John Grego, 06/19/06
I was in the Park on Father's Day with my wife Rhonda (the photographer for our trip) and youngest daughter Emily to hike off-trail along the bluff, and maybe find my walking stick, which I lost several months ago. The walk from the after-hours parking lot along the entrance road resulted in the best bird of the day -- a Broad-winged Hawk circling low overhead.
The trail east of the entrance road was the same route as the Friends' botany hike on April 1, but much more difficult to traverse with the summer growth blocking our path. I stopped by the moonshine cooker again, and Rhonda took some interesting pictures as well as the documentary picture below.
Near a hollow tree, we found a black rat snake that looked as though it had just exited. As we watched the snake, we heard high-pitched cries from the tree at about ear level -- a small colony of bats. We couldn't see inside the tree to identify them (not that I know much about bats).
Rhonda got some great pictures at Little Lake -- we had interesting filtered light conditions for much of the hike.
We stopped at the small seep where I had promised jack-in-the-pulpit for the April trip -- they were not evident back then, but past their peak this time around. While Rhonda and Emily were standing on the downed tree I use to identify the seep, Emily was bitten by fire ants, and Rhonda fell and twisted her ankle in her efforts to help Emily. Though they were both fine, this was when the walking-stick search was supposed to start. After searching back and forth briefly through the area where I thought I'd lost the stick (unsuccessfully), we hiked on to Bannister Bridge so they could soak their feet in Cedar Creek, while I walked/jogged back to the Parking Lot along Old Bluff Road (this takes about 40 minutes).
The Park has been birdy this year. I've appended a reasonable list even though that was not the real focus of this trip.
Great Crested Flycatcher
Tufted Titmouse |
Northern Parula Warbler
May 11, 2008 by Edward Kujawski
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