This morning I cleaned and performed maintenance on my nest boxes at Area L in Galena (Delaware Cty). My tasks were made bearable by the distractions around me. The bay at Dustin Road is exposing mudflats that hosted 23 Great Egrets, numerous Killdeer and a few sandpipers (sp). Hoover Reservoir has been a disappointment for shorebirds this year because of the higher than normal fall water. In the wooded areas including the small peninsula off the old roadbed and the woods along Big Walnut Creek multiple species of warblers were present, but in low numbers. A few other species observed included Red-headed Woodpeckers, Belted Kingfishers, a Bald Eagle and a Carolina Wren that seemed to be following me as I cleaned the nest boxes.
I had a couple of interesting encounters with deer mice. The first was at a nest box that I accidentally spray painted a deer mouse last year when applying afresh coat of wood rustoleum. When I opened the box there was a deer mouse inside and he immediately stood on his haunches with his paws held up. It looked like he was surrendering so I wouldn't paint him again. Later I opened a nest box and found a female deer mouse with her brood which were not yet ready to leave the nest. At first she sort of shivered in fear of herself and her brood, but then seemed to understand that I meant no harm and went to her youngsters, occasionally looking up at me as I noted to come back later to clean the nest box. I'm getting soft.
I also found many moths camouflaged against tree trunks. My knowledge is limited in this area but I think they were mostly underwing, or catocala moths.
Before leaving I took time to police the trash people have left in the area. Only 50 gallons worth today as fishing has mostly ended in the area. I also found many new golf balls from the nearby Blackhawk Gold Course. With a slice bad enough to land in the preserve these guys are no threat to Tiger Woods.
Hoover Nature Preserve
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