Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Young groundhog, March 15, 2014

Here’s an adventure from March 15 which was a beautiful Saturday in the Kentuckiana area with temperatures in the low 70’s!  I spent so much time at the Falls of the Ohio on this day that I even managed a very slight sunburn.  Like much of the country (particularly east of the Mississippi River) we are so ready for winter to be over.  This particular day turned out to be a tease, because less than 24 hours later, temperatures plummeted and we had an accumulation of snow!  Most of the people I know are tired of their winter wardrobes, which also means triple the laundry load.  We are ready for the greening and warming of the earth.  On this particular foray to the river, I was on the look out for any signs of spring.  I came across this young groundhog basking in the sun near his hole.  He turned out not to be very social.

young groundhog at the Falls of the Ohio, March 15, 2014

He need not worry about me.  I wasn’t going to blame him for the extra long winter.  Here’s the back story.  February 2 is Groundhog’s Day and the myth goes if the “official” groundhog that resides in the small town of Punxsutawney,  Pennsylvania sees his shadow on this particular day…winter will be extended another six weeks.  Well this year, that captive groundhog which was yanked from his burrow by human hands did see his shadow and surprise…spring was predicted to be late in coming.  I did a little back checking on the Groundhog’s Day tradition and here’s what I found from the official website.  The idea is based on the Candlemas Day observance that Pennsylvania’s early German settlers brought with them in the 19th century.  This passage was quoted as the rationale for Groundhog’s Day…”For as the sun shines on Candlemas day, so far will the snow swirl in May.”  I’m not sure what the source for this quote is…but snow in May?  What is this some kind of ice age legacy handed over through deep time and what’s with the groundhog? The official Groundhog’s Day observance was established in 1887 and groundhogs and woodchucks the country over have been stigmatized by it.  This particular groundhog was having nothing to do with people and retreated down his burrow.

Cottonwood tree at the Falls of the Ohio, March 2014

The "Hobo Hut", March 2014

On this trip to the Falls…I visited the far western section of the park and wanted to see if I could find any signs of spring there.  I did find lots of river-carried junk, but will save some of that for another time.  I did stop by my favorite cottonwood tree that has been for many years, a popular place to hang out.  I saw a sign saying that it is now being called the “Hobo Hut”.  I came across a nice group of young people with theater and writing backgrounds who were going to party there.  This seemed to me to be as good a sign of spring as anything that can be learned from a large rodent.  After exchanging pleasantries for a few minutes I moved on.  Before long, I ran into this character and he educated me about spring.

The Harbinger, Falls of the Ohio, March 22, 2014

This is the Harbinger of Spring and I chanced to come across him on my walk.  He told me he had “heard” my thoughts and musing about spring and decided to introduce himself to me.  It was a warm day and once again I was out here without drinking water and if this were indeed a hallucination…at least it was a friendly and pleasant one.  He had a reassuring smile on his face to go along with the glowing yellow flower on his chest and shock of leaves sprouting from his head.  I decided to just go with whatever would happen next and here is that story.

The Harbinger of Spring arrives at the Falls, March 22, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, the official arrival of spring has nothing to do with groundhogs or even the vernal equinox.  Spring arrived by boat to the Falls of the Ohio and I just happened to stumble across him as he prepared to do his work.  The Harbinger allowed me to tag along to see the preparations and ground work needed for winter to transition to spring.

The Harbinger's shadow, March 2014

According to the Harbinger, the first thing that needs to happen is an increase in the intensity and duration of sun light.  While I stood quietly nearby, the Harbinger willed the sun into the correct position in the sky.  This was manifested by my magic friend’s ever lengthening shadow and the warmth I felt on the back of my neck.  Not much can occur if the sun doesn’t cooperate.

The Harbinger wills algae to life, March 2014

The Harbinger wills algae to life, March 2014

The next step is to awaken the plants and begin the “greening” process.  I watched the Harbinger sit on a dormant clump of loosestrife and open his arms.  I heard a barely audible melody that I could not identify and heard it more through my mind than my ears.  According to the Harbinger, the “greening” begins by warming up the simplest plants that are connected to the water.  In this case, mats of algae were turning bright green before my eyes.

The Harbinger with a clump of grass, March 2014

The land plants came next.  I observed the Harbinger walking over to a clump of grass and green blades began to grow out of the gravel.  This process would continue through all the flowers, shrubs, bushes, and would culminate with the appearance of the first tree leaves.  The familiar animals would then return.  My friend told me that this process took great effort and patience and could not be accomplished in a single day.  For now…he was through, but over the next week or so he promised dramatic results.  I parted with the Harbinger as he settled into a cavity formed in a living tree.  For now, the sun tiring of its efforts was setting and evening was fast approaching. The Harbinger would spend the night here and resume his work when he felt the conditions were right to do so.  I had one more surprise coming.  As I turned and walked away…a red flower appeared at the Harbinger’s hole and the sun began to sink in the west.  See you next time from a greening Falls of the Ohio.

The Harbinger waves good by, March 2014

The Harbinger by his tree, March 2014

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wildflowers, April 2013

Spring has definitely arrived and the land is turning green.  I love watching this verdant transformation as the Falls of the Ohio becomes a garden again.  We had a weary winter and so seeing the sun more regularly warms the heart and imagination.  These are images from my last visit to the park.  I believe I downloaded about seventy or eighty pictures which is about normal for one of my excursions.  I can find personal interest in most everything I come across which makes editing and creating some sort of post a fun challenge.  I spend hours on site and then a good amount of time at home looking at the pictures and wondering how to put order to any of it?  Usually, I try to give some representative sense of what the day was like.  I believe I could create all sorts of permutations and stories from just a single trip…but, that would cut into my time to be outdoors and fill my lungs with fresh air.

female mallard resting on one leg, April 2013

I began the morning in the western section of the park.  Driftwood and junk have been driven against the Indiana bank of the Ohio River.  Prevailing currents and high water have formed this log raft against the shoreline.  Future high water will eventually send this material over the dam and under the railroad bridge and then throughout the park.  Moving to the river’s edge I surprised more than one sleeping duck and see my first Great Egret of the year.  I tried sneaking over the driftwood to take a picture of the egret which was feeding at the water’s edge.  I must be losing my touch because the wary egret spotted me and took off.  This duck standing on one leg, however,  was more obliging.

view from the western section at the Falls of the Ohio, April 2013

Here’s a view from the western section of the park.  Walking along the water’s edge I came across all manner of bric-a-brac some of which made it into the collecting bag.  Upon returning to my outdoor studio, I photographed a few of my newest “treasures” on the sand which included many toys.  I have a compulsion to pick this stuff up and order it into various collections…but other than that I’m not sure what I will eventually do with much of this plastic.  I am a believer, however, that someday I will have an idea or inspiration and I will follow that.  I still feel there is something here to explore between the poles of what these items are intended to represent and what they are in reality.

a selection of found toys and novelties from the Falls, April 2013

I keep finding toy wheels of all different sizes and slowly an idea for a wall installation is taking place in my mind.  I have an offer to show work in a show during the 2014 season and so I set a goal to realize this “wheel piece”.  Here are two views of one of my more interesting finds of this day.

deceased blue crayfish found at the Falls of the Ohio, April 2013

dead blue crayfish found at the Falls of the Ohio, April 2013

Unfortunately, I didn’t find this blue crayfish while it was alive.  By far, most of the crayfish I have seen have been brown in color.  I wonder if it was crushed by the logs rolling in the high water?  I don’t know which species of crayfish this is, but apparently blue crayfish are a genetic color morph.  There is one species that is now bred to be blue for the aquarium pet trade.  The way the grains of sand fit around the exoskeleton gives a sense of how a fossil might be formed if given the right conditions and deep time.  I picked it up and held it in my hand and just appreciated such a small, but spectacular animal.  I was curious to see how the Flood Brothers from my previous post were holding up and soon I had my answer upon reaching my site.

my outdoor studio spot at the Falls, April 2013

The Flood Brothers were gone as were several other pieces of Styrofoam!  My small studio area had been rummaged through, but this is not unusual and I kind of expect this to happen.  The stuff I gravitate towards is not the junk other folks look for, however, anybody is welcomed to whatever I’ve cached here.  I have nothing of value here.  There is more.  Apparently, the discoverers of my studio were carrying bits of frayed barge cable when they stumbled over my spot.  In order to take the Flood Brothers with them, they had to drop the cables.  After straightening up my studio…I wrapped the three cables into loose coils and photographed them where the brothers once stood.

three coils of frayed barge cable, April 2013

From experience, if folks are out to destroy something…they usually just get on with it.  I was hoping that whomever took the Flood Brothers had just moved them to a different location to create a vignette of their own.  I decided to scout around to see if I could find my wayward figures and I was partly successful.  Here’s how I found the larger of the Flood Brothers.

Flood Brother #2 as I found him, April 2013

detail, head of Flood Brother #2, April 2013

About a hundred meters or so from my spot, I came across Flood Brother #2 leaning against this tree.  He was missing many of his features including his eyes and arms.  After hunting around I was able to find a few of his parts.  As for his shorter brother…there was no trace of him.  I kept moving east in my search and discovered evidence that other creatives were in the area recently.  Perhaps the people who made the following statements also played with my figures?

message in the sand, April 2013

I found this and other sand drawings in the area.  Most of the sand designs were statements of a libertarian frame of mind.  I also found this large spiral made from driftwood that was in the immediate vicinity.

large, anonymous driftwood spiral, April 2013

Further west from the spiral was this installation where driftwood was stood on end teepee-style and incorporated with two larger logs that had recently floated into the area.  People seem to like arranging wood in this manner and I have also seen bonfires begun in this way.

site specific wood installation at the Falls of the Ohio, April 2013

I thoroughly checked the area for signs of my missing figure and imagined him riding home in the back seat of someone’s car.  I picked up my remaining Flood Brother and headed back to my studio.  I fixed him back up again.  He’s repaired, but also slightly different now.

repaired Flood Brother #2, April 2013

spruced up studio site with repaired Flood Brother, April 2013

This is how I left things on my way back home.  I’ll return in a week and we shall see what if anything happens?  Returning to my car, there was still one more surprise left for the day.  Emerging into the light of a new season, I came across this small Eastern Garter Snake warming itself (much as I had) among the driftwood at the Falls of the Ohio.  See you next time!

Eastern Garter Snake, Falls of the Ohio, April 2013

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figure in light by willow roots, Feb. 2013

What a beautiful day and I stayed out for many hours by the river.  It’s been a bit of roller coaster with the weather the past few weeks.  We have fluctuated between below freezing temperatures you can feel in your bones and highs in the 50 to 60 degree range.  Folks around here have been blaming our worse than usual cold and flu season with the variability of the weather.  I don’t know if this is true, but for me…going outside to breathe fresh air is restorative to my physical and spiritual health.  Since I last set foot here the river has again risen and receded.  The large raft of driftwood under the railroad bridge has been dispersed by the high water and actually made it a little less of an obstacle course to maneuver around.  The air over the river is also once again alive with Ring-billed Gulls searching for food.  I’m also hearing both the Northern Cardinal and Song Sparrow practicing their songs in anticipation of Spring.  Their songs make me want to sing one of my own.

sunken tires, Feb. 2013

More evidence of a high river comes in the form of man-made junk that has floated into the park.  I have found tires in all their forms to be good indicators of the entropy in this system.  What once took great amounts of energy and heat to form and use is literally sinking into the sand.  The wheel is one of mankind’s great inventions and here it is just another piece of garbage we have discarded.  I’m out here today not because I’m looking for things to get me down, but rather the opposite!  I’m looking for signs and symbols of the renewal to come.

Styro-figure with foot print, Feb. 2013

Today, I’m looking for a member of the genus Lepus which includes hares and rabbits.  For some reason…intuition I think, has brought me here on this particular quest.  I have heard that members of the rabbit family start behaving oddly during Spring in anticipation of the breeding season.  The expression “mad as a March hare” is an old English expression used to describe this moment.  Of course, rabbits and hares have older associations as well.  The ancient Greeks equated rabbits with the goddess Aphrodite and rabbits have long been symbols of fertility. Logic tells me that if I can locate a hare that Spring will be here in no time at all. I guess I’m putting more trust in the hare than I am the groundhog! The month of February is nearly over and I’m hoping to find signs that hares are in the area.  So far, I’m not having much luck…just the tracks of people who came before me.  I’m not giving up yet though and the day is young.

Styro-figure and frayed cable, Feb. 2013

I’m operating with my “hare brain” switched in the “on” position as I walk around my familiar haunts.  I look in areas that seem likely to me to hide rabbits and hares like this willow tree with an old barge cable wrapped around it.  I’m not sure why this tree is “talking” to me, but I’m going with my intuition.  There are no hares here, and maybe this spot is too close to the river anyway?

Styro-figure by wooden cable spool, Feb. 2013

I walk by a wooden spool for holding large cables.  This is also new and wasn’t here the last time I passed by.  I see there is an opening large enough for a small mammal to hide in and so I go to investigate.  Carefully I approach the spool, but there is nothing here either.  I’m beginning to feel that there aren’t many other places I can look, when I remember there is a section of the park I almost never visit and so letting intuition be my guide…I go there.

East of the railroad bridge, Louisville across the Ohio River, Feb. 2013

The area I trek to is just east of the railroad bridge and dam that catches most of the driftwood that has been pushed from upriver.  This barrier is no obstacle at all when the river is at flood stage.  It is all this driftwood and pent-up junk that flows into the park when the Ohio River gets high.  It’s a tricky, shifty area and frequently muddy too.  All these conditions were present on this day.  It’s not an area the public is encouraged to visit and most people have enough sense to stay away.

colorful plastic garbage, Feb. 2013

As you can see…this area also gets lots of trash too.  This is what I eventually can look forward to receiving, perhaps in the next flood?  This plastic separates so completely with the rest of the environment that I’m surprised it doesn’t compel people to pick it up like it does at the grocery and department stores?

Alien head and plastic trash, Feb. 2013

Naturally, I find weird things here.  It’s not everyday that you come across an alien’s head, but here it is next to other junk.  I find three dolls in various poses tangled in mud and driftwood and other toy bits that floated down with the currents.  I find a little bit of this and that, but no March hares or rabbits.

train on bridge, Falls, Feb.2013_1_1

The soles of my shoes are caked with mud and so I find a suitable stick to scrape away the sticky earth.  I sit on a broad log to do this and take a rest at the same time.  While I work away at my shoes, a train crosses the bridge and I watch it as it crosses.  My mind wanders freely and I remember the unusual art of Joseph Beuys which became a favorite of mine during graduate school.  His work is frequently perplexing and takes getting used to.  I like his art, but found I was more attracted by his ideas and writings.  The value he placed on art as a potential agent to further our own evolution away from the strictly materialistic way we treat ourselves and the planet we depend on inspired me.  His ideas about an expanded notion of art seemed to give art more of a sense of purpose which I also found to be smart and optimistic.

Railroad bridge with bunny, Feb. 2013

Bueys often referenced animals in his art and believed that they were more aware and in tune with the world than we are.  The hare in particular was an important symbol to Bueys because it mediates between the earthly and spiritual realms.  Hares are burrowing animals and line their nests with their wool.  The insulating properties of felt became another material that Bueys incorporated in his art.  While I was sitting still and reflecting on the work of a favorite artist…the hare appeared!

The March Hare in late February 2013

It must have just emerged from its burrow under the logs and debris and was still covered with mud.  It looked in my direction with ears pricked up and our gaze locked upon one another.  Holding still for just a split second, I was able to capture this image before it disappeared back into the earth.  I exhaled in the knowledge that Spring was one day closer to arriving.  I savored the moment, gathered my things, took one last look across the river and headed for the skyline of Louisville over the Second Street Bridge.

The City of Louisville across the Ohio River. Feb. 2013

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On a variable day where the sun played hide and seek among the clouds,  I visited the Falls of the Ohio to see what there was to see and experience.  Thus far, Spring is shaping up to be much warmer than normal and many different  plants in the city where I live have flowered early.  I was curious to see if this pattern was holding true with the trees out by the river? Upon arrival, I could see that the trees hadn’t “leafed-out” and so I directed my attentions to a slightly high and wild river.  I began looking for river treasures when I met this strange fellow.

He called himself the “Guardian” and he was doing the same thing as me.  Namely walking along the edge of the river and picking up objects that were washing ashore.  The water level has been high and many of the youngest willow trees were poking out of the sand like large hairs on the back of some big animal you can’t totally see because it’s that huge.  I tagged along with the Guardian and we conversed freely.  It’s funny how no two beings react in the same way to the “treasures” the river offers up.  For example, people are always trying to give me driftwood that they think I will like.  Rarely, am I attracted to their finds.  Driftwood aesthetics is a matter of personal taste as is the attraction for all the other stuff that washes up here.  I didn’t think anything at all as the Guardian started collecting plastic bottles.  While those bottles held little interest for me…the polystyrene chunks I was stuffing into my collecting bag held no interest to the Guardian whatsoever.

The Guardian was keying on green plastic bottles in particular.  I had to know why these bottles and what was he going to do with them?  And then there was the added mystery of his name.  If he’s the Guardian…what is he guarding?  My new friend said he would be glad to tell me, but it would in fact, be easier to show me.  Together we walked up the shore to the tree line where my new friend had a project he was working on.

I was amazed to see that he had planted a river-polished cedar trunk into the sand and had attached his green plastic bottles to the nubs that were once branches of this tree.  Judging by his project’s progress…he had been hard at work before I ran into him.  Here’s another view that shows where he positioned his bottle tree.

He told me he had been doing this activity once a year for many years and that he is called the Guardian because he is the protector of this particular ritual.  It’s purpose is to awaken the coming of Spring after a period of dormancy.  There are other beings like himself that are scattered across the planet and serve the same or similar functions through their various rituals.  As he added new bottles to his tree, the Guardian chided me in a friendly way saying did I think the seasons just transitioned on their own? The Earth in fact needs the help of all who love her to keep her from falling into neglect.  The Earth needs to know that folks do care because that extra bit of genuine concern is important and provides the extra energy needed to sustain everything that lives.  Otherwise, this huge task is simply not worth it and the world slips into apathy and falls back asleep.

As the Guardian spoke to me, large dark clouds started gathering overhead.  The first large drops of rain began falling in the sand around us.  It was time to go and I parted company with my new friend.  I thought about what he told me.  I guess I hadn’t considered that the very planet might also be alive and would respond positively knowing that others simply cared.  As I walked home I said a little prayer of my own inside my head and awaited the further greening of the world.

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Spring has officially succeeded Winter at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  The river is high. Its waters increased by the thawing in the northern Ohio River Valley.  The river crested yesterday just below flood stage.  All my familiar spots are under a few feet of water now.  My record here is being rearranged.  It is amazing, however, how quickly the water recedes.  Spring is renewing this place in an especially physical way.

Lots of logs missing limbs roll and churn in the shallows by the river’s edge.  Once in a while you can hear a loud crack as something wooden is shattered in the water.  The trees roll over one another grinding their bark off which forms large floating mats that collect debris.  The corky squeak of wood grating against wood can sound like the grinding of teeth.

In places you could easily see the ever shifting currents by the objects floating on the surface of the water.  I walked along the park’s western shoreline.  The sound of three dueling kingfishers played out in an aerial display above my heads.  Although it still early…I’m always keeping my eyes out for migratory birds.  I was able to add a new species to my park bird list…the Bufflehead duck.  I came across a male with four females resting with their bills tucked into their back feathers.  They seemed to be just floating along with the available current at the limits of my camera’s telephoto lens.  I came back the next day to see if they were still around but they were gone.  I would have liked some better photos.

As I walked along I noted the mats of rafting wood.  You could see where a mat would drift against a tree and create an island.  I could spot the bright white of Styrofoam chunks like polystyrene passengers.  If I run into them again…I’ll turn them into sculptures.

When these mats are pushed onto the shore, this image shows a good example of the material aggregate that composes them.  It’s mostly wood chips, but you can see a lot of plastic and Styrofoam pieces too.  I have more than a hand full of those plastic cowboys and soldiers that I have found out here over the years.

I walked by one of my favorite trees.  I love its exposed, developed root system and wanted to see it covered by water.  Usually, I can rest in the open, small room the roots create under the trunk of the tree…but not today.  It have used this place to get out of the hot sun or driving rain many times before.

I kept walking until I reached private property.  I small creek with dirty river backwash demarcated a border.  Unfortunately, whatever is in the river is also now in the creek.  On the opposite side from me is a pasture with three horses and a goat.  This is a new background for me and I decided to improvise a figure from found materials and record a few images.

I quickly find enough junk to construct a figure.  Walking along this soupy creek I pick up fishing bobbers, foam, plastic, and wood. Here’s the piece in progress.  I never did use that plastic dauber looking thing.  This is an especially sad photo for me because I lost my knife within minutes of this image.  I don’t know what happened.  I either dropped it or left it sticking in a log somewhere, but when I returned to look for it the following day, it was not to be found.  Jim Gottuso gave me this knife years a go.  It only has two blades, but the small, sharp saw was perfect for driftwood.

These pictures hardly seem like a fair trade, but at this point I will take what comes next.  Sometimes the river requires a sacrifice.  I’m also thinking that I may see it again.  I might see it in a day-dream and its exact location will be revealed to me.  Since Kentucky is hosting the World Equestrian Games this year…this will be a good way for me to work a horse picture into the blog.  I’ve heard that we are expecting more than a half a million horse lovers to come to the Bluegrass.

I moved this piece around the edges of the property and finally left it standing next to a tree on this side of the riverbank. Here are a couple more shots of this piece.  The red object being held came from a large fireworks rocket.  When the sun is shining, the small bicycle pedal reflector makes a nice belt buckle.

I made another piece and have lots of other images from this weekend at the river that I will share over the next few days.  It was a long, grey winter and I’m glad that it has passed.  Here’s another image of the flower beds by the Interpretive Center, but taken on my way home at the end of the day.

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Deaf man...with ear trumpetA beautiful spring day and a perfect time to sit by the river.  The greening trees are alive with the fresh colors of migratory birds.  Somewhere off in the distance is a sound or more accurately a vibration that piques your interest.  Since the hearing is going you need something to focus the sound.

Deaf Man with ear trumpet

Where would you be without your trusty ear trumpet?  You have come to rely upon it like a conduit to your brain and an aid for your memory.

the ear trumpet

A smile comes across your face as the vibration becomes more audible.  It’s enough of a hint for you to recall the sound of…

diesel engines 5/09… diesel engines crossing over the bridge………. Alright, so it won’t win any literary prizes, but it was fun to do.  The train picture is recent, but the figure is long gone…was it last  year or the one before that?  I think I need something to focus my memory too.  This figure, as usual, is made from various found elements…polystyrene foam, driftwood, and plastic.  The nose I remember was the handle of a broken paint brush.  One of the eyes is a fishing bobber and the other…who knows?  I thought the found bottle of sports drink added a nice color note.  This piece was up for awhile, before it was carried away by a flood.

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view from Falls, 4/27

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…

prairie trillium or recurved trillium, 4/27

celandine poppy or wood poppy

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.

American Robin, 4/27

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.

brown-headed cowbird, male, 4/09

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.

ice storm damage, 4/09

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, 4/09

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.

wood car, 4/09

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.

fisherman, 4/09

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.

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