bed while I was lopping out the mulberry starts.


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Sprinkler Fun



Back on July 11th, I turned the sprinkler on for the birds to play in. We have had relentless heat and after an extremely wet June, we have had no rain. Sometimes I put it so it is going over the little wildlife pond I built, but today I just put it on the patio.

I had quite the pool party!


  • Chipping Sparrows especially loved it
  • Eastern Wood Pewee
  • American Robins – 3 immatures with their parents
  • Mourning Doves
  • Ruby Throated Hummingbirds
  • European starlings – immature
  • Brown Thrasher – immature


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Suet Lover

The male cardinal decided he would make like a nuthatch and started visiting the suet feeder. I’m sure he is feeding young ones, but it was interesting to watch this behavior that I had not noticed before this summer. Of course, I don’t usually leave suet out during the summer, but my sister gave me some extras of hers.


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Indiana Dunes National Park

Categories: Birding, Butterflies, Hiking, Indiana Dunes National Park, Lake Michigan, Spring | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Squabble in the Trees

Two Great Crested Flycatchers were having a squabble with the House Sparrows this afternoon. Not sure what the problem was, but I got a fairly good picture of one through the window.



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Amphibian Invasion

I just went out to check the mailbox and noticed quite a bit of movement on our gravel road and along the verges. There were possibly hundreds of these baby American toads. The first picture is horrible and for size reference only  taken blindly with my iPhone due to the sunlight.

We had between 2 and 4 inches of rain yesterday most of it within a 2 1/2 hour timeframe. I don’t know if this had anything to do with the migration. We have had a terribly wet and hot spring and most of the farmers and a lot of the gardeners do not have much planted.

This second shot is not great, but if you enlarge it, you can see the toad in the middle of the picture. Mind you – this is tiny gravel. Those are clover leaves in the middle bottom of the picture.

I am terribly behind on my blogposts. I have no excuse since I received a new Surface Go for Christmas. Getting the pictures to the blog is sometimes the hard part. I put them on with the iPhone, then save the draft and then get on the Surface. Some day, I’ll get the hang of it.

For now, get outside when you can and enjoy!!!!!



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Harbinger of Spring

I grew up knowing it as Salt and Pepper (Erigenia bulbosa). Beautiful day Saturday at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. Great place for both flowers and birds. And of course, history!

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Looking to the East

Sunset’s glow on the eastern woodlot.

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This morning’s low was  -14 degrees with a windchill of -40 degrees at 8:30. The roads were clear, but it was brutal here in central Indiana. Even the colleges were closed for the day. Our high was -2 around 5:30 this afternoon.

SAC and I are always watching our feeder birds, as are our indoor cats. SAC spotted these three. (Notice the Mourning Dove photobombing in one pic?)


Why are they here? We had seen one resident robin several times this winter, but had no idea we had three. I wonder how many more are lurking in the spruce windbreak or the woodlot!?

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First Day Hike – 2019

Sometimes it is hard, as introverts, to go on a hike with a group of people. Daughter and I decided to go to Cecil M. Hardin (Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area) for our 2019 First Day Hike. They were having a hike to the former site of the town Portland Mills, and since SAC is an historian, she thought it sounded fascinating. We found out about this one almost too late and we arrived at the gatehouse 3 minutes late. But they left a marker board as to where we needed to go – Back out to the highway the way we came!

Driving the backroads for awhile and then came to a complete stop with 20 or 30 cars in front of us. As the line slowly snaked to the designated parking area, I noticed another long line of cars on a short road to our right. I looked at daughter and she looked at me, and then we drove on to Shades State Park.

The parking lot had a gathering of cars, people, and dogs. SAC and I decided to go to another parking lot and hike on our own!!!

We knew, from the amount of precipitation we’d had that the trails would be sloppy and muddy. We took an easy trail – Trail 9 – and went to the Youth Camp. We had been wanting to see how it had changed in the decades since we had tent camped in a hot open field! It had grown up quite a bit, as we had imagined. We noticed several trees that had been cut down.

We had a modest bird list:

  • Tufted Titmice
  • American Crows
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Chickadees
  • Carolina Wren
  • Blue Jays

We had a nice chat with a DNR employee and found out that yes, the trees cut down were Ash – all killed by Emerald Ash Borer. We also shared different favorite places to hike and what we carry in our day packs. He recommended we visit southern Illinois for the Shawnee National Forest and gave us several good locations to check out. Funny timing, as I had just read a series of blog posts by the Illinois Botanizer, who completed a River-to-River hike. Just a really enjoyable talk.

We then hiked the other leg of Trail 9 and then onto Hickory Parking lot and the top of Trail 1. (Hiking the top is a must-do each visit to Shades). After 1.5 inches of rain the day before, Sugar Creek was up and flowing fast. It would be a fast canoe ride today! We smelled a skunk as we walked around on the trail.

We decided as we walked over the boardwalk/bridges across Devil’s Punch Bowl that we had to go down to see the waterfalls going into the Punch Bowl. It had been a long time since we had seen that much water coming over the two falls. It was worth the climb up and down all those steps.

I always like to start my year on a First Day Hike. It sets the tone for the rest of the year. Although it was overcast and 37 degrees, it was a nice, pleasant hike.



Categories: Birding, First Of Year, Hiking, Montgomery County, Shades State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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