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.
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 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.
This tree still had the high water mark clearly visible on it, about 7 feet above ground level.
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.
On top of the flooding, last week a mighty windstorm blew through town, which did not help anything.
The turtles didn’t mind, however. My identified turtles life list now stands at 2!
The birds also seemed to manage okay.
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.
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.
Also present: tons of Northern Leopard Frogs (and my identified frog life list now stands at 1!).
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!