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.
It was such a beautiful day today I had to get outside and stretch my legs…oh and look for some birds along the way. One of my favorite parks for many reasons is Heritage Park on the north side of Adrian along M-52. There is one place in particular that always seems to hold more birds than the rest of the park. To get there first find the Stubnitz Environmental Center parking lot. Follow the main trail leading from the Stubnitz Center until it veers right and down a steep hill. At the bottom take the trail to the right. This trail follows a creek and passes a small pond. The River Raisin is not too far away so much of the area is deciduous floodplain. Expect to find some mud along the way. It was an ideal day for birding this evening. The winds were light. There was just enough wind to tremble the remaining leaves of an Aspen. A majority of the leaves have fallen with exception of the Oaks which hold their leaves through the winter. The usual suspects were easy to spot, such as Chickadees, Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatches, Cardinals and Downy Woodpeckers. I listened for unusual birds. I enjoy birding by ear as much as birding by sight. It’s fun to learn. I learned by listening to Peterson’s Birding by Ear CD. But today it was a little quiet. There were a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets dancing among the branches. Some of them alighted in the brush within a few feet of me. It’s not uncommon to come face to face with kinglets. It’s as if they are just too busy gleaning insects off trees to really pay much attention to anything else. When they do notice you their body language says, “hey what are you doing here?” And, then off they go again. Woodpeckers are always abundant here. Red-bellies were clearly heard and seen. Downys made their downward pitched rattles. I was surprised to see no White-throated Sparrows. It’s never hard to find Black-capped Chickadees. What would birding be without them? They are not shy and seem happy to greet passersby. Crow are very abundant in Lenawee County. It’s easy to ignore them when you see or hear them. But it’s wise to pay attention when you hear their warning calls. It usually means a predator is around. Today was no different. A Red-tailed Hawk was riding the air currents above the tree line. The trail leads through a cattail marsh. I was expecting to see Red-winged Blackbirds. The bird I spotted across the marsh sure looked like a female RWBB. But upon closer inspection through my binoculars I noticed a very large beak and a very obvious white eye line. Was it s a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak?! It sure did look like one. But the distance was really too great to be 100% sure. And, it was in RWBB habitat. As much as I would love to claim a Grosbeak here. I am not 100% sure. So I’ll mark it down as unidentified. This is a typical Fall birding day at Heritage Park. I like the lowland areas for birds. But the upland forest can turn up an occasional Woodcock this time of year. I didn’t have time for that tonight. But there’s always next time. I bird here all year-long. It wont be long before I hit these trails again on a pair of xcc skis.