Turkey Run State Park

Lemons to Lemonade – November 27, 2017

So today we decided to go hiking at Shades State Park. Our first stop was the post office. SAC had a huge Etsy mailing for her Redhead Paper shop that needed to go out today. Without going into a long explanation, it took forever and it cost more to mail than she had envisioned and her business card wouldn’t work there! Oh, well. Live and learn.

Second stop was grabbing a lunch to go. SAC forgot to order a large iced tea. No biggie. We had water.

Finally got to Shades. Closed due to deer reduction hunting. “But you can go to Turkey Run.”

No!

Turkey Run is beautiful and all that, but we don’t go there unless it is out of season. It’s way too crowded otherwise. We decided to go somewhere else, but Turkey Run was on the way, so we stopped in to use the facilities. It turned out the parking lot wasn’t very crowded at all, so SAC suggested we hike to Camel’s Back.

It was another beautiful day – almost 60 degrees and sunny. We walked out Trail 10 and back Trail 3. We always try to stop and take a deep breath to clear away all our troubles and concentrate on the beauty of Creation.

What a beautiful late fall day! Just enjoying the crunching leaves – no sneaking up on birds right now!!!

We saw the usual goldfinch and titmice, nuthatches and chickadees. We also saw both black vultures and a turkey vulture.

Woodpeckers were the birds of the day – Red-Bellied, Hairy, and lots of Red-Headed woodpeckers. We were stumped for a while on a noise coming from all around us. I had almost decided it was a blue jay or squirrel, but it was multiple Red-Headed Woodpeckers – more than I had seen and heard in a long time.2017-11-27 14.30.42

We peeled off our long-sleeved shirts and were walking in t-shirts until we got to the canyon part of the trail. Just an FYI – don’t hike Trail 3 backwards! It’s very awkward to go down the narrow steps carved out of the canyon walls!

2017-11-27 14.35.37

It’s amazing how much the temperature can vary in the ravines at Turkey Run and Shades. The carved handholds along the rock cliffs in Rocky Hollow made me wish I had gloves on and the water in the creek that I washed my muddy hands in was frigid! We could even see our breath!

As we drove back by a McDonald’s, we ordered an ice cream cone and a mocha frappe. We got the ice cream in a bowl with the cone on top and a chocolate chip something or other instead.

All in all, it was a gorgeous day where we were able to make lemonade out of all the lemons the day had tried to shove our way!

2017-11-27 14.33.56

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Categories: Birding, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bicentennial Birding – February 6

Zoomed in Snowy owlWe 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:

  1. Snowy Owl
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Horned Lark
  4. Canada Geese
  5. 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!

Zoomed out Snowy owl

Birds seen at Kankakee Sands:

  1. Rough-legged Hawk
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Northern Harrier
  4. American Kestrel
  5. Red-winged Blackbird (First of Year)
  6. Sandhill Cranes

Z Northern Harrier

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:

  1. Turkey Vulture (First of Year in Darlington, Montgomery County) (see previous post).

Birds Seen at Turkey Run:

  1. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  2. Red-headed Woodpecker
  3. Downy Woodpecker
  4. White-breasted Nuthatch
  5. American Goldfinch
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Tufted Titmouse
  8. Carolina Chickadee
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Northern Cardinal
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Bald Eagle
  13. Canada Geese
  14. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  15. 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!

Burn

Birds Seen at Lye Creek Burn:

  1. Northern Harrier
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Mallard
  4. Greater White-Fronted Goose
  5. Northern Pintail
  6. Redhead
  7. Ross’s Goose

And the local eagle nest along Sugar Creek has an adult sitting on the nest!

 

Categories: Birding, First Of Year, Life Birds, Montgomery County, Parke County, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Women’s Wellness Weekend

April 12, 2015 – Women’s Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park

Once again this year another Indiana Master Naturalist and I volunteered at the Women’s Wellness Weekend at Turkey Run State Park. We led two wildflower hikes – one on Saturday morning and one Sunday morning. We also presented the Native Edible and Medicinal Plants workshop. Jackie is a professional photographer and she presented the Nature Photography workshop.

After a few technical snafus, our workshops went well. We had good groups and very positive feedback.

I was surprised at the different wildflowers from when my daughter and I hiked on Monday! We only saw one Salt and Pepper (Harbinger of Spring) in bloom as opposed to hundreds or thousands!

Wildflowers Seen over the two hikes:

  1. Cut-leaf Toothwort
  2. Trout Lily
  3. Bloodroot
  4. Spring Beauties
  5. Dutchman’s Breeches
  6. Squirrel Corn
  7. False Rue Anemone
  8. Purple Violets
  9. Toadshade AKA Sessile Trillium
  10. Phlox –
  11. Purple Trillium
  12. Purple Cress -not yet in flower
  13. Virginia Blue Bell
  14. Water leaf – not yet in flower
  15. Wild Ginger
  16. Salt & Pepper (1 plant)
  17. Bell flower
  18. Hepatica
  19. Nodding Trillium – not yet in flower
  20. Trillium species – not yet in flower
  21. May apple – bud just coming on

Birds Seen:

  1. Pileated Woodpeckers (2)
  2. Blue Jay
  3. Cardinal
  4. Tufted Titmouse
  5. Chickadee
  6. Phoebe
  7. Canada Geese
  8. Red Tailed Hawk – light morph
  9. White Breasted Nuthatch
Categories: Birding, Botany, First of Year, Parke County, State Parks Indiana, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring Ephemerals

Monday was an impromptu hike at Turkey Run State Park. I originally was going to hike down from the Lusk Home and over the Narrows Covered Bridge and onto Trail 2 like I usually do to see Skunk Cabbage blooming.

This time we decided to walk Trail 1 from the Nature Center and back on Trail 2 for an absolutely wonderful hike.

As usual I picked up litter along the way.

I was trying out a new macro lens for my iPhone–a Christmas gift from hubby and daughter this Christmas. It’s an olloclip 3-in-One Photo Lens.

I used to think “Salt and Pepper” or Harbinger-of-Spring was hard to find, but it is everywhere. I saw it Saturday at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum and it was along the path from the Turkey Run Inn and along our route on Trails 1 & 2.

We saw several early flowers and learned a new one.

  • Dutchman’s Breeches
  • Salt and Pepper/Harbinger-of-Spring
  • Spring Beauty
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Purple Cress
  • Spicebush (in bloom!)

Birds we saw on the hike:

  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Chickadee
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Robin
  • Kingfisher
  • Nuthatch
  • Crows
  • Blue Jays
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Canada Geese
  • Phoebe

We also saw two juvenile bald eagles sitting in a tree near Lake Waveland on our way down.

Categories: Birding, Botany, First of Year, Parke County, Spring, State Parks Indiana, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eagles In Flight Weekend at Turkey Run State Park

Icicles on Sugar CreekSaturday morning, day 2 of Eagles in Flight Weekend, we set off for Turkey Run as I volunteered to sit for a couple of hours at the Event Table for the Friends of Turkey Run and Shades State Park Organization who sponsors the weekend. It was a snowy day; probably an inch had fallen by the time we left home at 7 AM. After my shift, daughter and I sat in on Alan Bruner’s workshop on Keys to Identification of Common Raptors in the Turkey Run Area. For those who don’t know Alan. He is involved with the Indiana Audubon Society and a birder extraordinaire!

2013 First Skunk Cabbage

We then left the main part of the park and drove to the Lusk Home/NarrowsCovered Bridge on an annual pilgrimage on Trail 1 to a couple of places where a spring causes boggy areas. We always check here for our first sighting of skunk cabbage blooming. This tradition dates back to my childhood forays to this area with my dad in late winter or very early spring.

We had a hard time spotting the bloom, as usual, but finally found one blooming. This is the earliest we have actually looked for the plant, but did so because of a blogpost I read by Jim McCormac, an Ohio naturalist   . Our previous dates were: 2/20/13; 3/19/11; 3/20/10.  (Note: this doesn’t mean we saw the bloom earlier this year, just that we searched for it earlier this year!)

Carolina WrenOn Trail 1, we saw:

  • Carolina Wren
  • Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Downy Woodpecker

Our species list on our way home by way of Clinton Falls and Rockville were:

  • American Kestrel- 6
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 7
  • American Crows
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 2
  • Bald Eagle

At the Rock River Landing in Crawfordsville, we saw an Adult Bald Eagle close by the nest.

Rock River Landing Eagle

Categories: Birding, Botany, First of Year, Parke County, State Parks Indiana, Turkey Run State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Great Backyard Bird Count – February 20, 2012

Birds Seen:

  • Starlings
  • Mourning Doves
  • Northern Cardinals
  • English Sparrows
  • Chickadees
  • House Finch
  • Blue Jays
  • Brown Headed Cowbirds
  • American Tree Sparrows
  • Song Sparrows

We took our annual trip today to visit a specific wet area at Turkey Run State Park for the look at first flowering plant of the season – Skunk Cabbage.  My dad took me there when I was young and I have continued that tradition with my daughter – even to today. She’s always, well, almost always, game for my adventures. We usually don’t have a chance to go look for the skunk cabbage until early March, but since I had President’s Day off from school and she is presently working from home, we went on a Monday.

We left home about 9 with temperatures below freezing, but the sun was shining and the sky was that beautiful blue that only winter can bring.

We saw our FOY (first of the year) red-wing blackbird in his full regalia on our way there. It is always so good to see the FOY birds. It brings us a little closer to Spring!

We always park at the Lusk Home and then walk over the covered bridge on Trail 1. There is a boggy area just a ways down the trail and on the left that usually has some blooming, but we only found one. They are hard to spot at first, but usually once you find one, the rest come into focus!

We walked on down the trail and looked at the boggy area on the right after the trail turns back west.  There were lots of them blooming! We took several pictures before we left.

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We saw a bluebird flying around by the parking area there at the Lusk home. We also saw a downy or hairy woodpecker and a tufted titmouse.

We then went north to Shades State Park – our favorite place in the world! I was hoping to find Harbinger of Spring – Pepper and Salt – Erigenia bulbosa in bloom, but decided it might be a bit early.  We’ll come back in a couple of weeks. We instead took our favorite loop around the top of trail one.

We saw two Pileated Woodpeckers, a red-headed woodpecker, turkey vultures and then a red tail hawk working on its lunch in the ditch as we left.

We headed north and west through Kingman to Lake Holiday Hideaway to look at the swans. When I volunteered to help at the Turkey Run Eagle Day Weekend, we were giving out maps of Eagle nests and also of the location of the swans. We didn’t have time that day to go there, so we went to look at them today.

Categories: First Of Year, Great Backyard Bird Count, Shades State Park, State Parks Indiana, Turkey Run State Park | 1 Comment

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