I was originally thinking of driving up to Magee Marsh this weekend to go birding, but the six-hour round-trip drive combined with the fact that I’m still feeling a bit under the weather in the aftermath of a migraine yesterday afternoon have nixed that idea. Instead I decided to go explore the nearby John Bryan State Park.
John Bryan is adjacent to both Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve and the nature preserve where I work, and between them they form a surprisingly large area of protected forest land. I didn’t have a map of the park, but I ended up making a loop of about two or three miles, up one side of the Little Miami River and back down the other. Of course, by this time of year the wildflowers are mostly gone, but everything was just unbelievably green.
The calendar may disagree with me, but I think it’s clear that summer is here. Anyway, I took my binoculars and did a little birding despite not being in the thick of things up on Lake Erie. I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles, several Red-eyed Vireos, a Great Crested Flycatcher, and a Yellow-throated Warbler, among other things. No sweet rarities or anything, but the day I can look at the day-glo colors of a male Baltimore Oriole without feeling a little thrill will be a sad day indeed.
I was standing on the bridge birding when a passing couple stopped and asked, “Do you know anything about snakes?” Carrying binoculars is apparently a sign that you know stuff about nature. I remember being in the Everglades and having random little old ladies stop to ask me how to tell the difference between an anhinga and a cormorant. Hey, whatever, I’m fine with it. Anyway, these two had noticed a snake sunning on a log at the base of the bridge and wanted to know whether it was a water moccasin.
Nope. Completely harmless common water snake.
I do love hiking. Leading hikes for kids and hiking with friends and family both have their charms, but I think I’m never more content than when I’m in the woods by myself.