Managed to steal a few hours late in the afternoon and visited the Falls. Bad weather is predicted for later in the week, plus the Kentucky Derby Festival is going on now making routine trips an occassional challenge. The real reason I’m here today is to look for birds…it’s spring migration time and it seems to be happening a little later this year than last. I will, however, enjoy anything else that I happen to come upon. Such as these wildflowers…
I’m still learning the wildflowers…but I think the one on the top is called Pairie Trillium or Recurved Trillium. I’ve never seen this one here before. The bottom image is of a Celandine or Wood Poppy. The latter’s stem and flower buds are hairy. The trilliums were found along the Woodland Trail.
Okay…I know this is not the most exciting bird, but I found this pose to be interesting. I came upon this American Robin on the trail and instead of flying away, he froze staring straight at me. The most spectacular bird I saw today was a male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but my photo of them is not great. I hope to have other chances with that species. Cedar Waxwings were still around and I saw several birds of prey. The Turkey Vultures are back. Here’s a recent image of another bird that I think is becoming a problem at the Falls of the Ohio.
This is a male, Brown-headed Cowbird, ( the females are a duller gray). I have seen more of this species than I have seen here before. The curious thing about this bird is that it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. This species takes no care at all in raising its own young. That job is given to the parasitized species. The young cowbirds usually hatch first and either push out the other eggs or out compete the other young. The victim species does not recognize that the cowbird is not its own offspring.
Perhaps one reason there are more cowbirds, may have to do with more accessibility in the wooded portions of the Falls. The Brown-headed Cowbird is not a forest bird , but looks for breaks and clearings where it feels comfortable venturing in to look for other nesting birds. We have had two extreme weather events in less than a year ( a major ice storm and winds from Hurricane Ike) that have damaged so many trees. I wonder if this will impact the birds we will see this year and will the cowbird take additional advantage of them?
Tent catepillars seem to be more numerous this year as well. The trees here are certainly being stressed by various insects. Unfortunately, there are only a few bird species that will eat these catepillars.
I could have used this image for my last post. Hopefully, someday I will happen upon this person or persons who like to make “sculpture” from the found materials in the park. Already I have come across several structures that are mostly driftwood. This “wood car” is a little different in feeling from their past efforts. For me, it’s fun to come across something like this.
Among the willows and fossil rocks was this single fisherman. I don’t think he was having any luck. Perhaps like me, just being outside and near the river is it’s own reward. I am already looking forward to my next visit.