Once again, it lived up to its name. But this time I didn’t get lost in the wandering-through-the-woods-for-hours sense, it turned out to be in the How-did-I-get-back-to-the-wrong-side-of-the-Visitor-Center-already sense. So it was a shorter walk than I would have guessed. Even so, I was worried about my post-walk trip to Trader Joe’s being before opening time, since I set off at 5:00 in the morning. (Barely inching up to forty degrees at that time, by the way, the whole June thing be damned.) But it turned out it was 9:45 by the time I got back to civilization, so I guess all that bird observation added up. This walk was much more bird-oriented than any of my previous ones.
The Lost City Forest contains miles and miles of woods, but getting there is also fun. Before I even parked my bike, I was birdwatching; trees are sending out seeds now, and the robins and chipping sparrows were all over the road, taking advantage. Once into the woods, I spent some time admiring fungus before turning off to the Lost part of my walk.
Most of the woods is pretty unimpressive looking–dense, tangled and weedy. Woods don’t care about aesthetics.
Weirdo aliens. Or maybe just pinecones.
Not sure, but I believe these are elderberry flowers.
This is super cool, and I didn’t even know it was here! I haven’t hiked this way in a couple years. I came to a retention pond I’d never seen before, enjoyed the swallows and pond-fringe birds, and headed back by what I thought would be a fairly boring route. But after a while I came to a series of paths through a new project in the Arboretum–a new prairie/oak savannah restoration! It’s big, too–many miles around. I know this picture doesn’t look like much, but I was so excited to see this messy scenery! They’re just to the stage of clearing brush now, and yeah, the results look pretty dismal. Next step is to apply herbicide. (Anyone thinking restoration of natural habitat is going to be an instant Sierra Club greeting card had better think again. Restoration involves a whole lot of human technology and effort.) I didn’t even know this land was here. It felt surprisingly far from the Beltline Highway.
One day this will all be restored to prairie.
Birds: I’m such a lame birdwatcher, but I’m working on it. A couple times today, when I put up my binoculars, I could actually associate what I was looking at with the un-binoculared landscape. My binocs are nothing fancy–things you’d get at Best Buy to take up into the football stands. I just like them because they’re compact–easy to carry and use. Nevertheless many birds showed up, though I doubt they were impressed by my technical skills.
Heard but did not see eastern wood peewee. Saw & heard robin, chipping sparrow, red-wing blackbird, dove, catbird, goldfinch, phoebe (first sighting of the year, though I’ve been hearing them for over a month), house wren, bank swallow, barn swallow, turkey, sandhill crane, cedar waxwing, song sparrow, ruby-throated hummingbird, cardinal, red-bellied woodpecker, Canada goose, mallard, grackle, some kind of lame mockingbirds, great crested flycatcher (I think), broad-winged hawk, and invisiblebird. (Amazing bird, the invisible. Even up close, you can only see it in flight; it completely disappears when sitting still. This species doesn’t appear in any of the field guides because the writers of such books don’t want to look silly, and because it’s undetectable in photographs. But all true birdwatchers know the invisiblebird is real.)