Happy 2020 everyone! Our first trek of the new year is at Eagle Creek Park in Indy for a birding hike. If you are from the Indianapolis area you certainly know of Eagle Creek Park and how fantastic it is.
As one of the nation’s largest city parks, it contains 1,400 acres of water and 3,900 acres of forest with 18 miles of trails. Most of the trails are relatively flat with easy terrain, but some parts can be a little rugged. There are numerous activities year-round and plenty of space for hiking, kayaking, fishing, dog walking and nature photography and biking along the paved roads. It is also considered a birding hotspot.
Eagle Creek Park is supported by the Eagle Creek Park Foundation and their website provides a lot of useful information including trail maps and history of the park.
What brought us to the park this time was a weekly Sunday Bird Hike hosted by the Amos Butler Audubon Society. These walks happen every Sunday, rain or shine and are led by experienced birders who are very familiar with the park and really know their birds.
We met the tour group at the Ornithology Center and split up into smaller groups, each led by a different guide, and each group taking different trails. Our group set out on the Red Trail and made our way around the Coffer dam that rings the sanctuary portion of the reservoir.
We had clear blue sky, but it was cold this morning. Nonetheless, we spotted several species of birds, including:
- Adult and juvenile Bald Eagles
- Eastern Blue Bird
- American Robin
- Ring-billed gulls – these guys were clustered on one of the mud flats and they scattered abruptly, which was a clue that an Eagle was in the area. Sure enough, we observed the adult Bald Eagle soaring nearby.
- Belted Kingfisher – my favorite sighting of the day
- Northern Mockingbird
- Downy Woodpecker
- Great Blue Heron
- Common Loon
- Canada Geese
Not bad for this time of year. Afterward while mingling with others in the tour group, we compared photos and went over the bird list for the day. A very friendly group!
This was the first Sunday bird walk for us, but I’m sure we’ll be back.
Mockingbird up close!