With only an hour in between hockey games, I didn't have much time to look for birds, but I hit the road anyway. According to Jill the GPS Girl I was only 12 minutes away from Waterloo Recreation Area, so I thought I'd check it out. I'm glad I did. The place is huge (20,000+ acres)...and gorgeous! Jill led me to the Waterloo Headquarters easily enough, and after parking, I walked up to the large trail map posted outside the building. A trail picked up right off the parking area and looked like a perfect place to begin--until I saw a sign mentioning that "this trail goes through hunting areas." ----"Yikes!" Needless to say, since I was not wearing orange, I high-tailed it out of there and admonished Jill for taking me into the danger zone, recommending she did a little "recalculating..." of her own! Going the opposite direction fast, I followed the signs to the Eddy Discovery Center, happy to see lots of "No Hunting" signs posted along the way. The Discovery Center was closed, but the trails around it were beautiful, and I couldn't resist starting down the Hickory Hills Nature Trail.
...as soon as I stepped on the trail, a family of Black-capped Chickadees started calling all around me. Their call was sweet and noticeably different from our Carolina Chickadees, and as they sang their song, I could hear the differences there also. They were larger than our Carolinas (the tails especially seemed longer), and they had more white on the wings. Both Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees are reported to live in Cincinnati, but I've only seen Carolina Chickadees around our house.
Leaves were still mostly green, but here and there you could see chlorophyll production had stopped, draining the green from the leaves and letting the yellow, orange and red pigments of autumn show through.
The forest floor at the trail's edge was dark, stained even darker by the rain, highlighting the chartreuse green leaves of saplings.
...did you notice the name of the last trail? It caught my attention quickly! After seeing the spectacular array of birds at the Pinckney Island NWR this summer, anything with Pinckney in it had to be good. :-)