“My early morning hike of solitude on a sultry summer day at Independence Oaks County Park – North was a magical experience. Wispy cirrus clouds added definition to the clear blue sky. Spider webs sparkled with diamonds of dew. Sandhill cranes trumpeted from a wet meadow. An American Goldfinch and an Eastern Kingbird perched in tree tops to bask in sunlight, as did a Red-tailed Hawk high up on a transmission line tower. The music of crickets, and the rustle of aspen leaves in the morning’s gentle breeze softened the rumble of traffic on nearby Sashabaw Road.” I wrote those words last August as an introduction to a “Wilder Side” blog about Independence Oaks County Park – North; a 188-acre addition to the main section of 1,285-acre Independence Oaks County Park, the largest of the 13 parks managed by Oakland County Parks. Independence Oaks – North is the only Southeast Michigan park with a catch and release special designation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The park also includes natural features that helped the site be classified by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory as a Priority One Conservation Area.
A strange creature is appearing in our meadows and small clearings at dusk and at times it’s seen strutting about rural muddy roads on the wilder side of Oakland County. The American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), also commonly known by the affectionate name of Timberdoodle, is underway and much of Oakland County is prime breeding habitat. Although they are related to Sandpipers, Timberdoodles prefer a totally different habitat than the Sandpiper’s shoreline. The Timberdoodle is a ground-dwelling, short-legged, rather rotund little bird with a very long straight bill that is very much at home amidst the woods in early stages of succession. They are strange looking birds with big eyes set far back on the head, apparently an adaptation that evolved for predator detection as they probe for earthworms.
The splendor of October swept into Oakland County on schedule with traces of frost on the first day of the month. Hours of daylight are shortening, but opportunities for trailside adventure and colorful kayaking adventures are increasing. It’s a month of cider-making, corn mazes and pumpkin hunting. October is the time to watch geese high overhead, listen to trumpeting of Sandhill Cranes, and celebrate Eastern Bluebirds beneath a clear blue sky. Set out an autumn bird bath, and it just may lure these beautiful birds, and a House Finch or two, as quickly as late season wildflowers lure honey bees. The days of October are in a word, glorious for all that love nature’s way and the hundreds of miles of trails that enrich our county and increase accessibility to our woodlands, wildlands and parks. Continue reading →
Embark on a new adventure or continue outdoor family traditions at Oakland County Parks campgrounds! Choose Addison Oaks or Groveland Oaks for individual, family or group camping. Both parks offer cabins, yurts, modern and group sites. Check out our video below for camping fun in Oakland County, then make your reservation by calling: 248-858-1400.
“Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” That’s the classic ghostly call of the Barred Owl, an owl very much at home in Oakland County. The rising and falling melody with a hint of a southern drawl in the last few syllables reminds naturalists that the owl’s breeding season is here. Yet, others less admiring of the raucous chorus of barred owls hooting back and forth may describe the sounds as the music of a troop of rowdy monkeys. That description is very close to the truth.