Posts Tagged With: Carolina wren

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

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.









Categories: Birding, Boone 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

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

Midwinter Eagle Census at West Union Bridge

DSC_0001Who in their right mind would get up at 5:30 on a January Saturday? We did! Fortunately it wasn’t like previous West Union Bridge trips as it was mid 50s rather than 20 and snowy! We were really blessed when we arrived at the bridge to find another vehicle there and it was DNR bird Biologist Amy Kearns. She was there to take the midwinter eagle census for the DNR. She seemed glad for extra pairs of eyes. The purpose of the census is to get an idea of how many eagles are overwintering in Indiana. She was counting from 7 to 9 AM.

DSC_0036One year we saw more than 50 eagles, and the next we saw fewer than 20, so we weren’t sure what to expect. The flight began slowly, with one or two birds flying over at a time. After the first half hour or so, there was a slight lull and we saw a mature bald eagle (one of the few) flying back upriver. A few minutes later, we had another increase.

In between eagles, we also observed or heard several robins, bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, a tufted titmouse, nuthatches, Carolina wrens, and several red-winged blackbirds back for the winter! (As a side note, later that day, we saw seven turkey vultures in a group, and then observed many more flying singly or in smaller groups. The birds must think the worst of winter is past.)


As we neared 9 AM another vehicle drove up to the bridge. It was a couple from Fort Wayne who had come hoping to see eagles. We weren’t sure if they would get the chance, as the flight of eagles had slowed to a trickle. As we stood and talked, however, another bald eagle flew over, and it was a mature one. We talked for a few more minutes, exchanging email addresses and thanking Amy for sharing her expertise with us. A few minutes after 9, when we probably would already have been gone without having other people around, we got a special treat–a fully mature golden eagle flew overhead! It was a lifelister for both of us, so we spent more time looking at it through binoculars than we did photographing.DSC_0063

After we left West Union, we paid visits to two of the area eagle nests. On our way, we saw a lone mature bald eagle flying along a treeline. When we arrived at Baird’s Sugar Shack, we saw that the nest near the sugar camp had two adult eagles nearby, watching over it. The nest near Clinton Falls only had one adult watching, but it looks like the breeding pairs are already staking out their territory and getting ready to start their families.

All in all, it was a great day! At the bridge we saw 59 bald eagles and 1 golden eagle. Then we saw 4 additional adult bald eagles.





Categories: Birding, Life Birds, Parke County, Putnam County | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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