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Michigan Revisited, July 2017

Part 10: Horicon National Wildlife Refuge

All photographs ©2017 by Mary Beth Stowe

Headed south the next morning, and in the process of hopping here and there to stay on SR 26, there was the sign for Horicon NWR!  So we turned off and found the main parking lot, from where a couple of trails jumped off, and we weren’t the only ones using the place: lots of “nice” people were there getting in their morning jog or bike ride or whatever!  It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, so I set my watch for 20 minutes and started on the Redhead Hiking Trail, which went through hilly prairie with scattered trees.  Right away a Sedge Wren sang from the parking area, and a flock of quacking Mallards flew past!  Tree Swallows, new for the trip, were all over, and I was thrilled to see a Black Tern fly by!  Down in some “woods” a Warbling Vireo was singing, and there was also a ton of Starlings and some Robins, and no wonder:  the trees were full of those red berries the birds like so much!

Start of the Redhead Hiking Trail

Coming out of the “woods” the trail joined the auto tour at a point where you could see into a marsh that had several Great Egrets and more Black Terns.  But as I started back I thought I heard a soft cu-cu-cu and stopped to listen:  sure enough, a Least Bittern was singing in there!  (The auto tour road is called the “Tern Pike”, BTW… J)  A little connector trail took me back to the parking lot, where a whole mess of Bobolinks were sitting up in the grass!  On the way out I crawled along behind a group of seniors riding their bikes to the Wild Goose State Trail, and that got me to thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to commit one Saturday a month to riding a bike trail somewhere, just to get some exercise and work on my balance!

Oh, how I was tempted to spend more time there, but we really needed to get going, so south we went and landed in Salem, IL, where there’s a state park just down the road! J 

Wetland as seen from the "Tern Pike"

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