Thanks DNR

Back on November 7 I stopped at Honker Haven, one of the smallish ponds at Atterbury FWA. I really hadn’t expected to see much for a couple of reasons.

First, it has as an observing deck that used to allow you to see the waterfowl that gather in the NW part of the pond.  But the small trees growing up along the edge of the pond had all but blocked the view to the NW part of the pond.

A view of the observing deck and the south end of the pond. Atterbury FWA

Secondly this time of year there are warning signs not to enter since this is a “Waterfowl Resting Area, Restricted Use, Authorized Personnel Only”. And since you can’t go to the edge of the water to look NW you still won’t see any waterfowl on the usually empty southern part.

Waterfowl Resting
You can’t access the pond to view waterfowl this time of year. Atterbury FWA

So imagine my surprise when I get to the top of the deck and the trees blocking the view to the NW are gone! I usually don’t like trees being cut down but these were small trees that should never have been allowed to grow. This is a pretty big deal for basically waterless Johnson County. One more place to view a lake where waterfowl congregate.

You can still see some of the trees in the foreground that used to block the view to the NW. Atterbury FWA
And the waterfowl to the NW. The distance isn’t so great that you can’t ID most everything with a scope. Atterbury FWA

So with the trees down I could actually scope the waterfowl and came up with GADWALL, RING-NECKED DUCKS, GREEN-WINGED TEALS, and of course MALLARDS on the water.

Pushing my camera to its max, a photo of a distant Mallard and Gadwall. Atterbury FWA 11/7/15

One other thing I have noticed is that the slight elevation is good for raptors.  The small elevation is just enough to almost see over the tops of the trees in the basically flat surrounding land. I usually try to be there around noon when the thermals are rising and have seen most of the expected species flying over at one time or another. And sometimes really close when they come gliding over the tops of the trees and catch you off guard.

A photo of a Turkey Vulture to show how close raptors some time come in to the top of the observing platform. Atterbury FWA 11/7/15
A good photo to show how a raptor can catch you off guard. This Red-tailed Hawk came sailing in right over the tree tops and I never saw it coming. Just sailing away. Atterbury FWA 11/7/15

Thanks DNR!

2 Replies to “Thanks DNR”

  1. This is great news about the observation deck! Thanks for the heads up. They did some interesting bushwhacking through the brush for hunting season. This looks a bit more tidy.

    1. Your welcome on the heads up.

      The longer you live here the more “interesting” bushwhacking at Atterbury you’ll see. Mike has told me of all the thinning over the years and the way it’s done. Not sure I would have chosen “interesting”, but it sure does fit what’s done. 🙂

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