Prophetstown State Park

Super Snake Sighting

In recent years we’ve learned about a type of snake that is proving more common than we expected–the Northern Brown Snake, or DeKay’s Snake. This year alone we’ve seen at least five of them on our property.

SAC and I were hiking at Prophetstown a couple of weeks ago and were fortunate (and fast) enough to spot a tiny DeKay’s Snake!

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It’s also been a good year for Big Bluestem in Indiana — look how tall that is!

2017-10-22 14.17.18

 

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Long-Eared Owls

Sunday, February 5, 2017 – There had been multiple emails on the Indiana birding list serve about the Long-eared Owls at Prophetstown State Park. We had been seeing them for almost 2 weeks before we were able to make time in our schedule. We had pretty good directions on where to find them in the park (unlike the last time one was seen there.)

It was a gorgeous day 46 degrees and sunny, but pretty windy out on the prairie. We started on trail 1 towards the site and there was no mistaking where the bird was – birders and their spotting scopes or determined hikers with binoculars.

Within seconds of coming to the site, we were helped to locate the birds and quickly saw 3 of them!!! Yay – LIFE BIRDS!

two-leow-smaller

SAC was able to take pretty good photos of them although the saplings in the fen were good camouflage.

leow2-smaller

She took pictures with our DSLR and she also used her iPhone and Bluetooth shutter release to digiscope some pretty good photos.  I’m not a good judge of distance, but they were maybe 20 feet off the trail. We kept a quiet demeanor and didn’t stay very long so as not to disturb them. I don’t know that they would have been disturbed. They have been in the same location for 2 weeks, at least, and haven’t seemed to mind their paparazzi!

leow-smaller

 

We decided it was such a beautiful day and we had been working hard all weekend on cleaning and decluttering the house, so we walked on towards the pond. We saw northern shovelers, mallards, and American tree sparrows. Still present were 12 mute swans, 2 of which were juveniles.

musw

We walked on to see if Trail 3 was inundated by the water like it was on our last trip, but it was now open. We didn’t have time to take that, so we headed back to our parking lot via the paved, multi-use trail. We heard a ruckus towards the Wabash River – a murder of many crows probably was protesting an eagle although I didn’t get a look at it. SAC thought she may have seen it, but wasn’t sure.

We had a great day and were able to add to our life list!

 

leow-digiscope

One of SAC’s digiscoped photos

 

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Prophetstown State Park – August 1, 2016

After a very busy morning of garden and produce fixing, we took off for Prophetstown to get some grassland species. I had thought to just have a casual hike and drive, but SAC had other ideas. Mind you, it was 85 degrees out and very humid and sunny. On the prairie! I think she was trying to do me in!

dragonfly

We hiked part of trail 1 but mostly trail 2. I do love this prairie park. And it seems to be a constantly evolving park. We had last been here the end of March and in that time, the entrance to the park has changed completely. Also a new bike trail is being added and an accessible trail to the overlook. It is going to be really nice when those new features are completed.

green-heron

It was a great walk even in the heat. Should we hike here in these conditions again, we’ll carry twice as much water! I was down to a sip in my bottle although SAC had a little more. We did avail ourselves of the bounty of the prairie in the form of ripe, wild blackberries. I’m sure that is what enabled me to make it back to the vehicle!

wood-duck-family

We saw 5 new State park species for the IBBY:

  • Prairie Warbler
  • Dickcissel
  • Sedge Wren
  • Green Heron
  • Common Yellowthroat

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common-yellowthroat

As we neared the first picnic shelter and restroom, I took off my hat, binoculars, backpack and glasses and put my head under the water fountain! I pulled out a bandana and ran water under it and refilled my water bottle. SAC followed suit. Back on the trail to the vehicle, we were in much better shape and made it to the car and lunch!

I picked up 3 hours of IMN volunteer hours picking up trash.

Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, Hiking, Prophetstown State Park, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicentennial Birding Update

Bicentennial Birding – February 20

At the top of the firetowerWe drove down to McCormick’s Creek State Park to hike Saturday. It was a perfect day of sunshine, blue skies and a high of 73 degrees! Although a very busy park, we were able to have a good day of hiking to and up the fire tower and then a short hike to the falls. There were way too many dogs on the trails including a very rude couple who let their dog run up to us NOT on a leash and didn’t even apologize for terrorizing me! Wouldn’t even make eye contact! Most dog owners see that I’m afraid and are very courteous and helpful in keeping control of their dogs. I appreciate these responsible dog owners.

Birds in the park:

  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • American Crow
  • Red–bellied Woodpecker
  • Carolina Wren – heard
  • Blue Jay
  • Northern Cardinal

McCormick's Creek Fire Tower view

Bicentennial Birding – February 21

We decided not to waste another gorgeous day since 6 plus inches of snow was predicted to fall on the 24th! We drove up to Prophetstown State Park and walked trail 3 along the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers. It was colder than yesterday, but as we got hiking, we warmed up quickly!

Birds in park:

  • Killdeer
  • Red Winged Black Bird
  • American Crow
  • Gull
  • Kestrel
  • Canada Goose
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Bald Eagle
  • Belted Kingfisher
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Song Sparrow
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Blue Jay

 

Prophetstown SP wet meadowProphetstown SP

Categories: Birding, McCormick's Creek State Park, Prophetstown State Park, State Parks Indiana, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prophetstown State Park

September 8, 2014

The day started out fairly cool, but quickly warmed up under pure blue skies and bright sunshine. And the mosquitoes sure were out in force today in the woods.

I wish I knew my dragonflies better, but I don’t need to know their names to enjoy their beauty! If anyone out there can id – feel free to leave me a comment. Sometimes, they even rest long enough to capture a photo of them.

Stephanie noticed a shadow pass over and she looked up and spotted an adult bald eagle. It circled higher and higher until it was out of our sight.

This park is wonderful to hike in especially when the temperatures are cooler – even on a cold, but sunny day. One of my fondest memories of this park is when we held a family Thanksgiving Day picnic with my sisters.

 

Birds seen:

  • American Crow
  • American Robin
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Tree Swallow
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Mystery bird!
Categories: Birding, Botany, Insects, Prophetstown State Park, State Parks Indiana, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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