Posts Tagged With: Carolina Chickadee

First Hike of 2017 – Shades State Park

Even though rain was forecast for January 2, SAC and I met up with a coworker at Shades State Park this morning. He has a knowledge of orchids and was showing us some places that they grow in Shades and Pine Hills. After walking around the top of Trail 1, we decided to hike trail 10 over to Pine Hills.

shades

Now, I had spent the most part of the week between Christmas and New Year’s eating cookies and reading cozy mysteries, so not in the best of shape. SAC had spent several days laying around with a migraine and some kind of bug. (Not that we were in the best of shape anyway, since it had been several weeks since our last hike!)

Let’s just say, the steps down to the backbones KILLED us! Calves and thighs and oh my! We were both so out of shape that walking up and down stairs at home and work the following day were very painful. Add to that the grace that I was not born with that allowed me to slip down a muddy creek bank and land hard with my already sore shoulder still hanging on to a sapling and you have a very sore old woman. (At least I feel old this week!)

Anyway, we had a wonderful time hiking at our favorite place. Photos are never enough to give the full experience. The sights and smells of the mostly quiet forest calmed our souls and erased the headaches that we had when we arrived.

We were able to learn about several orchid species and can’t wait to locate them during bloom time.

Birds were scarce, but the regulars were there: Nuthatch, chickadees, blue jays, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, crow, geese and possible ovenbird. First time we haven’t seen an eagle here in a long time, though.

Great time at our favorite place! Go out and hike, no matter the weather.

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Prophetstown State Park – March 29, 2016

SAC and I decided to run up to Prophetstown State Park today. We had a sunny start to the day with a temperature of 46 degrees.

A sign on a roadblock across one of the roads blocked off the “back” portion of the park for a controlled burn of the prairie. We decided to hike Trail 1 (I think it is) through the campground and then Trail 2 to the Fishing Pond and then back the same part of Trail 2 to Trail 1 to the Bluestem picnic area.

Prophetstown burn

Birds Seen:

  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Blue Jay
  • House Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Red-shouldered Hawk pair chasing Red-tailed Hawk pair in a dramatic aerial flight
  • Field Sparrow
  • Northern Flicker
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Red-winged Blackbirds
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Song Sparrow
  • Mallard
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Bluebird
  • Barn Swallow

Prophetstown burn2

By the time we hiked to the Fishing Pond, the park employees had started the controlled burn. It looked to be the area on Trail 3 and the part of Trail 2 that was on the South side of the road. We watch the massive flames and huge roils of smoke as the fire quickly caught and then just as quickly extinguished. We watch for a long time as they fire came closer to the road.

As we walked back to our car, we decided to eat our lunch facing the fire and watch even longer. Check out this DNR explanation for the reason State Parks and other prairie reserves have controlled burns.

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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

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

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

Bicentennial Birding Big Year Continues

January 30. On the last Saturday of the month, we went on a bird hike in Celery Bog in West Lafayette led by Barny Dunning, professor of Wildlife Ecology at Purdue University. It was a great, informative hike on a “crisp” 40 degree day with the sun shining (most of the time!)

2016-01-30 09.46.29-1We were able to add several birds to our list only because we had experts with us in the field explaining their field marks and the similarities and differences.

Birds Seen at Celery Bog

  1. Cackling Goose
  2. White Fronted Goose
  3. Snow Goose
  4. White fronted Canada Cross
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Ring-necked Duck
  7. Mute Swan
  8. American Coot
  9. Gadwall
  10. Northern Shoveler
  11. Mallard
  12. Black Duck
  13. Coopers hawk
  14. Northern flicker
  15. Cardinal
  16. Tufted Titmouse
  17. Dark-eyed Junco
  18. Chickadee
  19. Red bellied woodpecker
  20. Nuthatch

We also saw about 12 muskrats on the ice! They were diving for underwater foliage and then bringing it up in the sunshine to munch on! I have never seen so many muskrats so close.

We decided to continue our birding day by ourselves and went north to Benton County.

Birds seen while driving:

  1. Bald Eagles on Wabash River
  2. American Crow
  3. American Kestrel

At Pine Creek Gamebird Habitat Area in Benton County:

  1. Rough-legged Hawk

At Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, Morroco, IN:

  1. Blue Jay
  2. Red Headed Woodpecker
  3. Red-tailed hawk
  4. Northern Harrier

A great day. Special thanks to Barny Dunning and the entire group of guys we hike with at Celery Bog. It was a great, fun & informative morning!

2016-01-30 09.46.39

Categories: Benton County, Birding, Life Birds, Tippecanoe County | 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

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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