Monday, January 31, 2011
Here is a bunny for everyone's Monday morning. Wild rabbits eat their food, mostly grasses that are hard to digest, twice. The first time the food goes through them it comes out as pellets that are re-eaten and more easily digested the second time.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Below is this week's mystery picture. Leave me your guess, in the comments, of where in Indiana you think this picture was taken. All correct guesses will be entered into a drawing on the first day of spring. The winner will receive a free set of Blue Heron Moon Notecards.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Unfortunately, it is often the things that make us the happiest and healthiest that get placed on the cutting block first; things like state and federal park funding.
Besides keeping us healthy and active, wild places nurture and heal us. Occasionally great things come out of this melding of humanity and nature. Almost everyone has heard of Walden Pond and the great Thoreau. An Indiana author of the same caliber came out of the swamps and wildflower fields of Indiana.
In Gene Stratton Porter's The Song of the Cardinal, Stratton-Porter takes the reader inside the mind and life of a male cardinal. The book is a haunting reminder that mankind is not the only intelligence on earth and that good stewardship of our wild areas should be a requirement in good times as well as bad.
The Song of the Cardinal is a short book that can be read in an afternoon. And I guarantee once you pick it up, like all Stratton-Porter's books, you won't be able to put it down.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Every animal, no matter how tiny, leaves footprints in the snow.
Even Coffee Creek leaves a trail of shelf ice along its banks to catch tiny prints of creatures stopping for a drink.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
This photo is the January sun rising over the Little Calumet River. An amazing amount of wildlife makes it's home on this 1/4 mile stretch of the river in a fairly urban area.
I found this stretch of the river after a hectic day at work some years ago. Since then, I've stopped by frequently and watched the seasons pass in this little piece of the world.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Like most animal populations, deer will over grow their food source until the population plummets from starvation.
It's always nice to see healthy deer such as this one hanging around in the winter. It has to be rough for these guys to find winter forage inspite of all the extra food the area provides.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Since then the muskrat population has crashed and is now on the rebound; a reminder of the cycles of nature that are greater than a calendar year.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I can't decide which season makes Oakridge shine the best. I guess they are all my favorite seasons at Oakridge:
This week's mystery picture is fairly easy; so no clue is necessary. Leave your guess in the comments. If it's correct we'll throw your name in the first day of spring notecard drawing:
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
With their fuzzy new antlers on top of their heads, they were more concerned with feeding on the vegetation than with me snapping their picture.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
They have an unmistakable call which gives them their common name, Bobwhite.
This bird is male. Females lack the white areas on the head.
I have often wondered why quail are not considered as song birds. They remain hunted in many areas of the country even though sightings like this bird are rare and their sweet calls toward evening are even rarer.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
|Chloe, a Meerkat/Yorkie blend peering |
This week's mystery picture is a little more difficult, so a clue is included: This is also in a county park in the Northwest corner of Indiana. Leave a guess in the comments and you just might win the Blue Heron Moon Notecard set drawing on the first day of spring. Good luck!
Friday, January 14, 2011
On my bookshelf I have an old copy of Where the Birds Are by John Oliver Jones. The book is full of maps, wildlife spots, and information on birds to look for in each location.
This book is not a field guide; you won't find pictures of any birds inside. What you will find is the most comprehensive amount of information brought together in one place on where you might go to observe certain species and at what time of the year you need to be at a given location for viewing.
I plan to get this book off the shelf again some snowy day this winter and dream of some place to go this spring to add another bird to my life list.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Hard to believe that underneath grows the promise of the springtime.
“SOFTLY sinking through the snow,
To our winter rest we go,
Underneath the snow to house
Till the birds be in the boughs,
And the boughs with leaves be fair,
And the sun shine everywhere.
“Softly through the snow we settle,
Little snow-drops press each petal.
Oh, the snow is kind and white,—
Soft it is, and very light;
Soon we shall be where no light is,
But where sleep is, and where night is,—
Sleep of every wind unshaken,
Till our Summer bids us waken.”
Then toward some far-off goal that singing drew;
Then altogether ceas’d; more steely blue
The blue stars shone; but in my spirit grew
Hope of Summer, love of Roses,
Certainty that Sorrow closes.
From Garden Fairies by
Philip Bourke Marston (1850–87)
Philip Bourke Marston (1850–87)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Deer are not very good at discerning immovable objects, so when I spotted this doe, I froze and the deer knew that she had saw movement but couldn't know for sure unless I moved again.
I stood still and watched her forage a little while longer and eventually she moved on. Here's to looking forward to summer on this cold January morning!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The sky is so blue, its reflection in the snow sets off a million tiny prisms; sparkling minature rainbows flash at your eyes.
On such a walk, I long to taste the astringent flavor of a falling snowflake or smell the damp papery scent of the sleeping birch tree.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The Whitebreasted Nuthatch moves down a tree head first in search of food filling a niche left by the Brown Creeper that moves up trees head up.
This bird loves to munch suet, insects, sunflowers, and peanuts. It will eat one seed at a time; jamming the seed into the bark of a tree and then pecking away at it.
The Whitebreasted Nuthatch forages with other species; titmouse, chickadees, woodpeckers and they all learn each others 911 call. The more eyes watching for danger the better.
This looks to be a male because of the dark head cap; on a female it would be grayer.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The park also has some of the best fishing and hunting in Indiana. The wetlands and fields are a great place to view deer, herons, egrets, swans, coyote, wild turkey, and fields flaming full of wildflowers each summer.
Some really good sized smallmouth and largemouth bass can be caught from the river bank in this park.
This weeks picture for a chance to be in the drawing should be easier; leave your guess in the comments to win the note cards on the first day of spring:
Friday, January 7, 2011
Wetlands clean a lot of the poisons that we humans leave in our wake. Things like pesticides and fertilizers from farming along the river go into the river. People who use the area also leave things behind like horse and dog dung. And then there are things that float down through the area with the river water; maybe a big factory farm that leaches antibiotics and chemicals from raising chickens and eggs. All these things can be filtered somewhat through a wetland.
The book that made the biggest difference to me about the havoc that pollutants can make to the environment is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Ms. Carson was just a regular person who noticed that birds had been quietly disappearing. She found the source was pollution and did something about it. Re-reading the book every now and then reminds me of the part we all take in making the pollution and the impact that it has on the water, air, and land that we share with all the creatures on the fragile planet Earth.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Both woodpeckers have white bellies that reflect light back into holes in trees. They can hit a tree with their bills at 13-15 mph.
If you want to attract them to your feeder this winter, get some suet and a feeder that has a tail prop for the birds to balance on. You may have to be patient, but within a couple of days the woodpeckers will find you.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A few years ago there was a muskrat boom at the Grand Kankakee Marsh. The living was easy for the little critters; full of cattails and aquatics to eat. There were lodges everywhere in the marsh.
One day, towards the end of winter, I came across this family taking part in the mid-day warmth of the sun. The smallest members of the family were heavily guarded up on top of the hut, while older members swam around, grabbed some weeds, and had a nibble.
At one point one of the babies on the hut got too comfortable sleeping and rolled off. What a commotion it caused as the older ones rushed to the rescue and got the baby back up to safety!
This year's lodge population is still low; nothing compared to the year the photo was taken. The boom apparently created a food shortage; the cattails still haven't recovered. Hopefully, when they do, there will be other opportunities to view these fun creatures.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
This lily was caught in the act of unfolding. The centers of the flowers are quite interesting. Don't you think?