Posts Tagged With: american robin

Raspberry Picking is Dangerous Business 

We have wild black raspberries over the property. Very yummy ones, too. As they’re just ripening, I picked about almost a quart amidst angry robin threats. The wrens, catbirds and cardinals joined in the protest. In the middle of the best and easiest to pick bramble, I found the reason for the protest!


Three perfect blue eggs. 

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Mother’s Day Hike

After a leisurely Sunday drive along country roads, we arrived at Tippecanoe River State Park about noon. It was an overcast day to partly sunny with a high of 60 degrees.

Northern Banded Water SnakeWe walked first to the Nature Center, which was closed. Big Surprise there! And walked over to a fishing pier to look at the river. The trees were filled with Baltimore Orioles singing their hearts out. ROC looked down at the river’s edge and saw two Northern Banded Water Snakes swimming onto the shore. He is not a snake lover like SAC and I are, so he was not amused! He is always looking out for Eastern Massasauga, Cottonmouth Water Moccasins and Timber Rattlers on our hikes! We also saw a little Dekays Brown snake along the river.

We decided to hike trail 4 and part of 5. It was a perfect day and the trail was easy to hike and follow. Flowers were blooming and the trees were alive with birdsong.

One of our favorite birds was the entertaining Pileated Woodpecker. I first saw him clinging to a small sapling. He looked quite like a Red-tailed hawk does when they’re clinging to a power line – wobbly. IT then flew down to a fallen log and proceeded to flip last fall’s leaves looking for tidbits for lunch. We probably watch him for ten minutes or so – mesmerized by his performance.

SAC and I took a short hike along a wetland/pond area beside the road. It had two fishing piers on it and we walked from one to the other. We are always on the lookout for our nemesis bird the American Bittern – and our nemesis mammal – the otter. Now Indiana actually spent money to reintroduce otters to the state because of their rarity. But this past year, they let them be trapped because there are so many. I KNOW people have seen them at Muscatatuck, Prophetstown, and here at Tippecanoe River (one of the reintroduction sites), but unfortunately we have never seen one.

We did have a good walk and SAC got to see two families of Canada geese with their goslings, which brought some squee moments!

After driving some more, we finally left as we hadn’t had lunch yet! We drove down to Monticello and ate at the wonderful Sportsman Inn. for some fantastic hamburgers to fortify ourselves after a 5.6 mile 4 hour hike with 12 new (possibly 13) State Park Birds.

Home at 8 PM. A long day, but quite satisfying.

Orchard OrioleBlooming flowers were:

  • Purple Trillium
  • Phlox
  • Spring Beauty
  • Yellow Cinquefoil
  • Rue Anemone
  • Wild Geranium
  • Bue Violet
  • Mayapples
  • Yellow Bellwort

Birds seen or heard:

  • American Robin
  • American Goldfinch
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Grey Catbird
  • Song Sparrow
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Northern Parula
  • White Crowned Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black Capped Chickadee
  • Louisiana Waterthrush
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Oven Bird
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Northern Flicker
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Red Shouldered Hawk
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • American Crow
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Red Bellied Woodpecker
  • Red Headed Woodpecker
  • Common Grackle
  • Red Winged Blackbird
  • Brown Headed Cowbird
  • Canada Goose
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Orchard Oriole

*Bolded species are new in state parks.

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

Four State Park Blitz – March 20 & 21

After picking up SAC from work on Saturday afternoon, we drove to Batesville to get a jump-start on our State Park weekend.

Sunday dawned cold at 34 degrees but sunny and promising. Arriving at Versailles State Park we drove around to familiarize ourselves with the park. We stopped at the Nature Center (see Rant post) – which was closed – and then we decided to hike trail 1.

We were surprised to see so many wildflowers in bloom or getting ready to bloom, but since we have had a seemingly early spring following a relatively easy winter, I should not have been surprised.

We added several birds to our State Park IBBY challenge.

Birds Seen at Versailles:Versailles warbler

  • American Robin
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Tree Swallow
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Canada Goose
  • American Crow
  • Bald Eagle
  • Killdeer
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Brown Creeper
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Carolina Chickadee

Flowers in Bloom:

  • Trout Lily
  • Spring beauty
  • Bloodroot (leaves still cloaked tightly around stem)
  • Spring cress
  • Salt & Pepper (Harbinger of Spring)
  • Cut Leaf toothwort

Versailles has a lot of hills and ravines and after getting on a wrong trail and backtracking for a while, we finally made to back to the car. We hiked 3.45 miles.

After killing ourselves on the Versailles hills and ravines, we drove on to Clifty Falls State Park. We stopped at the Nature Center – which was closed (Rant Post forthcoming) and took our traditional hike on the trail to the Tower. We have to do this every time we come to this park. It is a short easy hike – unless you climb to the top of the tower, which we always do! I love looking down on the Ohio River and back towards Madison.

Cliffty Falls

Again we drove around the park to re- familiarize ourselves with the layout before deciding what trails to take. Since all the trails seem to be point to point, ROC was more than happy to drop us off and sit in the Inn reading in the overlook room or in front of the fireplace while he waited for us to return and our room to be ready.

Cliffty Falls2

I left it to SAC to decide which trail to hike. We started to hike Trail 2, but the water was too deep and the temperatures too cold for us to ford at that trail point. So we opted to hike trail 5 to 8 to 2 to 1. Again we traversed ups and downs in the ravine and across the creek twice – more fordable on that trail. It was a gorgeous hike and we quickly warmed up.

Cliffty Falls3

 

We were hoping to see some black vultures among the turkey vultures and we were not disappointed. As we came to the end of our hike we went past the Nature Center, one black vulture was on the bird feeder post and one was in the window sill of the building!

Clifty Falls black vultures

We were keep entertained by a pair of pileated woodpeckers and a red-bellied woodpecker as they hopscotched through the trees keeping up with us as we panted along!

We were able to add three more birds to our State Park IBBY challenge.

Birds Seen:Clifty Falls black vulture2

  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Northern Cardinal
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Black Vulture

Flowers in Bloom:

  • Dutchman’s Breeches
  • Squirrel Corn
  • Phlox
  • Rue Anenome
  • Trillium Sessile (Wake Robin)
  • Spring Beauty
  • Salt & Pepper (Harbinger of Spring)
  • Cut Leaf toothwort
  • Blood Root
  • Virginia Bluebells (some out most almost out)
  • Redbud
  • Spice Bush

We hiked 4.64 miles and had a substantial supper at the Clifty Falls Inn where we spent the night in a gorgeous room overlooking the Ohio River and right down Main Street Madison, Indiana.

Cliffty Inn

After a great breakfast buffet at the Inn the next morning, we drove on to Charlestown State Park. We drove all over to get the lay of the land and then ROC & SAC decided we were going to hike the trail to Rose Island – a former amusement park wiped out by the 1937 flood. The hike to and from the “island” (really a peninsula) was a seemingly straight up and down (seems to be a theme for this weekend!). At least this trail was paved, so we could look around a little as we walked instead of being worried about roots and rock outcroppings sending us over the ledge!

Blog Rose Island

The trail on Rose Island itself was graveled and very easy hike. We had a leisurely walk around the newly marked (need better word – museum person!!!) It was enjoyable and informative.

We hiked 1.43 miles on this trail. We saw no birds or flowers in this park, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a great mixture of nature and history.

Blog Rose Island2

Our last stop was Falls of the Ohio State Park in Jeffersonville. It was very windy, but sunny and around 54 degrees. The water was very high, so we were not able to walk on the lower shelf of fossils, but we did enjoy walking on the upper shelf.

Blog Falls of the Ohio 2

We added a new IBBY State Park Bird:

  • Double Crested Cormorant

We didn’t go into the newly redesigned Visitors’ Center/Museum for two reasons. It was getting late and ROC and I had to go to work Tuesday morning early. And also it costs $9 per person. The last time we were here we went through the Visitors’ Center and it was a wonderfully informative and well-down and I can’t imagine what they did to improve the Visitors’ Center, but I hope to enjoy going through it sometime soon.

Blog Falls of the Ohio

We did make a quick stop at the Clark Cabin and saw the eagle nest across the river on an island. Both parents were on the nest.

Our drive home was as uneventful as one could wish. We drove 459 miles, walked 10.49 miles and added 8 new State Park birds. Great weekend Blitz!

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

Bicentennial Birding at Mounds and Summit Lake State Parks

2016-02-27 15.50.40On our quest to visit all the State Parks in this their Centennial year, we arrived at Mounds State Park about 1:30 PM on February 27. It was a beautiful, blue sky day. A bit windy, but 52 degrees. After visiting the wonderful Nature Center, we started walking trail 5. This is a good hike to take here as it starts by following the section of the old traction route that went to the amusement park that used to be on this property. This route skirts the boundary of the park, so you get a great overall feel of the park. It passes one of the ancient Indian mounds for which the park is named and then goes into the woods and then follows the White River. It circles back and you end up back at the Nature Center.

Birds Seen at Mounds: 

  • Carolina Chickadee
  • House Finch
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Sandhill Cranes (flying overhead)
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Red-Bellied Woodpecker – H
  • Northern Cardinal – H
  • Blue Jay – H
  • Mourning Doves
  • American Crows

DSC_0046Our next stop on our quest was Summit Lake State Park. We took trail 4 through the prairie and woods. We chose this short trail due to the lateness in the day – 4:45. We saw quite a bit of evidence of beaver – gnawed on stumps along the shoreline.

Birds Seen at Summit Lake:

  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Canada Geese
  • American Crows
  • American Robins
  • Red-winged Blackbirds
  • Red-tailed Hawk (on the nest)
  • Lesser Scaup (male & female)*

On our way home, we encountered a flock of about 200 crows in Indianapolis along 465 in trees and flying above one of the neighborhoods. Quite an impressive show!

*Lifebird

Categories: Birding, Life Birds, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Centennials and Bicentennials

So 2016 is not only the Bicentennial of Indiana, but the Centennial of Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs and the National Park Service. Our first two State Parks, McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run were officially opened on December 16, 1916. Many celebrations around the state are being planned and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is one of them.

Our family goals this year:

I remember well the Bicentennial of our nation. We attended many celebrations, festivals and parades. I attended a book signing that included my mother, who had collaborated with several people to produce Montgomery County Remembers. Then I had a bicentennial baby! It was a very neat year with lots of memories. I’m sure this year will be just as memorable.

January 1: Our First Day Hike was at our beloved Shades State Park. (See last year’s post on our First Day Hike where we took the 3 Dune Challenge at Indiana Dunes State Park.) It was attended by about 20 people and led by a talented young Naturalist Andrew Hoffman. As always hiking at Shades is wonderful and we had a great time, learned new information, met some neat people and helped to influence some up and coming nature lovers to pick up trash along the trail!

Birds seen during hike:

  1. American Goldfinch
  2. White-breasted Nuthatch
  3. Downy Woodpecker
  4. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  5. Pileated Woodpecker (heard)
  6. Carolina Chickadee (heard)

January 16: We went birding at Prophetstown State Park. We didn’t spend much time here as it was overcast, cold and very windy. We just had errands to run in Lafayette and decided to swing by Celery Bog in West Lafayette to see if we could see some ducks, geese, osprey or anything else. Water was frozen!!!! So we drove on out to Prophetstown, where we did see some gulls, a bald eagle, and a kestrel.

Cataract Falls upper falls

January 24: We have always driven past the sign to Cataract Falls, which is part of Cagles Mill Lake State Park (Leiber State Recreation Area), on our way to other places and say every time that we have to go there. Well, last week we went! It was beautiful out. Cold but not too bad. We had just hiked at Depauw Nature Preserve in Greencastle (a great new find for us!!) and decided to take advantage and stop by the Cataracts. As you can see by the pictures, the ice formations were amazing. We didn’t really do any real hiking, just walked to the falls and looked at them in wonder. I’m sure as a youngster I’ve been here. Husband says was here as a youngster, too, but this was the first for daughter Stephanie. So we can check off Cagles Mill Lake State Park (Leiber State Recreation Area) from our To Visit List.

Birds seen at Depauw Nature Preserve:

  1. American Robin (heard)
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. Dark-Eyed Junco
  4. Pileated Woodpecker
  5. Song Sparrow
  6. Red-tailed Hawk
  7. White-Throated Sparrow
  8. Barred Owl (heard)
  9. Carolina Wren
  10. Northern Flicker
  11. Carolina Chickadee
  12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  13. White-breasted Nuthatch
  14. Northern Cardinal
  15. Yellow-rumped Warbler – found dead from hitting the window at the nature center

Cataract Falls lower falls

On the way home we saw a Great Blue Heron and seven Wild Turkeys.

I think it is going to be a busy and fun and educational year! Hopefully I’ll keep up better on my posts!

Categories: Birding, Hiking, State Parks Indiana | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Has Winter’s Grip Been Broken? March 7-9, 2015

Stephanie and I were finally able to get outside this weekend and hike again! We haven’t really been able to do so since our First Day Hike. Between snow storms, ice storms, bad roads, frigid temps, vehicle failures and commitments, we have not been able to get out and hike as we would have liked.

Photo of an orange oak leaf in the iceOn Saturday, as we unloaded our recycling at our local drop off location, we heard our first killdeer of the season.

On Sunday, we went to  Rock River landing to take a short hike on the Sugar Creek Rail Trail. After carefully making our way up the steep, icy embankment at the trail head, we walked to the Nucor Bridge on Sugar Creek, which was mostly frozen over still.

 Birds seen:

  1. Bald eagle
  2. Downy Woodpecker
  3. Chickadee
  4. Nuthatch
  5. Junco
  6. Canada geese
  7. Robins
  8. Tufted Titmice
  9. Blue Jays
  10. Cardinals

On our way home, we saw:

  1. Kestrel (many)
  2. Turkey Vultures (yay!)
  3. Robins
  4. Red-tail hawk stooping from wire to field for its prey
  5. Red shouldered hawk
  6.  Horned Larks
  7. Mixed Blackbird flock

Eagle Creek reservoir by Stephanie CainMonday found us heading to Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. This is our second time to visit this park together. we are really impressed with it. I had visited previously with my husband to attend his company picnics, which left no real time to hike or bird.

We parked at the Ornithology Center and started down a trail that would connect us to the Red Trail out and around the causeway around the Bird Sanctuary, This is a very easy hike and very pretty.

Although most of the reservoir was still iced over, the area where the current evidently runs was still open. We were able to catch sight of several flotillas of ducks and Canada geese.

Several surprises for us were spotting a wood thrush and a wonderful long look at a Peregrine falcon.

We saw sign of beaver, but didn’t see any beaver themselves. We saw a pair of mallards possibly looking for a nest site.

As we lingered at the observation room at the Ornithology Center (Wonderful place to spend an afternoon) we were able to spot and ID mute swans and common mergansers.

Peregrine Falcon, photo by Stephanie CainBird List for Eagle Creek:

  1. Red Shouldered Hawk
  2. Peregrine Falcon
  3. Coopers Hawk
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Nut hatch
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. Chickadee
  8. Down Woodpecker
  9. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  10. Cardinal
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Field Sparrow
  13. Song Sparrow
  14. Wood Thrush
  15. Mute Swan
  16. Canada Geese
  17. Goldeneye
  18. Wood Duck
  19. Common merganser
  20. Bufflehead
  21. Mallards

What a wonderful weekend with the promise of more to come!

Categories: Birding, Marion County, Montgomery 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

Starkey Nature Park

Daughter Stephanie introduced me to a new place to hike back on July 28th. Starkey Nature Park is located in Zionsville, Indiana. It is not too terribly far from home.

Starkey has a system of about 6 nicely laid out trails accessible from two separate points. We accessed it from the Zionsville Rail Trail. Zionsville has a wonderful Bike/Hike Trail system going for them. They evidently place a high value on their health and well being and think trails are important. (So do I.)

We walked along Eagle Creek on part of the trail along the bottomlands. Part of a trail we walked on was open prairie along the length of a high voltage power line right of way – wonderful use of this space, I might add! This trail led up to the main parking area.

While we were walking along the rail trail portion, we heard a commotion in the trees. What ensued was a very loud chase through the treetops of three juvenile Cooper’s Hawks. Two of them were chasing the one who had the prey. Since I had forgotten the binoculars in the car, we couldn’t see exactly what the catch-of-the-day was, but evidently it was very much coveted by the siblings.

We watched them for quite a while until they flew with their prey out of sight.

While we were hiking along the prairie section, which was bordered on each side by woods, we heard the scream of a hawk – one that Stephanie was well acquainted with as she had a nesting pair on the grounds of her job. Two Red-Shouldered Hawks were talking from one side to the other.

Our Bird List for the day:
Grey Catbird
Red-Eyed Vireo
Indigo Bunting
American Goldfinch
Red-Shouldered Hawk
Carolina Wren
Blue Jay
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great Blue Heron
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
American Robin
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Downy Woodpecker

All in all, a great experience. If you live close enough to make a visit to this park and trail system, I would highly recommend it.

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Categories: Birding, Boone County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Signs of Spring

What are the signs of Spring to you? I have a few touchstone species that always give me hope in the midst of the cold, wintry and very long February!

Robins. I saw my first one on the property this year on January 31. Although they are not my definitive species as we generally have overwintering robins in some of the surrounding cities, I still like to see them.

Skunk Cabbage. Any plant that can bloom in the midst of the icy marsh has my vote as a harbinger of Spring. Check out Jim McCormac’s blog post about skunk cabbage and my previous mentions of this species…

Skunks. Always noticeable this time of year are all the dead skunks in the middle of the road! And also very noticeable the other evening was the smell of the skunk on our front and back porches. One probably ran into the fat opossums eating out of my tray feeder.

Killdeer. We heard our first killdeer of the year as we were hanging up the kestrel box on Sunday.

Turkey Vultures. We always are quite excited to see our first turkey vultures of the year, which we saw February 17 this year. There is nothing like watching turkey vultures lazily drifting in the thermals on a sunny day. I often wish I could be up there with them being lifted and turned by the warm thermals.

Categories: First Of Year, First of Year, Spring | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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