An Oakland Audubon Birding Adventure & More!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

Oakland Audubon Society offers free, fun filled trips for birders of all ages. They are enriching family-friendly events where participants often encounter the unexpected. As expected, my hike with their “young birders” last Saturday morning at 2,454-acre Indian Springs Metropark was no exception. Thirty-six species of birds, including five different species of swallows, were encountered during our two and a half hour meander, but my two favorite species of wildlife encountered were not birds. One had scales, the other fur. It’s not every day I witness an eastern garter snake up in a tree or go face to face with a pair of young thirteen-lined ground squirrels, but on Saturday I did.

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October Splendor, Adventure, Awareness and Safety

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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

Huron Swamp: The Greatest Treasure of Indian Springs

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

“Nothing exists for itself alone, but only in relation to other forms of life.” – Charles Darwin.

The Huron Swamp slowly awakened in the dawn’s early light. An unseen Barred Owl hooted as the sky lightened. Although these swamp-loving owls with “soulful brown eyes” wing silently between the swamp’s white oaks, red maples, and tamaracks, their distinctive melody of “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” confirmed their presence. Ten minutes passed. A sudden splash in the shallows was the signature of a raccoon, or perhaps a mink. Fresh muddy tracks on the wooden boardwalk told me it could have been either. Suddenly a Pileated Woodpecker’s resonating wuk-wuk-wuk alarm call indicated an intruder. Perhaps it was me. But my intrusion was in search of swamp magic.

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