Scenes from a year of hikes in the floodplain

Each fall, the trail cams come down for maintenance and are rehung for the next four seasons. Paul installed the north trail through the floodplain several years ago, opening that area to bird watchers and hikers of all species. It’s a popular resting stop for migratory songbirds. Birder Deb captures beautiful photos there as they flit through.

Here are a few photos that feature the humans who passed the camera on that path. It begins with David, the master who keeps the trail cleared and curbs the further spread of invasive plants species.

A recap, with goat wrestling

2016-07-01_13.26.20Steve is wrestling with Mister Bill in the cool of the evening. This has become the routine this week after the temperatures fell out of the upper 80s and into the 60s by dusk. Bill scampers up the ramp and down the steps to mock charge. Steve holds the giant goat’s horns–lightly so as not to challenge–and Bill tosses his head and off he goes again on his gangly giraffe legs.

This playtime is to make-up for Bill’s banishment to Sophie’s corral during summer’s Family Day. The big lug likes to hug, but his horns are part of the mighty embrace. If you’re not familiar with his ways, a Mister Bill show of affection can be alarming and uncomfortable.

So one week ago today he watched from a distance as 70 some people came to visit, seeing a long-eared owl, kestrel, red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture from Black Swamp Raptor Rehab, a wild juvenile bald eagle overhead. Laura demonstrated how to make a cement-and-fiber pot. Bush honeysuckle was repurposed as hiking sticks and leaves were made lasting on t-shirts.IMG_5218

Mister Bill did meet a troop of Daisies the next day. The girls made hiking sticks in the pavilion as a brief but heavy rain thundered over its red roof. Lemonade and cookies later, they set forth on a trek along the stream to meet Bill, Buddy and everyone else who decided to come forward after the shower.

On the hike back, they saw a leopard frog along the creek, a tiny toad in the raingarden and three different dragonflies: a widow skimmer, a white tail, and at least two twelve spots in the pollinator garden. IMG_20160626_155257

Sticky toes and hiking sticks

The drive home yesterday afternoon was a race against the weather. A thunderstorm rolled in from the west, heavy with rain, wind and lightning.

I lost the race. Anyone driving by saw two humans trimming honeysuckle trunks of branches and stems, all soaked and getting wetter by the moment. The geese weren’t bothered, but pigs, goats and donkeys watched the proceedings from under dry roofs. By 9:00 p.m., it was dark and we had 45 honeysuckle stems ready to become hiking sticks on Friday morning at the hands of the Pandora-Gilboa Elementary School’s Third Grade as taught by Mrs. Arthur and Mrs. Henry.

Gray tree frog, its sticky toes keeping it five feet above the ground

Gray tree frog, its sticky toes stuck five feet above the ground

IMG_4845An hour later, we were still damp but warm and ready for sleep. But a look out the kitchen window kept us up for another half hour. The steady rain had sent a ‘sticky toed’ gray tree frog climbing for higher ground. How can you not stay awake for that?

Twelve hours later, blue sky and a yellow school busload rolled in and stayed for the day. Presumably, the treefrog is back under the spring canopy.




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