So... I am on vacation this week. I actually started vacation on 11/19. All month, I have been looking forward to this week. The weather has been great, and there have been some great birds showing up in the state. Then I looked at the forecast. There has been a lot of bad weather.
After two days of high winds and two days of rain, I made it out on 11/23 to do some birding. I am way late getting north to photograph Sandhill Crane. With that in mind, I set the alarm and arrived, sleepily, at Jasper-Pulaski about 15 minutes before sunrise. I must not have been the only sleepy one. There was a single crane in the sky, and I was wondering if they had all flown out overnight. Not to worry, there were plenty there. I do feel I missed peak, though. It was a fun morning, anyway.
The sun eventually got a bit high, and the heat in the fields picked up. Calling it a morning, I headed up to the lakefront to poke around a bit. My efforts were fruitless, though. I stopped by the Dunes SP Nature Center and found it was closed. From there, I headed over to Ogden Dunes and walked the pinery. It was virtually silent. A lot of House Sparrows and a few Dark-eyed Junco were about all I saw. Deciding I might be wasting my time, I headed south. I wanted to hit a couple more locations.
I drove down to the Celery Bog in Lafayette to look for an owl that has been getting a lot of attention and raising a few eyebrows. It did not take much work to find the owl. The bright yellow sign explaining that "true naturalist stay on the trail" made it pretty easy. The fact that there were others that showed up as I got there made it even easier. The sun was periodically peaking out of the clouds and gave a bit of golden light to the sunning Eastern Screech-Owl. Speaking of peaking. If you look close, the bird is peaking back through just the faintest crack in its eyelid. Even when you think they may not be bothered by your presence, they are keeping an eye on you. I snapped a few shots, chatted with some birders quickly, and then headed down to the bog.
Celery Bog is currently hosting a variety of ducks, as well. Some are even pretty close to shore. The biggest issue is getting low enough to properly shoot them. I was not prepared. You would need to get wet. Not that you have to get in the water, but you would need to lay in the mud at the edge of the reeds to get good water-level shots. Lacking proper gear, I settled for shots over the tops of the reeds. Ruddy Duck, Green-winged Teal, and Northern Shoveler were pretty cooperative. Unfortunately, the Northern Pintail stayed distant while I was there.
The day was coming to a close as I left Celery Bog. I had one more stop planned. Unfortunately, as I approached Indy, the clouds took over, and I lost the evening light. I figured 12 hours on the road was probably enough and headed home.
Tuesday and Wednesday brought more bad weather. Looks like I might be able to make it out some the rest of the week. Hopefully, I can pack some good birding into those days.
Thanks for reading,