Category Archives: nature

Muscatatuck Fall

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge located three miles east of Seymour, Indiana, on U.S. Route 50. Established in 1966, it comprises 7,802 acres in its main area of eastern Jackson and western Jennings counties, and an additional 78 acres in northwestern Monroe County, near Bloomington, Indiana, known as the “Restle Unit”. It was established thanks to the selling of Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps, by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. It was Indiana’s first National Wildlife Refuge. The name comes from the Muscatatuck River, which means “land of winding waters”.

Converted farm lands comprise 60% of the total land area of the refuge. Several archaeological sites in the refuge are on the National Register of Historic Places. Much of the tree cover is deciduous forest.

A visitor center, eight hiking trails (ranging from a fifth of a mile to four miles (6 km) of easy to moderate hiking), a four-mile (6 km) driving tour, two pioneer cemeteries, and a log cabin of historical significance are available for the 125,000 annual visitors to the refuge to enjoy. The refuge is open for visitation from 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset.

The primary wildlife protected in the refuge is waterfowl and other birds, including mating pairs of bald eagles.

On December 23, 1998 a small flock of four trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) were re-introduced to the refuge when they flew from Sudbury, Ontario accompanied by an ultra-light plane. This was the first time trumpeters had migrated to southern Indiana in over 100 years. Although these trumpeters returned to Sudbury in 1999 and 2000, the flock appears to have died out, although other re-introduced trumpeters visit the refuge in the winter today.
Also migrating tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) winter at Muscatatuck every year, usually a month or so before Christmas.

In 2001, the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership raised whooping crane (Grus americana) chicks in Wisconsin’s Necedah National Wildlife Refuge then guided them to Florida’s Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, utilizing Muscatatuck as a stopover site on the migrations. That population has been successful and by 2010 there were up to 105 migrating birds established in the eastern United States for the first time in over 100 years. The migrating birds are regularly seen during migration stopovers at Muscatatuck, often in the company of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis).

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Fall Cascade

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A serene scene from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. Warm fall light helps to create a very peaceful mood in this image I captured at the park. There are many much larger and more photogenic falls here but this one always brings me back for a visit because of its solitude and peacefulness it exudes.

The Road Thru Clifty

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Another shot from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. I captured this image on a early fall day walking the road that traverses the east side of Clifty Canyon Reserve located inside the park.

Wasn’t the best shot I ever got but it was one of those images that remind you of a special day that you will long remember !!

Stairway to Heaven

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Another beautiful fall scene from Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana. Even though it was a warm dry fall I was still able to capture a few nice images this year.

Little Clifty Bridge

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I was hiking at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana when I came across this beautiful scene. I caught the sun as it slid beneath the rugged hillside that surrounds Little Clifty Falls and the bridge that spans it. Timing is such a major player in photography and once again I ended up at the right place at the right time !!

Fall at Clifty Falls State Park

Here is an example of the color we are starting to experience here in Southern Indiana at Clifty falls State Park located near Madison Indiana.

It started out warm and dry here but the last few days have cooled dramatically and we have received much needed rain to help spur on the color that we had been lacking.

So starting now thru the next ten days the color will really be beautiful here and it should be a great destination for viewing the wonderful fall colors that blanket the hillsides and gorges that grace this part of Indiana.

Common Buckeye

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Thought I would share another great butterfly from southern Indiana, the Common Buckeye, photographed at Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana. Maybe the most beautiful butterfly that inhabits our area and certainly one of my favorite.

According to Wikipedia….

Junonia coenia, the common buckeye or buckeye, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and all parts of the United States except the northwest, and is especially common in the south, the California coast, and throughout Central America ,Colombia & India .The subspecies Junonia coenia bergi is endemic to the island of Bermuda.

Its habitat is open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. This species and its relatives were placed formerly in the genus Precis.

The bold pattern of eyespots and white bars on the upper wing surface is distinctive in much of its range, though compare related species in the same genus. These are mangrove buckeye (Junonia evarete) and tropical buckeye (Junonia genoveva), formerly considered one species, and the smoky buckeye (Junonia evarete). The eyespots likely serve to startle or distract predators, especially young birds. The species has many flights throughout the year, with mostly northward migrations for the summer. Much of the northern United States is only colonized in the fall from southern populations. Some of the later broods move southwards in the fall. Common buckeyes exhibit seasonal polyphenism, the summer version of the butterfly has light yellowish ventral wings and is called “linea”. The fall morph has pink ventral wings, and is called the “rosa” morph.

Adults feed on nectar and also take fluids from mud and damp sand. Males perch on bare ground or low plants, occasionally patrolling in search of females, but they are not territorial. The female lays eggs singly on buds or the upper side of leaves. The caterpillars are solitary and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the host plant. A variety of (typically) herbaceous plants are used, including especially plants in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). These include snapdragon (Antirrhinum), toadflax (Linaria), and Gerardia. Caterpillars also feed on plants of the plantain family, such as Plantago; and the Acanthus family including ruellia (Ruellia nodiflora). Larvae feed singly. Adults and some larvae overwinter in southern areas. The pupa may not have a resting phase (diapause), as in many other butterflies.

Well that’s the description of this great butterfly hope you enjoyed the info and image, thanks for stopping by and taking a look.