Ducks, Geese And A Bald Eagle At Community Park in Hazle Township
I have continued my afternoon hikes in the Community Park near my home in Hazle Township every chance I got these past two weeks. Located on top of a mountain ridge, Spring always arrives later here in Hazle Township than in the surrounding valleys. On my first hikes two weeks ago there were few signs of Spring at the park. The trees surrounding Lake Irena were lifeless and leafless with no hint of bud or blossom.
There wasn’t much wildlife in the park earlier in April either. On one cold sunny afternoon I did see a pair of pied-billed grebes swimming on the deep blue waters of the lake. I haven’t seen any here in the Summer so they were probably just taking a rest on their way to their breeding grounds further north.
The only flowers blooming in early April in the woodlands around the lake were yellow coltsfoot,
Gradually over he next two weeks more trees, plants and flowers began to bloom. Skunk cabbage began to appear in the wetlands on the northern shore of the lake.
The native evergreen shrubs began to flower on the shores of the lake.
The weather varied on my hikes. Some days were sunny and cold while on other days cumulus clouds floated in warmer air,
providing for scenic walks along the shores of the lake.
On the warmer days dozens of painted turtles could be seen soaking in the strong April sun on logs in the water.
There were some new visitors to the lake, a small flock of double-crested cormorants appeared one day, but most soon left. However this pair has remained and I believe they will be nesting near the lake.
There were also a pair of Canada geese and
mallard ducks swimming on a small pond near were the creek enters the lake.
I usually would leave the lake and walk over to the Hazle Township Babe Ruth field,
and then hike the old abandoned access road.
This is where the pond were all the wood frogs was. They had laid their eggs, which already hatched, and the pond was filled with thousands of tiny tadpoles.
Many were feeding on the eggs left by the what I think are eastern newts.
But, when the newt eggs hatch, the tide may turn, and the smaller tadpoles may soon become their meals.
On my last couple of hikes saw an oven bird which must have recently arrived in these woods,
there were also white-breasted nuthatches
and I believe, a chipping sparrows on most of my hikes.
As the weather got warmer, more flowers appeared on my hikes including the service berry trees which displayed their pretty white flowers,
and many areas of the trail were covered in wild violets
The gray birch leaves also began to appear. Take a close look at one of the leaves. You will see a cute little critter sitting there.
It was this tiny wandering crab spider. I didn’t want to tell the spider this, but I was glad to see it. Its’ appearance, and the appearance of other spiders and insects will attract the migratory song birds back to our area. It may soon be lunch for a warbler.
On some days I would see very little wildlife on my three mile hikes, just the beauty of the woods and the lake to accompany me.
However, this past week, on Tuesday I was rewarded with all kinds of wildlife sightings on my hike. After arriving at the park. I walked to the lake and saw a pair of great blue herons fly off of the lake. One flew into this tree on the other side of the lake.
Sitting on a log on the lake was this sandpiper. I believe it is a solitary sandpiper, the first I saw this year.
Continuing my hike I saw a number of sparrows, nuthatches, crows and robins along the trail. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike in the Hazle Township Community park. Community Park Hikes birds April 10 to May 1 2021.
I walked along the lake and saw dozens of turtles sitting on logs and enjoying the April sun.
And, looking toward the sky, I was delighted to see a bald eagle soaring high overhead.
It flew over the lake a few times, and then,
swopped down on to the lake and grabbed a fish. It happened so fast. I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the catch, but, after grabbing the fish it flew off with it’s prize.
The distance of the eagle made it difficult to see at the lake , except with the zoom lens of my camera. It was only when I got home was I able to see that is was looking intently down on the lake before diving to make the capture. It is always a wonderful experience to see a bald eagle in our skies but even more so when I was able to watch it catch a meal. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the bald eagle. Community Park, bald eagle April 27 2021.
After watching the bald eagle I walked back to the parking lot, very pleased with my hike. On the way a say a few more critters including some squirrels, a beaver and this fellow, a chipmunk. He was the only one who posed long enough to get it’s picture taken.
I am not always as successful at seeing wildlife as I was on Tuesday. It was a very good day. But every hike at the Community Park is enjoyable, and you never know what you may see if you keep your eyes peeled. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike at the park in Hazle Township. Community Park hikes April 10 to May 1 2021.
“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”