Spring Mill State Park and Patoka Lake – September 24-26, 2016

September 24

Our State Park weekend started by picking SAC up at her work and driving to Franklin Indiana where we saw Hoosiers on the big screen at the Historic Artcraft Theatre! Since my father was in Hoosiers as an extra and it was filmed in my hometown of New Richmond, I love this movie. The chance to see it again on the big screen was too good to pass up. We spent the night in Franklin.
al-boone-and-gene-hackman

My dad with Gene Hackman

September 25 – Spring Mill

We drove on down to Spring Mill in the morning hoping to get there in time for a naturalist-led hike. We don’t get to take part in too many of these any more as the offerings are few and far between. We made it in time and had a great hike with Wyatt the naturalist on the trail to Donelson Cave. He talked about the moisture gradient from the
top of the hill to the creek and the plant-life associated with the difference in moisture.
We saw several birds and 3 brown water snakes basking in the sunshine while lying in the riprap which was stabilizing the creek bank. It was refreshing to talk to an enthusiastic naturalist! Great job Wyatt!
snake
After lunch in Mitchell, we went to the Gus Grissom Museum and SAC and I walked trail 6. We then went to the Nature Center and enjoyed looking at the exhibits. We were able to attend another Naturalist led function – a turtle race between red-eared slider, box turtle and painted turtles. The naturalist first discussed the different species of turtles entered in the race. I learned that turtles need sunlight for their shells to grow. Their body continues to grow, but unless they get sunlight, they will outgrow their shells. She also shared that box turtles can live to be 100 and red-eared sliders to 3o years old. She also discussed predators of the turtle and what the 3 species of turtles eat.
coming-out-of-twin-cave-boat-ride
SAC and I took the Twin Cave boat ride and then hiked around the lake on Trail 5 while Roger read in the inn. We saw 1 new IBBBY State Park bird – Yellow Throated Vireo.
great-blue-heron
We had supper at the inn and then retired for the evening.
spring-mill-inn

September 26 – Patoka Lake

Driving on some Indiana Historic Pathways in the rain, we drove through French Lick and West Baden Springs and then on to Patoka Lake. The sun came out briefly while we were driving, but it was mostly cool and rainy. We went to the Nature Center in the Newton-Stewart SRA, but of course, it is closed on Mondays! We saw a bald eagle flying over the lake at the beach and saw some deer along the way. They have some really nice bike trails here.
We saw 2 great egrets at the South Lick Fork Ramp. Another new IBBBY bird.
great-egrets-at-south-lick-fork-ramp-patoka
We drove to the Tulip Trestle the largest train trestle in the US and 3rd largest in the world. There is a nice little park and information kiosk there and an adorable free library shaped like a small train engine.
tulip-trestle
We stopped at the newly opened Goose Pond Visitor’s Center and then drove to Brazil and picked up (better late than never) Indiana Byways Passport at Lynn’s Pharmacy. ROC got a cherry milkshake and SAC and I had pretzels and then drove on home.
lynns-soda-fountain
We added:
  • 510 miles traveled.
  • 2 new birds: Yellow Throated Vireo & Great Egret
  • 2 IMN volunteer hours
  • 45 minutes IMN education hours
  • 2 DNR sites
Two more weekends should finish our quest for our DNR sites!
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Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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