Mid-Year Review

Jaime took Walter to the zoo today with a friend, and I had the day off, so that meant I was able to spend the morning biking to Eagle Marsh. There is still a lot of flooding here, but my route was doable if not muddy. As always, I took a ride through Foster Park first.

Hole 14 Fairway

Hole 14 Fairway

The golf course at Foster is just about wrecked. This stretch of grass is usually nice green fairway, and there are no water features at all on the course.

The Carnage

The Carnage

The entire two-mile trail around the course looked pretty much like this. I would wager that every single worm in the vicinity drowned. Watch your step.

High Water Mark

High Water Mark

This tree still had the high water mark clearly visible on it, about 7 feet above ground level.

The Mud

The Mud

A nice muddy stripe also coated the habitat along the river. Note: Fort Wayne has a combined stormwater and sewer overflow pipe. So that means when the system gets deluged, both types of water mix together. You probably don’t need to imagine the smell of this picture.

The Wind

The Wind

On top of the flooding, last week a mighty windstorm blew through town, which did not help anything.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

The turtles didn’t mind, however. My identified turtles life list now stands at 2!

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee

The birds also seemed to manage okay.

American Mink

American Mink

After I finally made it to Eagle Marsh, I was greeted immediately by a fly-over Green Heron, good for motorless bird #101. Then this American Mink crossed the trail in front of me. I have seen them before, including being witness to one’s brutal takedown of a female Mallard, but I had never gotten a photo. Of course the one shot I got this time is blurry.

Snails

Snails

As I made my way through the water-logged trails, I felt a sickening crunch at one point, looked down, and saw that I was standing in the middle of hundreds of snails. Watch your step. I won’t begin to guess an ID.

Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog

Also present: tons of Northern Leopard Frogs (and my identified frog life list now stands at 1!).

Osprey

Osprey

Despite all these photos, I really was out looking for birds. I heard a bunch of Marsh Wrens in the cattails around me, and since I don’t list heard-only birds, I was bound and determined to actually see one. While I waited for one to show itself, a big raptor flew into my peripheral vision. At first I thought it was a Bald Eagle, but instead it was an Osprey. This is a county bird for me, and not one that was on my radar. It is not anything earth-shattering to find an Osprey in Allen County, but they don’t seem to be reliable anywhere. So this was a right place, right time bird that I luckily stumbled into for motorless #102. And I did see a Marsh Wren eventually as well for #103, and on the way out I happened upon a Mute Swan with cygnet for #104.

I have exceeded my original goal, and am now just going to push this list as high as it will go. At the halfway point of the year, my best birds so far are Snow Goose and Osprey. I have lifered 5 times while motorless: Canvasback, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-Winged Warbler, Northern Parula, and Yellow-Breasted Chat. My biggest misses so far are Great Egret, Pied-Billed Grebe, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, and Eastern Meadowlark. Good birding to you all!

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4 thoughts on “Mid-Year Review

  1. Geez there was some biblical-scale weather up in there.
    As was the case back then, the birds see,ed to come out ok.

    You’re just IDing everything left and right, and in other directions as well!

    • Word. I feel like the manservant from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea… That Belgian guy who just goes around saying the names of all the seashell… What was his name?

  2. Wow, you’re doing awesome! Once you start identifying birds you just have to know what everything else is too.. You’re creeping up on your motorless list, I might have to start working on mine again!

    • Thanks! I may or may not have been watching your tally all along… It has been some good motivation to keep growing the list.

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