Posts Tagged With: itchepackesassa creek

Fog, A Log and A First

Gini would say I’m stitching together pieces of adventure to form a nice patchwork quilt of memories. (See why I married her? —> She is the smartest person I know.)

When last you tuned in, we took a brief walk about Colt Creek State Park and found a few insects and hardly any birds. Today’s patch exploration found precious little of either of the above. However, it was a glorious morning walk! Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands may be difficult to pronounce, but it’s an easy walk of 1.5 miles on a raised berm around the wetlands or one can opt for a mile stumbling along the creek-side through old-growth hardwood forest. Naturally, today I chose the path less traveled. (Okay, I was the only one there so “less-traveled” is not really accurate. But the fog obscured the actual wetlands so I thought I’d see what the forest looked like. Good decision.)

In keeping with my current theme (what, you didn’t know there was a theme?), this patch is only nine miles from the house.

Upon arriving, the pre-dawn was crystal clear with that peculiar color of blue the sky displays before the rising sun sets it afire. Even as the first bright rays shot above the tree line, wisps of mist began to materialize above the wetlands. Almost immediately after the sun was fully above the horizon, dense fog formed and enveloped the wetlands in a damp gray blanket.

Our weather for the past several weeks has been very wet with regular thunderstorms in the afternoons dumping several inches of water daily. The recent rains added a deep, saturated green to the tree leaves. It wasn’t long before the sun’s beams began to break through the fog and forest canopy.

Although I didn’t get many photographs of birds (again), they made their presence known in calls and songs. Northern cardinal, white-eyed vireo, tufted titmouse, northern parula, a red-shouldered hawk screaming in the distance.

On the way back to the parking area, I was surprised by a King Rail with two juveniles in tow feeding along the edge of the wetlands. The photograph is not good, but it’s the first time I’ve gotten any image at all of this particular rail. Not to mention the significance of confirming that this somewhat rare species is breeding here! Icing on the already delicious cake of a good day!

Patch:  Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Sunrise over the wetlands.Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Ordinary scenes take on an ethereal quality when cloaked in fog. An island with the bright sun behind it seems to glow with a special halo. A pool of water with trees on the far shore appears mysterious and one wonders what might be discovered beyond.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Itchepackesassa Creek, still foggy in the distance.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A log fallen across the creek immediately screamed to my inner child:  “Climb me!”  My senior self immediately said: “Not likely, ever again.”

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Deer Moss (Cladina spp.) is actually not moss but a lichen. When there has been plenty of rain, it is very soft to the touch but during dry periods it becomes quite brittle.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

The path is not always clear. Then comes enlightenment.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A King Rail adult and juvenile.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Another patch with which I should be intimately familiar. I am not. That just means I must return (again and again). I feel certain you are all well versed in what to expect within your own birding patch, and I am jealous of you.

 

We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Medicinal Plant Creek

Okay, let’s face it. Translating from one language to another can be a tricky thing. According to my research, the location I tramped around in, Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands, is from the Muscogee (Creek) Native American language and means “Medicinal Plant” Creek Wetlands. I highly prefer the original. It’s rhythmic, takes effort to pronounce and reminds me of a very old children’s song having to do with a soda cracker. And I didn’t find any medicinal plants, either.

What I did find was an abundance of life! Flowers were showing off their spring beauty. Tall pines and stately oaks mixed with bay, laurel, hickory and other tree species. Small mammal footprints in the mud were like a mini-census: raccoon, squirrel, opossum, white-tailed deer and otter. Tall grass pressed flat formed “slides” around the shoreline where alligators entered and left the water. A plethora of insects thrive in the wet environment. An Eastern Black Racer (a magnificent snake species for those unfamiliar) enjoyed one of those insects before “racing” off the path as I approached. Did I mention the birds?

The man-made impoundment includes areas of open water with varying depths to attract a diversity of water birds. Plantings of erosion-protecting and filtering vegetation helps insure the water remains clean and the area stable. With a relatively dense area of tall-growing plants throughout the wetlands, many birds feel comfortable nesting here. I found a family of Sandhill Cranes, new Common Gallinule chicks, Osprey catching fish and returning to a nearby nest to feed two young fish hawks and young Black-crowned Night Herons roosting on an island.

No matter how you pronounce it, Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands is a wonderful place to explore any day! (It doesn’t hurt that it’s only 15 minutes from the house, either.)

Yes, there are a few pictures of the morning slog. 

Fairly new Sandhill Crane chicks are almost independent but still don’t stray too far from Mom and Dad.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

 

A pair of American Kestrels have taken up residence in the wetlands. Hope I can get photos of some new chicks soon!

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

An adult Black-crowned Night Heron passed nearby grunting his displeasure at my presence.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Spring in the wetlands means plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds singing from atop trees. This guy was singing “Moonlight Sonata”. No. Really. He was.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Thistle flowers are so beautiful to observe yet so painful to touch.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Not wishing to be outdone by a blackbird, a Limpkin tries serenading his love from atop a skinny tree branch. Two lessons learned: those big claws are more comfortable on solid ground and there is no way a Limpkin’s call could be confused with a serenade.  (Limpkin “Serenade”)

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

An Osprey scans the water below for a fresh fish breakfast which will be shared by two young chicks in a nearby nest.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

The morning sun shows off some of the iridescence in the plumage of a Glossy Ibis.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Wood Ducks love the many places they can hide within the wetlands’ tall grasses and reeds.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A Common Grackle harasses a Swallow-tailed Kite. The grackle was no match for the flying skills of the kite, which flew a couple of circles around the attacker and dove toward the ground suddenly leaving the poor grackle alone in the sky.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

This is a wonderful spot for a morning walk and always yields a diversity of life at which one can marvel. We hope you have a place near where you live which offers a respite from the ordinary.

 

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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