Posts Tagged With: red-winged blackbird

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.

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

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

Happy SPRING!

Red-winged blackbird

Categories: Birding | 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

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

Wednesday in the Wild – Up-Close Bird ID Using Mist Nets

Today I took my older sister BJ to the Wednesday in the Wild program at Wah-Ba-Shika Nature Center in Battleground, Indiana. Mick and Sally Weeks, Purdue Department of Forestry & Natural Resources, were the presenters of this week’s program.

Mick Weeks explained that in research, it is easier if you have the bird in hand in order to sex the bird, age the bird, and get an overall census of the area.

You need a federal permit to capture the birds. A bird left in a mist net for as little as 30 minutes is in danger of dying. Songbirds are protected by law in the U.S. and it is illegal to have birds, nests, or feathers. In Europe, it is still legal to capture and eat songbirds.

Why is ageing a bird important? To assess productivity of birds in a certain area. It general takes about two weeks for birds to mature from hatching to flying.

Looking at plumage helps sex the bird. This time of year, birds may still be brooding. Mostly female birds have a brood patch. Most males do not help with brooding. A brood patch will show as a raised, blister-like area filled with fluid if she is still incubating.

Dr. Weeks also talked about bird banding, although they didn’t band any birds today.

Birds Netted:

  • Goldfinch – male – BJ got to hold him and I got to pet him
  • House Sparrow – male, female, and immature
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – male
  • Red-winged Blackbird – female
Categories: Birding, Tippecanoe County | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sand Hills at Lye Creek Burn

DSC_0402We’d had a fruitless birding trip Sunday so far. We went to Oak Hill Cemetery in Crawfordsville. I had seen an old report that Crossbills had been observed there in December and knew it was a long shot that they would still be there, but it was 64 degrees and sunny and we needed a birding trip!

We didn’t see any.

We decided to swing by Rock River Landing and see if the eagles were on the nest yet.

We didn’t see any.

We did see a huge flock of red-winged blackbirds on our way there though.

DSC_0330We decided to go back home by way of Lye Creek Burn to see if we could see anything. I knew it would be too soggy to drive back to the viewing platform, but thought we could pull in and see what we could see.

We didn’t have to pull in. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of Sandhill Cranes on both sides of the road for more than a mile. At one point there were several on the road itself.

We also saw a wood duck pair, some unidentifiable gull-like birds and heard spring peepers. I also saw a meadowlark on the way home.

DSC_0306

Categories: Amphibians, Birding, Montgomery County, Spring | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: