Posts Tagged With: black-capped chickadee

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.

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Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, 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

Adopt A Trail

Hike Date: August 31, 2014
Indiana State Parks has a volunteer program called Adopt A Trail in which volunteers agree to walk their chosen trail once a month and check on trail conditions, pick up litter, and notify park officials as to any problems with the trail.

Stephanie and I decided to adopt the Backpack Trail and Canoe Camp at our absolute favorite state park in Indiana – Shades.

For those who have never visited this park, you are missing a gem. It is a beautiful place in Montgomery County along Sugar Creek. The trails are along ravines, in upland woods, hemlock ridges and along prairie (formerly known as the Roscoe-Turner Airstrip.)

This was our fourth month to hike the trail in this capacity. We have hiked the seven-mile round trip in as little as 3-1/2 hours and as long as 7 hours. This time was a moderate pace at 5 hours.photo 1

It is always interesting to walk the same trail on a regular basis to see the different flora and fauna present.

This was a day of tiny toads and frogs and fungi and plants setting seeds.

Items of note:

  • Doll’s eyes / White Banebarry
  • Jack in the pulpit seed pod
  • Tiny toads
  • Fungi
  • Spice Bush Berries
  • Pawpaw (Indiana Banana) Fruit
  • Giant Lobelia
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Tall Bellflower
  • Brown Eyed Susan

Birds seen:

  • Chickadee
  • Down Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Northern Cardinal
  • American Crow
  • Blue Jay
  • Eastern Wood Pewee

 

Categories: Birding, Shades State Park | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birding at the Study

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On Saturday, I went with daughter to work to retrieve my car and do some birding at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. They have a Red-Shouldered Hawk pair nesting there in one of the trees. I saw one bird on the nest and moved slightly to see if the other was behind on a branch. Mind you, I was on the sidewalk quite a distance from them – about half the distance of the Study north to south. One of them flew straight for me! Of course, with the long lens on the camera, I had absolutely no chance of getting a photo! (Besides – I was making my way quickly back to the carriage house! To get my daughter and show it to her, yes, that’s why I was going quickly!!)

Also saw on the Study grounds:

  • Chickadees
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Cardinals
  • & heard some type of woodpecker

The afternoon before, I had snapped several pictures of one of them drinking out of a wading pool.

 

red-shouldered

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

Kestrel Box Project

Kestrel Box Construction 2My wonderful husband is very supportive of my addiction to nature. He attended the American Kestrel Partnership workshop given by the Indiana Audubon Society at Cool Creek Nature Center back at the first of February.

He then proceeded to build me a kestrel box according to their specifications.

Finally yesterday, the weather was cooperative enough for us to mount the nesting box on one of the big maple trees across our second drive today. The kestrels have nested nearby maple, but the power company has marked it to be cut down. We are hoping to lure it Kestrel Box Treeto the new box. We hope to add another box on the opposite corner of our 3 acre plot. Conservation chair Jeff Canada said we could probably support two kestrel nests on our property.

Our land is a 3 acre wooded plot set in the midst of farmlands. We also hope to put up a similar box for the screech owls that we have nesting here every year. There nesting hole is in a branch that overhangs our power line and every year I am afraid that it is either going to blow down in a storm Kestrel Box Mountedor the power company is going to cut it down.

I’m hoping hubby will make a few chickadee and wren houses to add around the property. We have quite a few old and holey trees on the property and the birds and mammals have no problems finding homes, but I want to be as nature friendly as possible.

Categories: Birding, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count logo

As I have in the past few years, I counted birds in my backyard for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place February 15, 16, 17 and 18. All they (GBBC is a joint project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada) ask you to do is count the highest number of each species seen during your reported period. This can be as little as 15 minutes a day. The hardest part of this is counting the little spatzies that flock to my tray feeder each day. I know I am not “supposed” to like House Sparrows as they are not native, but they are very beautiful birds.

My counts for the day are:

Species February 15 February 16 February 17 February 18
American Crow 1 1
American Robin 1
American Tree Sparrow 3 3
Black Capped Chickadee 2 2 1
Blue Jay 3 3
Cardinal 4 5 5
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1
Dark-eyed Junco 2 1
Downy Woodpecker 1 2
European Starling 1
House Finch 1 4
House Sparrow 34 44 40
Mourning Doves 2 2 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1 1
Tufted Titmouse 1 1
White Breasted Nuthatch 2 1
Time Counted 2 hours 15 minutes 6 hours 30 minutes 30 minutes Was not able to keep count

As usual family obligations and something called jobs, prevented us from counting much on all days, but the count is a pretty good overall picture of our backyard birds. The Mourning Dove count is way down from several years ago. 2010 saw 30-50 birds.

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Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Great Backyard Bird Count, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | 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

Rock River Landing Eagle Nest


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Sunny and cold today, 23-29 F with a snow cover. Typical birds at the backyard feeder:

  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Chickadee
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Starlings
  • House Sparrows
  • Cardinals
  • Blue Jay
  • Junco
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker

Went to Rock River Landing along the Sugar Creek Rail Trail in Crawfordsville to look at the eagle nest. It’s right off the parking lot!

Saw an adult eagle on our way there, flying upstream along Sugar Creek at the SR 136 bridge.Saw 3 kestrels on the drive and 2 red-tails. Also saw a Turkey Vulture flying over the Kroger parking lot!

Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Montgomery County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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