We are all getting antsy for spring to arrive…winter has been hanging on and on for dear life. It’s been hard to access the river because the water level has been high. Most of the places I visit at the Falls of the Ohio State Park are currently under muddy water. We have had just a handful of nicer, warmer days, but that has accelerated the melting of the snow and ice throughout the more than 800 hundred mile long Ohio River Valley. I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s harder to do what I like to do on a swollen waterway. Here’s how one of my spots under the railroad bridge looked during my last visit.
Not a pretty picture seeing a river as brown as gravy. Lots of logs and wood floating on top and when you look more closely…there is also plenty of plastic and polystyrene in the mix too. Another view this time with me standing on the wall that separates one side of the river from the other.
All those white spots are pieces of Styrofoam. With my usual haunts inaccessible I moved further east…just outside the park’s entrance. There has been a lot of activity in this area that has caught my notice.
There has been a campaign on the Indiana side to make the river more accessible particularly in areas that afford a good view of Louisville’s skyline. To do this the vegetation has been bulldozed away. I came across an elderly person walking her dog and she said to me quite unsolicited..”Bout time they did something to clean up this mess!” as she pointed a thin finger in the general direction of the river. In this case, one person’s mess is another creature’s habitat. The true “mess” comes from all the plastic bottles and chunks of man-made junk that make it into the water. No amount of removing trees and creating views will help with this and it seems what we prefer looking at is a very selective process. I brought my collecting bag along. I’m hoping to pick up materials to use in an upcoming art workshop at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, but I find a few other interesting items as well and photograph them upon discovery.
I came across this smiling yellow cat toy that I think came from a fast food establishment.
Finding these paint containers made me realize how hungry I’ve become for color. I’m looking forward to the world turning green again with color notes supplied by wild flowers.
This plastic man with his bright, radioactive orange color was hard to miss. He was a skydiver or paratrooper in a former life and probably fell to earth using a plastic parachute.
There were other signs from life that the season’s are about to change over. I’m ever alert to what the birds are doing. I spotted my first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year and they are among the first migratory species to arrive. Male Northern Cardinals are singing their courtship songs and scouting out the best spots to build a nest. On the river, however, I spied what I consider a bird sign of winter. A nice sized flock of Lesser Scaup ducks were mostly sleeping and relaxing on the surface of the water. In this area, it seems we see more duck varieties in late fall and early winter. Here’s a peek at the scaups.
Before I move away from the ducks…I found one other to add to my growing collection. This is a Mallard decoy made from plastic. Not too long a go, I found another plastic decoy representing the Pintail Duck.
One other bird note…I heard them before I could see them, but I knew what they were instantly. The familiar calls of migrating Sandhill Cranes winging their way back north. Like geese, they fly in V-shaped formations to avoid the air turbulence created by other cranes flapping their wings. These birds are high flyers and this was the best I could do in taking their picture with the camera I have.
As February becomes March…the forecast for the Kentuckiana area is calling for freezing rain and snow. It appears that Old Man Winter will be hanging out for another week. Spring will eventually get here and already you can tell that it stays light outside longer with each passing day. I am, however, really eager to see how the river has rearranged this familiar landscape.
Once the Ohio River recedes there will be a new landscape to explore and who knows what I will find? I like that each year is different from the last. Well this post is drawing to a close. Thanks for visiting and see you soon…from the skyline of Louisville and the Falls of the Ohio.