Posts Tagged With: red-shouldered hawk

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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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

A Great Day at Goose Pond

Goose Pond Does Not Disappoint – March 13, 2016

I had been seeing posts from other bloggers and E-bird lists saying that great amounts of American Pelicans had been seen Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area. So my husband said my daughter and I should to go. Now when we’ve gone hunting particular birds, our track record is not all that great. I had told him after our fruitless trip to see short-eared owls at Kankakee Sands again this year that I was NOT going to chase a particular bird.

But we took off Sunday in overcast, rainy conditions and drove the 2 hours to get there. And it continued to rain off and on all day, but what a day!!!

It didn’t take us long to find the pelicans – bazillions of them!!! (That’s an official birding term, I’m sure.) They were quite a ways away, but they are so huge they are unmistakable. And every so often they would fly up and over and circle around to give us the classic pelican view!

Pelicans - LOTS

I read in my field guides that the American Pelican is the inland pelican seen on lakes and along rivers in the middle of the continent. My daughter had seen them on a trip to Yellowstone Nation Park with her grandparents. I had seen them in North Dakota on a family trip when I was in high school. It is quite a shock to see them when you equate pelicans with the ocean and seashore. The American Pelican also fishes along the surface of the water as it swims catching fish and smaller organisms while I have seen the Brown Pelican fold its wings close to its body and bomb into the ocean to come up with a fish in its pouch.

Pelicans

As we were driving around the roads looking for other birds and trying to get a closer view of the pelicans, we stopped and walked along a trail and noticed two large white birds. Now I knew people had seen these birds here, but I assumed it was by hard core birders, not amateurs like I am. Wrong! WHOOPING CRANES!!! And not just those two, but as we drove around, we saw three more at another location – one of which was a juvenile and then another two as we were getting ready to each our lunch.

Whooping Crane

We saw three eagle, one of which was juvenile. And our favorite duck – another bazillion American Coots!

The day turned sunny and warm – 70 degrees – as we traversed the roads. We kept running into a caravan of cars where the people all had huge cameras and tripods. We stopped after seeing the first two whooping cranes and my daughter went over and asked if they’d seen them. They hadn’t, so she gave them directions to where we had found them. After reading one of my favorite blogger’s post, I’m wondering if it was Jim McCormac as he was here helping lead a photography class the same day. I would have loved to have met him, as he has been a great help to me in learning new things in nature just by reading his blog and applying what I have learned.

We finally decided we needed to leave for our 2 hour drive back home, but as we were leaving, my daughter said, “Goose Pond has not disappointed us!”

Whooping Cranes with immature

Goose Pond Birds:

  1. Red Winged Black bird
  2. Kestrel
  3. Mallard
  4. American Coot
  5. American Pelican
  6. Whooping Crane
  7. Eastern Meadowlark
  8. Wood duck
  9. Redhead
  10. Killdeer
  11. Mourning Dove
  12. Bufflehead
  13. Bald Eagle
  14. Sandhill Crane
  15. Downy Woodpecker
  16. White Breasted Nuthatch
  17. Yellow-shafted Flicker
  18. American Crow
  19. Canada Goose
  20. Song Sparrow
  21. Field Sparrow
  22. Chipping Sparrow
  23. American Tree Sparrow
  24. Northern Harrier
  25. Northern Shoveler
  26. Canvasback
  27. Lesser Scaup
  28. Greater Scaup
  29. Ring Necked Duck
  30. Woodcock – H
  31. Red Tailed Hawk (with a snake in its talons)
  32. Bronzed Grackles

In Linton:

  1. Red Shouldered Hawk

On way Home:

  1. Wild Turkey
  2. Turkey Vulture
Categories: Bicentennial Birding Big Year, Birding, Life Birds | 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

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

Birding at the Study

DSC_0236

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

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

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