Week Ending July 27, 2014

This week was one of the most hectic I've had this year! I had to do some travel for work on Tuesday up to our office in Richmond, then had an important vet visit for Buster on Wednesday, and Thursday Ruth & I were to drive to Chicago after a half day's work for my cousin Ryan's wedding on Saturday. Fortunately everything went well at the vet office on Wednesday for Buster, and his bacterial infection is gone, leaving just some belly worms to deal with still. He's doing great, and was officially put on an annual plan since he's considered healthy enough now, so it looks like we're stuck with the little guy! With all that excitement, and the wedding weekend, this wasn't a week of outdoor adventures for me unfortunately, but more so a weekend of getting to visit with my family back home. On Friday morning though, after having arrived at about 3 AM Eastern Time in Munster, Indiana, Ruth, my mom & I went out for a quick walk of Plum Creek Nature Preserve. I had visited the park a couple of times back in June while I was visiting my mother after my trip to Minnesota, and we'd had great luck at seeing wildlife, especially White-tailed Deer of which we saw about a dozen in two outings. Given that, I thought we'd have a good showing and the Ruth would get to experience some up close deer sightings. Somehow between June & now, it appears all the deer have vanished in the park, as we did not find a single one. We walked the same general trails as I had the last time, mainly through forested areas, but a couple stretches of open meadow/prairie lands.

Beautifully colored male Eastern Towhee sang from this branch for quite some time!

A large group of people were also out walking so perhaps they managed to scare everything off before we got to see it? We did find some Cedar Waxwings out on the meadow, where I'd seen Indigo Buntings in June. No warblers seemed to be present, though I may have heard a Prairie Warbler softly in the distance, I just couldn't tell for sure, but definitely no Common Yellowthroats like with my last visit in June. I did get to see an Eastern Towhee male up close, and snapped a number of photographs of it, and of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that happened to move into view at the same time! Along the main road's fields we saw a number of Eastern Meadowlarks, which I believe to be my first of the year, and Ruth & my mom got very spooked off by a small Brownsnake that they scared up from the grass. Of course, I got a couple close-up shots of it, but the lack of sun didn't provide great results. I did find a pair of American Goldfinches on the way back to the car as well, but this was really it for wildlife on the week. Although, I should mention this here as well, on Thursday morning the Mississippi Kites that have been sighted in Thoroughgood were sighting in my own Kings Grant neighborhood. I did a quick drive by after work to the area they were seen, and I did find a hawk as it cruised into a tree to perch. Unfortunately, it was just too far up to see clearly enough for an ID in poor light, and I didn't have my camera or binoculars with me. I tried again on the way out of town with the camera, but then unfortunately couldn't relocate the bird. Hopefully next week I'll be more outdoorsy & productive, I'm itching for some good photography outings after spending about 30 hours over the last 4 days in the car traveling to Chicago and back! 

A very small Brownsnake that was seen in the meadow near the parking area of Plum Creek Nature Preserve.