State Park Blitz – July 17-19, 2016

Sunday, July 17

We left home early Sunday morning and headed down I-65 south. Our first stop was Hardy Lake Reservoir and we drove along the reservoir and saw several different species of birds but no new ones to add to our list. It was a beautiful sunny morning and about 75 degrees.

makersWe continued south and crossed the Ohio River at Jeffersonville/Louisville over the new bridge. We reached Maker’s Mark Distillery about 11 AM. By this time, it was extremely hot and humid and sunny. Seven years ago, SAC had become an ambassador for them and her barrel of Kentucky Bourbon had come of age. She dipped two bottles with her name printed on them and brought them home as a reward for her patience (plus the cost of the bourbon! 😀 ).

ROC had been debating whether or not to stop at Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Since we were so close, we finally convinced him to do so. We watched the video presentation and toured the museum, but since it was so horribly hot and humid, we didn’t walk out around the battle field. I don’t know why – just because it is hilly and prairie and open with few or little trees with the sun beating down on it!!!! We have walked this battlefield several times in the past and have enjoyed the terrain and the park.

We drove back into Indiana and headed towards Corydon. SAC wanted to stop at Turtle Run Winery as we had visited there before and enjoyed the wine we had bought. They were having a concert, which they evidently do almost every Sunday evening in good weather (excepting harvest time) so we had lots of cars to walk through and then basically had to walk through the band performing on the deck to get into the winery itself. But getting the wine was no problem.

Wine purchased, we then drove on into Corydon where they were obviously setting up for a parade on the main drag as the sidewalks were lined with people in lawn chairs and wagons and strollers. I had intended to stop and visit the Corydon Capital State Historic Site tonight so as to get an earlier start in the morning. Instead we drove on to our hotel.

It was 91 degrees by the time we stopped.

Monday, July 18

corydon-with-obannonMonday morning dawned bright and early with a mockingbird singing us merrily on our way. Although we knew the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site was closed on Mondays, we stopped and looked through the windows, took pictures of it and Governor Frank O’Bannon’s statue – with us sitting with him of course, the Corydon Democrat Building and read all the markers around the square. I’ve become quite a fan of Judy O’Bannon’s documentaries on PBS/WFYI in the past several years, including the one about his statue, so I was glad to have my picture taken with him.

(We were very sad to learn that the second sighting in 100 years of a black bear was in Corydon this morning AND WE MISSED IT!!!!!)

We arrived at O’Bannon Woods State Park and, of course, everything was closed. It looks like they might have a nice nature center… 😦


It looks like a really lovely park and we walked to accessible part of the Tulip Valley Trail which starts at the nature center. The 1830s homestead is here and we petted the burros and oxen. About halfway around the trail, we started hearing thunder, the sky darkened, and the wind picked up, so we picked up our speed and made it back to the car before the downpour started. We drove around the park to see what else we can do when we come back here to visit!

We saw several birds and added one state park bird which serenaded us here:

  • Northern Mockingbird

We had torrential rains on the next leg of our journey and the road had many of branches and leaves down on it.

We stopped at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey and perused the gift shop and drove through Santa Claus Land – or Holiday World as it is called now. Even though it was storming, people were in line by the droves to get into the park.

Our next stop was the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. I bought my Senior Lifetime Pass for National Parks here for $10! I wanted to get it during the centennial year. We toured the museum and then walked back through the park.

Here, too, we were trying to hike between storms. We hiked back to the homestead and talked to the living history employees. This is a very nice park. One of them told us of the visiting Mississippi Kite! We actually saw it on our way back to the car – trying to outrun the rain! Life bird!

SAC took video of a Blue Grosbeak singing.

Among other birds, we saw three new birds for our list, two of them life birds:

  • Summer tanager
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Mississippi Kite

Driving on, we stopped at Lincoln State Park. We walked around a very little bit as it was storming and we were again appalled at the people who were flocking to the swimming pool to swim as a storm was approaching. We saw several birds, but no new species. Unless the flycatcher species was a new one, but we couldn’t identify it with the brief look we had. We drove around a bit and then on to the next stop.


We drove on to our next state park, Harmonie State Park. We were there just before 5 PM. It was about 77 degrees and sunny, but the park was rain soaked and beaten down. We walked around along the Wabash River. We saw many birds, but didn’t see any new species. We also saw two box turtles!


We saw many birds, but no new species for the year. This scarlet tanager begged his parent for a worm while we watched.


We walked the maze at New Harmony and drove around looking at the buildings and reading the markers.

We headed over to Mt. Carmel, IL, and stayed at a Super 8 motel for the evening. It was a very tiring day and we were glad to get supper and rest.

Monday, July 19

grc-memorialAnother hot and humid day dawned as we drove to the George Rogers Clark National Historic Site. We walked around the Visitors’ Center and then down to the memorial. We walked along the river walk and then drove around the Indiana Territorial Capital and Grouseland and then out to Fort Knox II where General Harrison staged his troops to get ready for the Battle of Tippecanoe and then used it as a hospital when they returned from the Battle. It was a small but informative historic site. We drove around a small Knox County park Oubache, which was really nice.

Our next stop was Shakamak State Park. We drove around and SAC and I walked a trail and saw two new IBBY Birds:

  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (we’d seen one at home, but not in a park)

By this time it was 91 degrees.

We were home by 5:15 and picked a gallon of blackberries when we got there. It had rained about 1.8 inches while we were gone.


State Parks/Reservoirs visited:

  1. Hardy Lake Reservoir
  2. O’Bannon Woods State Park
  3. Lincoln State Park
  4. Harmonie State Park
  5. Shakamak State Park

National Park Service Sites visited:

  1. George Rogers Clark National Historic Site
  2. Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial

State Historic Sites Visited:

  1. Corydon Capitol State Historic Site
  2. Indiana Territorial Capital

Indiana Birding Big Year Birds Seen:

  • Northern Mockingbird
  • Summer Tanager
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Mississippi Kite
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  • Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Indiana Master Naturalist Volunteer Hours: 1.5 hours trash pickup


Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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