Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello from Eagle Creek!

Hello! My name is Frog Dawn, and I'm one of the naturalists out at Eagle Creek Park - thanks Janet for setting it up so we can come and play too! This is my first time posting on the blog and I thought I'd start by sharing a little video clip of maple sap dripping from a sugar maple tree out at Eagle Creek - we tapped it as a demonstration for a school field trip to the Earth Discovery Center. (Janet already posted in February about the wonderful maple syrup program at Southeastway if you want more details about sap collection and syrup making.) The season for collection is almost over, but on warm days like today the sap drips out out at a quick and steady pace - like a very leaky faucet!

On a recent hike with some of our volunteers, we noticed one of the first wildflowers of the year blooming in the park - Salt and Pepper, also known as Harbinger of Spring. The tiny white flowers of Salt and Pepper often go unnoticed by folks out for an early spring hike, unless they know to look for them:

Take a moment to lean down and look a little closer - they may not be as showy or colorful as some of the later wildflowers, but after a long cold winter we greet them with much delight!

Unfortunately, with the warm weather comes one of the less welcome signs of spring...notice anything odd about this bunny rabbit? This is a pet, a domestic rabbit, that someone released out at the park today. As you can see, the rabbit is not camouflaged at all; it had no fear of people or other animals, and did not have a thick winter coat. With temperatures dropping tonight and plenty of predators about, the rabbit probably would not have survived the night. Luckily it was spotted by some park visitors, who took the time to notify staff and stay with the rabbit until we could get there (thank you!)

The owners who released this rabbit may have been misguided, thinking that their pet could live happily "in the wild," not realizing it would suffer either a quick death by a hungry owl or coyote, or a slow one from exposure and starvation. The rabbit will be taken to a rescue group and found a new home - something the original owners should have done. Domestic pets should never be released into the parks!

And finally, enjoy another video clip - the sounds of the Western Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris triseriata) singing from one of the ponds in Eagle Creek Park. These tiny frogs will call from now until mid-April on warm days, lay their eggs, and then the adults go back into the forest and we won't hear them again until next year:



Janet Creamer said...

Very cool chorus frog video!

dAwN said...

Great post!
Glad you were able to rescue the bunnie.

Mary said...

Just found your blog through Tom in Ohio. I'm down in Evansville (the city that Indy likes to ignore). Always glad to find another Indiana blogger! Glad you rescued that poor rabbit.