Heritage Park Update

Heritage Park Update by Goyo P
Heritage Park Update, a photo by Goyo P on Flickr.

The following information is for those who may be interested in the oil drilling located at Heritage Park and how it relates to bird habitat. I will attempt to offer an unbiased report of the situation.

The well-head is located next to the barns near the existing soccer fields. I am not sure what the green solution is within the containment area? I am assuming it is what they refer to as drilling brine. I do not know what it consists of? I have heard that it is corrosive. If anyone knows please feel free to comment. There is a wetland approximately 400 yards to the left of this picture. This wetland tends to hold the highest concentration of birds at Heritage Park. The containment area appears to be sufficient to keep the unknown solution from spilling into the wetland.

I started birding the wetland at approximately 12:30 pm. The Cattail marsh was active with Song Sparrows and Carolina Wrens. A flock of approximately 20 Tree Sparrow flushed as I crossed the boardwalk. Two Brown Creepers were seen along the hillside. There were plenty of Chickadees, Junco, Crow, Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Titmouse and Northern Cardinal. I dipped on Fox Sparrow and Thrushes. I heard a few Red-winged Blackbirds. One Turkey Vulture made a pass over the wetland. I heard Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, however I was not able to see them through the low clouds. The same goes with Red-tailed Hawks. Several Killdeer were heard but not seen. One Horned Lark was heard but not seen. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were very active today. At least five were seen chasing each other around. They appeared to be all males so I am assuming they were establishing territory but that’s just a guess. Carolina Wrens were very vocal. I watched one fly to its nest. The snow is melting but the ground is still partially frozen so it was possible to walk through some areas that wont be accessible in a few days. Skunk Cabbage is just starting to poke out of the ground.

Before the Storm

Before the Storm by Goyo P
Before the Storm, a photo by Goyo P on Flickr.

Birding is different for everyone. Some folks like to “capture” birds with photographs. I like to do that occasionally. Some folks like to sit in their living room and watch them from the comfort of their favorite recliner. Some folks like to compete to see if they see the most birds in one year. As for me, I like to dabble in a little bit of each of these things. But more than anything, I just like to be outside with the birds. I knew a storm was coming today. I knew I had some free time this morning. So naturally I found the closest park to walk around to look and listen to the sights and sounds of nature. Today, that place was Island Park in Adrian (MI). I’ve known Island Park for a long time; spent many summers there as a young boy playing baseball. When I was not playing baseball I was wading down the creek looking for crayfish or leaches to poke my stick at. It’s a lot different now. My memories are marred with scandals and news of a dead body found there. A fisherman had apparently drowned. I think that was the story? And now there’s news that the Recreation Department might be abolished. Despite all these things the birds still come and go as always. There’s an owl that hangs out down there but I’ve never seen it. I just hear stories from friends who have seen it hunting along the river. With the ice storm approaching it was hard to find birds this morning. Trees were swaying and the wind was howling. But there’s one spot along the river that is sheltered from the wind by a high bank. I sought shelter there…and so did the birds. The first birds I heard were Carolina Wrens. For such a small body they really belt out a loud song. Two Downey Woodpeckers were chasing each other. Two Red-bellied Woodpeckers were calling back and forth. Two Mallards flushed to my left. I was getting suspicious of all the birds being found in pairs when I finally saw three Northern Cardinals. Moments later I began to hear some unfamiliar call notes…not unfamiliar to me, just unfamiliar to the time of year. They were White-throated Sparrows. I watched them for a long time before I felt tiny ice particles landing on my back. I said goodbye to the sparrows. I wasn’t wearing my rain gear so I headed back to my vehicle. The sparrow said goodbye in return by singing, “Oh sam peabody, peabody, peabody”.  Now that’s a good memory to have.