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8/1/2020 - 8/2/2020


The forecast for the weekend was not great. They almost got it right. I got some birding in anyway. Back to what I know for a couple weekends, and then I am going to make another pass at some night photography.


Saturday was supposed to be rainy. For the most part, it was. I headed over to Eagle Creek Park in the middle of the day to squeeze in some shooting between rain showers. My timing was not perfect, but a little rain is not going to hurt anything, either. On the way, I stopped by Intech Park to check on the remarkably uncooperative Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. He was there! Of course, it was the day I brought along the smaller lens.... Yep, I had to complain about something. He was perched up in a balsam tree, and he showed no signs of coming down soon. I snapped some shots and headed to Eagle Creek.


At Eagle Creek, I headed to the Skating Pond to check things out. The Green Heron and Belted Kingfisher were very busy. On the backside of the pond, I had a lot of activity where they had recently bushhogged a lot of the honeysuckle bush. Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula, and a few Gray Catbirds were hopping around.

After a donating a little blood to the local mosquito population, I headed over to the Discovery Center to check the hummingbird feeders. They were very busy. I messed around there for a while but did not get much in the way of photos. I was trying something new, and I pretty much failed. Live and learn. At least I was sheltered from the rain shower.


I checked the weather Saturday night, and the forecast for Sunday was much improved. I set my alarm for 5 AM and made plans to visit one of my favorite state parks - Prophetstown. 5 is early. I was out the door a little late, but it did not matter. The rain set in just north of Indy and stayed with me all the way to West Lafayette. I checked the radar and knew it would eventually clear. I parked and waited a bit. As soon as it let up, I got out for some pretty ugly shooting conditions. A light drizzle came and went, but the biggest issue was the lighting. There was not any. I had enough to get a sharp picture, but the dark gray skies were killing any kind of color. Eventually, it brightened a bit and, once the sun got sufficiently high, the clouds broke. It was exactly the kind of day I dream about; only the exact opposite. I look forward to days with clear morning skies turning to overcast for the midday.

The weather aside, the place was incredibly active. I do not think I have ever seen more Henslow's Sparrow hopping about. There were juvenile birds everywhere. There were several Blue Grosbeak, but they were even more shy than normal. Dickcissel seemed to be a little less abundant, but the Sedge Wrens made up for them. The biggest draw for me was the huge mound of blackberries. The Orchard Oriole were popping in and out of the bush in large numbers. They were very conscious of me standing there, though, and pictures were not easy to come by. I got lucky and had two pop in right as I was heading back to the car to call it a day. Warning: there are a few Henslow's Sparrow shots coming up.

Not that you need to see another Henslow's Sparrow shot, but I did take of of my more favorite shots of this species on Sunday.

While birding, I had quite the surprise. I recognized but could not quite place a call. It was a call I had heard not too long ago. A quick search revealed the source.

Bobolinks! I had 4 female/juvenile birds and 1 male flying around the prairie. They did not stay long. But I was able to grab a few better shots before they left.


I am not sure what next weekend will bring. The days of summer are dragging along. Shorebirds will be moving in larger numbers soon. The beaches along the lakeshore are all closed due to the pandemic. I will have to figure something out.


Thanks for reading,

Mike




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