Shades State Park- This is how I enjoyed the day after Thanksgiving!!!
My brother-in-law made me a new bird feeder for Christmas, and on January 6 we were rewarded by a brand new lawn visitor! This Fox Sparrow came back on the 7th as well, and SAC took a picture with our newly-repaired camera lens.
Don’t blame the photographer or the lens for the quality of these photos–blame how dirty the two windows are she was shooting through!
It has been a hot, humid, stormy summer and it has been hard to be motivated to be outside any more than needs be. I have had to deal with tall, wet grass to cut and garden to weed and produce to pick and process.
That being said, we hadn’t been to Shades since June and set out to remedy that on Monday, August 22nd. We decided to take some easy trails as we had a late start – 1:30 – due to early appointments and errands.
We hiked trail 9, trail 6, and, as is our habit on every visit here, the top of trail 1. It was actually about 75 degrees and sunny today.
We saw two new birds to add to our IBBY list:
- Black & White Warbler
- Blackburnian Warbler
It was a good day, and as always when we hike at Shades, a rejuvenation of our spirits. I added 2 hours to my IMN volunteer time by picking up litter as I always do at State Parks.
ROC hadn’t hiked at Shades State Park with us yet this year, so we took a quick trip down there last Sunday after helping my sisters move a kitchen cabinet. It was beautiful and sunny, about 75 degrees.
We hiked the top of trail one and around north of the parking lot. Shades is a balm to my weary soul every time I hike here. We had a very low key hike seeing an immature bald eagle and the usual birds to keep us company.
- Blue Violet
- Yellow Violet
- Wild Ginger
- Prairie Trillium
- Wild Geranium
- Wild Phlox
- Jack in the Pulpit
- Golden Ragwort
We saw and heard a possible Northern Parula, but since I’m not 100% sure and I have no photo to show for it (didn’t take camera) I’m not going to add it to the IBBY list.
We had a really good hike and I picked up 45 minutes of IMN Volunteer time.
We went on a quest to find the Snowy Owl that had been seen all week in White County north of Brookston. Since that area is old home place to my husband, he looked at the coordinates listed and drove us right to it. It was right on the side of the road, so we kept our distance and took pictures with both the camera and IPhone “digiscoped” with the binoculars. When we were finished viewing it, we turned around in the road and went back the way we had come, so we wouldn’t disturb it.
Birds Seen in White County:
- Snowy Owl
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Horned Lark
- Canada Geese
- American Crow
We drove on up to Kankakee Sands as there had been short eared owls spotted there during the week. We tried this last year on our way back for our First Day Hike at the Indiana Dunes State Park (see previous post). And like our try last year, we failed to find the short ears. Someone called the cops on the 10 or so cars scattered around the preserve, complaining of cars blocking the road. So we left Newton County and spent our money on supper in Benton County!
Birds seen at Kankakee Sands:
- Rough-legged Hawk
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Northern Harrier
- American Kestrel
- Red-winged Blackbird (First of Year)
- Sandhill Cranes
Bicentennial Birding – February 7
We went to Turkey Run State Park today. Beautiful mostly sunny and about 50 degrees. On our way there, we saw:
- Turkey Vulture (First of Year in Darlington, Montgomery County) (see previous post).
Birds Seen at Turkey Run:
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Red-headed Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- American Goldfinch
- House Sparrow
- Tufted Titmouse
- Carolina Chickadee
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Northern Cardinal
- Blue Jay
- Bald Eagle
- Canada Geese
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
- American Crow
And on our annual pilgrimage to find Skunk Cabbage blooming!!!! (see previous post). Yay! Skunk Cabbage! Between the Vultures and the red- winged blackbird returning and the skunk cabbage blooming, we have hope for Spring soon!
On our way home from Turkey Run, we drove past Lye Creek Burn. We have never seen the Lapland Longspurs, but what we did see made us VERY happy!
Birds Seen at Lye Creek Burn:
- Northern Harrier
- Canada Goose
- Greater White-Fronted Goose
- Northern Pintail
- Ross’s Goose
And the local eagle nest along Sugar Creek has an adult sitting on the nest!
As always, I’m late with this post. In honor of International Vulture Awareness Day, which was September 5. I am posting my daughter’s pictures of a local hangout. For some reason, this nearby town’s water tower is a favorite resting place for the turkey vultures around here. Quite often this is the first place we see them in the spring and the last in the fall. Vultures are one of our very favorite birds. They bring such a longing to soar and ride the thermals in my soul. Restless longings.
It’s not just vultures in Indiana, either. My daughter took a picture in Texas last November of Black Vultures sitting on a water tower!
Of course, the Turkey Vultures also spend time soaring over our house.
We also saw a huge kettle several years ago on US 231, as we were southbound towards Spencer, Indiana.
Discovered the cardinal nest in the blackberry patch on June 6:
Eggs have hatched on June 13:
Punk hairdo on June 18! Forgive the bad photo, I didn’t want to scare them off the nest.
By June 21, the babies had fledged.
Tuesday morning I found a dead butterfly in our garage. The picture isn’t great, but I took it inside later to get a better picture of it with my macro lens for the iPhone.
The picture does show the checkered black and white antennae.
Unfortunately, when I got back inside after mowing, a naughty kitty or two had been up on the table and ATE my specimen! So I didn’t get picture of the underside or get to look at it under magnifier.
The Butterflies of Indiana does not show this butterfly in our county, but it must have flown in from one of the three surrounding counties that are within two miles of the property.
We finally were able to work out cleaning up our blackberry patch on Saturday. I always forget to take before pictures, but remembered after this time! Husband weed-eated and mowed while I pulled up last year’s canes, raked the cut grass and trimmed some of this year’s canes back a little. We still have work to do on it, but made quite a bit of progress.
While doing this, husband found two nests with eggs. One was definitely a cardinal nest as we saw them fly in and out. This nest contained three beautiful cream colored eggs with brown blotches.
The other nest was a chipping sparrow nest which contained four beautiful blue eggs with brown splotches on them.
Both pair of birds were very glad we were too tired to continue working!
I stopped off at Shades State Park to refresh and recharge after spending the past two days presenting at the Women’s Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park.
I walked trails 9 and 1 Just short trails but needed to have some time alone. I did run into five ladies from the WWW who had attended our workshops and walks. Had a great talk with them.
And as I walked along the lower part of Trail 1, I met up with a couple who saw a chipmunk attack a snake. The snake lost – the chipmunk bit its head off!
The Canada geese have again made a nest under the observation platform at Prospect Point. Parent was sitting on the nest. Interestingly, there were two eggs back off the platform behind the “Hiker” sign. Curious.
- Cut-leaf Toothwort
- Trout Lily
- Spring Beauties
- Dutchman’s Breeches (including a pink version – Does that make it Dutchwoman’s breeches?)
- Squirrel Corn
- False Rue Anemone
- Purple Violets
- Toadshade AKA Sessile Trillium
- Young Jack in the Pulpits
- Purple Cress