The last day Granma and Grampa were here (before heading back to Florida) I requested a bird walk. My sister had a volleyball game, but I wasn’t really interested in going. I requested the place where we saw the Bobolink. Granma wanted to see Cari play, so it was just me and Grampa. Before setting out on the walk, we made a quick pit stop and checked a trail map. After confirming the trail, we began to walk.
Northern Harrier male "Gray Ghost":
At first, we didn’t see many birds, but we did see other things. I spotted a moth crawling on the ground. Curious, I looked closer. I realized, with amazement, it was being dragged by an ant! I called back Gramps, who had gone farther up the trail, to come look at what I found. He was amazed and told me that I had a good eye.
Watching an ant carry a moth:
We continued to walk, the sun beating down on us the entire time. We passed by a side trail, and I noticed a bird flutter down the trail. Grampa saw it too. He set up his camera and got ready. When the bird didn’t move, I began to cautiously move down the trail. Gramps followed, and suddenly, the bird popped out of hiding and went into a nearby tree.
After getting some good shots along the way, we decided to head farther down the trail, into the woods.
Pearl Crescent butterfly:
Common Buckeye butterfly:
Orange Sulphur butterfly:
In the woods, I saw a frog hop across our path. We heard sandhill cranes calling, downy and hairy woodpeckers chattering and drilling, black-capped chickadees singing, as well as other bird calls.
We called in the famous upside-down bird, who, I’m telling the truth, literally landed on a branch right above Grampa’s head! My eyes went wide and I pointed at the bird. Gramps turned around, sadly scaring the bird. Excited, he got out his camera, but the bird decided to have some fun. It flew back and forth, sometimes hiding in the leaves. Eventually, it got bored, so it then landed upside-down on a nearby trunk, going in circles up and down. While the bird was doing that, we managed some pictures.
Looking for the nuthatch:
We continued on our way, meeting a family and their dog. After a conversation, we went our separate ways. Me and Gramps came across a tree, which housed some northern flickers. We successfully called in those, complete with photos.
New England Aster:
There was also a morning glory, which lives up to its name.
Morning Glory growing through the fence :
We continued following the path, then followed another path that went to the main trail. I noticed something…. odd. I leaned close to inspect it, and freaked out. It was something dead. Grampa said it was like a field mouse, but not the first he’s seen. Apparently, something was killing them, but what? It couldn’t be an owl. It could be a cat. Perhaps, a disease?
[Ken here-- Over the years I have encountered several dead shrews along the paths at Nelson Lake. It was a mystery to me why they had not been consumed by predators or scavengers. They must have been killed and left there in plain sight, but why? Graci took this on as a puzzle which needed to be solved. I haven't told her yet but... Happy to say, I think I found the key to the mystery, thanks to Wikipedia. The shrews have scent glands which repel many predators and they may simply refuse to eat them! From Wikipedia-- "It is notable in that it is one of the few venomous mammals... Three well-developed scent glands are present, one on each side of the animal and one placed ventrally; the scent may be used for marking territories, though the shrew's sense of smell is thought to be poor... The saliva of the northern short-tailed shrew contains a kallikrein-like protease, used to paralyze and subdue its prey... The toxin is strong enough to kill small animals, up to sizes somewhat larger than the shrew itself, and results in painful bites to humans who attempt to handle the shrew... This shrew is consumed by many predators: trout, snakes, raptors, canids, cats, mustelids, skunks, raccoons, and opossums, though mammalian carnivores appear to be deterred by the musky odor produced by the shrew's scent glands." ]
Northern Short-tailed Shrew:
We reached the main trail, and headed back to the car. There was still some time before Cari’s game was over. I asked if we could go to the bridge, and so we did. When I opened my door, I noticed a millipede. Grampa got some good pics. Being careful not to squish it, I climbed out.
Millipede in parking lot, east side of Nelson Lake:
We met up with the same family, and the father said there was a pigeon in the crumbling silo. He wasn’t kidding. There was a pigeon in there! Because of the light reflecting off the grate, Grampa had trouble getting a good view.
Rock Pigeon behind protective grating at base of old silo:
View from Audubon Bridge at Nelson Lake:
Interesting clouds over the perimeter path:
Silo at Nelson Lake east side:
At the bridge, there was nothing of interest there. A few crows and a blue jay were all that could be heard. Disappointed, we went back to the car. We then went to get gas and swap places as mom was just starting to drive back from the game-- me, heading to my mom’s car, and Granma, heading to join Grampa in the Caddie. Cari’s team won!
"Secrets of the Soils:"
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to I Heart Macro by Laura
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display