We have seen a lot of water flowing over the dam at the Falls of the Ohio this season. The month of May has been punctuated by intense storms and ample sunshine. Rainfall across the Ohio River Valley has been plentiful. On this particular excursion, the river was high and many of the places that I like to sit and work were inaccessible.
There was plenty of wood and trash in the soupy brown water and despite the beautiful sunshine, I was thinking that I might need to go home early today. Instead, I decided to do a little exploring along the margins of the high water and see how far I might be able to go.
Skirting the margins of the high water, I was able to walk over logs and driftwood and reach small pockets of higher land that remained dry. After initially feeling that my day in the park would be a loss…I started to feel excited again! In part, this was due to the abundant bird life I was seeing and hearing. This particular area has always been good for me and finding birds. There is enough shelter here under the cottonwood trees and willows that provide relief from the wind and is close enough to the water. Among the species I was encountering included this colorful grouping of birds: Baltimore Orioles, Northern Cardinals, Indigo Buntings, Palm Warblers, Gray Catbirds, American Goldfinches, and a tiny Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Here’s an image I captured of a Gray Catbird singing.
These birds are very territorial and the males chase one another out of their areas when interlopers trespass. Catbirds have a wide variety of sounds they make including a “mewing” call that reminds people of cats. Usually, I hear catbirds before I see them. Thus far, this has also been a good year to observe some warbler species. Warblers are my favorite group of birds to see because they are diverse, beautiful, transient (they are famous for their long migrations) and challenging to photograph. Here’s a picture of a Palm Warbler that I recorded on this day.
This guy hung around for a while. The guidebooks say that this warbler species summers in the northern bog lands and really has nothing to do with palm trees. That was an unfortunate bit of naming. The Falls of the Ohio are just one stop among many that this bird will make and I was glad to see him. In addition to birds, I was also finding plastic junk and other bits and pieces including a miniature plastic banana…I’m sure you want to see that?
This banana (my second of the year) will enter my Fake Fruits and Vegetables Collection which now numbers hundreds of pieces found in this park. Here are other found objects, some of which I will use to create a new figure.
And…here is the figure I constructed on this day. He’s pretty outlandish looking and another in a long line of pieces that reflect how I feel about our species’ absurd handling of the environment. For the moment, he remains unnamed, but if one comes to you…please share!
He’s made mostly from insulating foam, plastic, and driftwood and sports one jaundiced eye and what appears to be a unique, pink moustache. The area I was working in had so many plastic bottles lying around that my latest Styro-figure decided to put some of the colorful ones to use. Every year, the park does its best to keep this special place clean and orderly. Unfortunately, most of the trash I use and show originates elsewhere…mostly along the Ohio River flowing north of here and is carried to this down river location during flooding and high water.
Looking around the immediate area I was able to locate various colorful plastic oil containers and my Styro-figure decided to line them up for a photo opportunity. Here’s the results.
It’s an oily color spectrum of sorts. The Styro-figure seemed happy with it and for this day…left it at that. I have used this similar idea for other plastic found objects discovered in the park.
Soon it was time to go home. The day turned out to be a more creative and productive day than I originally thought it would be. I gathered up my collecting bag, camera, and walking stick and made the very short walk up to the parking lot. Looking back, I spied a Canada Goose taking advantage of the high water to feed from bushes it normally could not reach. This seemed as good an image as any to end this post with. Thanks as always for tagging along on another day at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.