Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feb 23, 2014: Trumpeter Swans

Four adult Trumpeter Swans were present Saturday morning.  This is a digiscoped photo of one of them. 2/23/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Feb 22, 2014: Common Goldeneye

One drake Common Goldeneye made a brief visit to the "hole" in the south lake ice on Saturday.  He took flight after his picture was taken, circled the area, and headed off to the north.  Note the Canada Geese and Mallards resting on the ice behind him.  This is a digiscoped photo (point-and-shoot camera through a spotting scope). 2/22/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feb 21, 2014: Contrasts

The blanket of bright white snow cover contrast with the prairie border, bridge, geese on the open water, background tree cover, and grey sky.  Looking north from southeast entrance to the park.  2/8/14 (Kevin Kane)

Feb 20, 2014: North Slope in the Fog

An eastward view through the fog of the north slope.  This was before the storm hit. 2/20/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 19, 2014: Snowy Path

The City of Ames has done an excellent job keeping the paths clear for those who still love to get out  - even in this weather!  This photo was taken on the southeast shore of the south lake looking south.  2/8/14 (Kevin Kane)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feb 18, 2014: Pool F

A view across the Pool F area towards the highlands (Upland Trail area). 2/15/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 17, 2014: Snow Sculpture

The winds have created these sculptures in the snow along the trail (east side of the south lake). 2/16/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 16, 2014: Can Spring Be Far Off?

Milkweed pods. 2/8/14 (Kevin Kane)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Feb 15, 2014: Sled Tracks

These sled tracks on the south lake lead to a lone fishing tent (all the others were on the north lake). 2/12/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Feb 14, 2014: Swans

Trumpeter Swans over the south lake. 2/12/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

At 4:49pm, while finishing a lap around the main parking lot, I heard the sound of Trumpeter Swans.  I looked up and spotted 2 adults (7K4 and her “mate”) accompanied by an immature.  They flew in from the NE and headed towards the south lake.  When I reached the bridge I scanned the open water and found the three swans, so I decided to ride a fourth lap to reach the part of the trail opposite the open water.  Once there I retrieved my camera and started to shoot some photographs.  Suddenly, two more adults flew in, circled, and then landed on the ice, just south of the open water.  They trumpeted loudly and then stood up to each (and bobbing heads up-and-down) in what I would call a “greeting”.  They were so boisterous that the original two started to trumpet, too.  Then these two took flight, circled the south lake, and headed off to the SE, leaving the immature behind.  (I don’t believe that this immature belongs to 7K4.)  The remaining pair continued to trumpet for a few more minutes and then stopped.  They walked over to the open water and entered.

Wolf. Oesterreich

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Feb 13, 2014: Snowboarding

The recent snowfalls have left excellent conditions for sledding and snowboarding on the north hills. 2/8/14 (Kevin Kane)

Feb 12, 2014: Setting Sun and Fishermen

With the sun settling down behind them, these fishermen were just starting to get situated by the fishing pier (north lake). 2/12/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 11, 2014: Ice Playing

Two kids give up ice fishing for awhile to play in the snow on the north lake. 2/8/14 (Kevin Kane)

Feb 10, 2014: South Lake

A NW view across the ice- and snow-covered south lake towards the bluff area.  A few Canada Geese, awaiting dinner, are found in the lower left hand corner.  A person comes out every day and dumps some corn for the waterfowl to munch on. 2/10/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feb 9, 2014: Jensen Pond

An eastward view across Jensen Pond, which is ice-covered. Hardly any snow was found around the pond, just a few ice patches in the grass and trail. 1/30/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Feb 8, 2014: Winter Trout

Over 60 fishing tents were set up for a youth fishing event Saturday.  At the right side is the DNR truck, unloading trout through a hose into the north lake (by the boat ramp).  This event was sponsored by JAX, Story County Conservation, Iowa DNR, and possibly others.  Free hotdogs and hot chocolate were available to participants.  I saw a couple of youths walking back to their car with smiles on their faces while their mother carried a bag with containing some trout. 2/8/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 7, 2014: American Tree Sparrow

This lone American Tree Sparrow was foraging for seed along the edge of a trail.  Note the rufous cap, bi-color bill, dark spot on chest, rufous eye-line, and the white wing bar.  They are here in late Fall, Winter, and early Spring (and are replaced by Chipping Sparrows). 2/2/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Feb 6, 2014: Shelter at Sunset

The last rays from the setting sun are behind the mini-shelter, located at the NW corner of the Upland Trail. 2/3/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Feb 5, 2014: Hayden Park News 11

Sundogs at sunrise. 1/27/14 (Kevin Kane)

I am pleased to send you the annual report for 2013. Approved by the Board of Directors on 1/30/2014.

Friends of Ada Hayden Heritage Park
2013 Annual Report

Invasive Species
We purchased 700 seedlings of native shrubs from the Iowa DNR State Nursery. These were planted in an area infested with volunteer Siberian Elm. At our request, the city removed several large Siberian Elm trees this year that were the seed source for this stand of young elm. City staff then mowed the area with a brush mower prior to planting the native shrubs. Species planted were: Chokecherry, Gray Dogwood, Hazelnut, Ninebark, Serviceberry, Wild Plum, and Nannyberry. Dr. Richard Hall and his Silviculture class from Iowa State University provided a tractor and tree planter to assist with the planting. An additional 25 seedling Highbush Cranberry donated from the Story County Soil and Water District were planted by hand on April 26. City park staff mowed between the rows of the planting later in the summer and mulched the seedlings. Severe drought accompanied by high temperatures in July and August may have killed many of the small seedlings. An inventory will need to be made in spring of 2014.

In June, a strong effort was made to eradicate musk thistle in the park. This was done by first removing flowering heads and placing them in large plastic garbage bags. Then the plants were cut at ground level with a hoe or “corn hook” and let lay. The flowering heads were composted in Erv Klaas’ backyard bins. Our volunteers have read a lot about musk thistle and they all understand how difficult it is to control this invasive species. It will take several years of cutting and removal before we have musk thistles eradicated, if ever. Thanks to all who helped: Al and Ida Johnson, Jon Hunstock, Wolfgang and Annamarie Oesterreich, Fritz and Susan Franzen, and Erv Klaas.

Interpretive Programs
Two activities were held in early September in recognition of Iowa Prairie Heritage Week. For the first event, Deb Lewis, curator of the Ada Hayden Herbarium at ISU led a group of about 10 people on a prairie walk on September 9th. Later that same week, Deb sponsored a gathering of folks in the prairie who read poetry and prose about prairies on September 12th. Wolf Oesterreich led three bird walks at the park: May 23, 30 and June 23 (at Pack the Park Event).

Recreational Events
On June 15, a fund raising event on our behalf was sponsored by Skunk River Paddlers and JAX Sporting Goods. It was called “Pack-the-Park” and featured a slowest bicycle race, a canoe tug-of-war and canoe and kayak races. The sponsors presented us with $240.

September 7 and 8, a group of local bicycle and paddler organizations held the Great Ames Adventure Race (GAAR) at the park. Individuals and groups competed in a triathlon-type race featuring running, bicycling, and canoeing. Proceeds of this event were also donated to the Friends and netted $800.

Outreach and Education
Kevin Kane continues to maintain a blog and website featuring photos and news of the park. Over two years there have been approximately 50,000 hits to the web page. Kevin also created a Facebook page this year that now has 250 followers. Wolf Oesterreich has faithfully kept up his surveys of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, lepidopterans and odonates. His observations are summarized each month and published on the Reflections web site. Erv has assisted in the odonate surveys and Wolf and Erv have prepared an illustrated talk on the “Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ada Hayden Heritage Park.” The talk was presented in February at the annual meeting of the Iowa Chapter of the Wildlife Society in Ames and to the weekly seminar of the Natural Resources Ecology Management Department at ISU on October 4, 2013. The blog spot can be found at

Ames Art Walk
Kevin, Wolf, and Erv showed their photos from AHHP at the June Ames Art Walk on Main Street. A silent auction was held for four large framed prints. Kevin and Kelly Poole produced books and greeting cards of photos from the blog. About $240 was raised for Friends of AHHP.

Erv Klaas

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feb 3, 2014: Freeze Up

Overnight, approximately 95% of the open water at the south lake became ice-covered. 2/2/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Feb 2, 2014: Wolf's January 2014 Wildlife List

This adult Snow Goose, which was first found on 17 December, continued its presence through the end of the month.  [It's probably a male........refused to stop and ask for directions!  He's not lost, just misplaced.] 1/29/14 (Wolf Oesterreich)

A total of 34 avian species was recorded this month, ranking this month as the 4th highest January among 17 years of records.  [I didn't return from California until the evening of the 6th.]

Listed below, following the species’ names, are the date(s) of sighting(s), plus the occasional miscellaneous information regarding numbers, gender (♂=male, ♀=female), age (im=immature, ju=juvenile, abp=adult breeding plumage, ad=adult, anb=adult non-breeding), color phase (b=blue, w=white), and location (BY=back yard, FY=front yard).  The order follows the 53rd Supplement (2012) to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North American Birds and the 12th Supplement to the 7th Edition (1998).

     SNOW GOOSE: 7-9 (1 ad), 11-15 (1 ad), 17-21 (1 ad), 23-31 (1 ad)
     CACKLING GOOSE: 19 (1), 26 (~6)
     CANADA GOOSE: 7-31
     TRUMPETER SWAN: 21 (1 ad)
     TUNDRA SWAN: 23-24 (1 ad), 26-29 (1 ad)
     MALLARD: 7-10, 11 (300+), 12-31
     NORTHERN PINTAIL: 7-9 (1♂), 11-15 (1♂), 17-21 (1♂), 23-31 (1♂)
     RING-NECKED PHEASANT: 7 (1♂ BY), 9, 11 (9), 12 (3), 13 (14), 15-16 (3), 17 (1), 18 (4),
                                    19-20 (1♂ BY), 25 (3), 27, 29-31 (1)
     BALD EAGLE: 9 (1 ad), 14 (1 im), 18 (1 ad), 28 (1 im), 29 (1 ad), 31 (1 ad)
     COOPER’S HAWK: 10 (1), 15 (1 im BY), 17 (1 ad), 23 (1 ad BY)
     RED-TAILED HAWK: 7 (2), 8 (1), 14 (1), 16 (1), 18-19 (1), 20-21 (2), 23-24 (1), 26 (1), 28 (1),
                                    29-30 (2), 31 (1)
     MOURNING DOVE: 13 (1 BY), 16 (1), 21 (2), 30 (1 BY)
     GREAT HORNED OWL:6 (1), 21 (1)
     RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER: 7, 19-20, 24, 26
     DOWNY WOODPECKER: 7, 9-15, 17-31
     HAIRY WOODPECKER: 7, 9, 18-19, 26, 31
     NORTHERN FLICKER (Yellow-shafted): 21 (1)
     NORTHERN SHRIKE: 18 (1), 23 (1), 27 (1)
     BLUE JAY: 7-12, 17-19, 21-23, 25-27, 29-30
     AMERICAN CROW: 7-12, 14-24, 26-29, 31
     WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH: 7-8, 10-12, 19
     AMERICAN ROBIN: 7-8 (1), 16 (5), 17 (11), 18 (1), 20 (1), 29 (3 BY + 15), 30 (3 BY)
     EUROPEAN STARLING: 7-14, 16-21, 23-26, 29-30
     CEDAR WAXWING: 11 (15+ BY), 12 (45 BY)
     AMERICAN TREE SPARROW: 7-9, 11-19, 21, 23-31
     SONG SPARROW: 7-8, 9 (1), 12 (1), 21 (1), 23 (1)
     DARK-EYED JUNCO (Slate-colored): 7-31
     DARK-EYED JUNCO (Oregon): 15 (1 BY)
     NORTHERN CARDINAL: 7-16, 18-31
     HOUSE FINCH: 7-13, 15-16, 18-31
     AMERICAN GOLDFINCH: 10 (2), 23-24 (1)
     HOUSE SPARROW: 7-31

Unless indicated otherwise, the White-tailed Deer were antlerless.

     WHITE-TAILED DEER: 7 (2 BY), 8 (3 BY), 9 (2), 12 (8 BY), 13 (2), 14 (4♂ + 1 BY), 15 (6 + 4♂),
                                    17 (5), 19 (3♂), 20-21 (4 BY), 23 (1), 27 (20 + 4♂), 28 (11), 29 (12 + 5♂),
                                    30 (2), 31 (4)
     FOX SQUIRREL: 7-12, 18-20, 24-26, 31
     EASTERN COTTONTAIL: 7-8, 10-13, 15-23, 25-26, 29-31

Wolf. Oesterreich

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Feb 1, 2014: South Lake Freeze and Thaw

Two days on the south lake side by side. 1/27/14 & 1/28/14 (Wolf. Oesterreich)

Thanks to the strong winds, the open water continues to expand southerly along the east side of the south lake.  Today, Mallards were concentrated at the south end, along with the Northern Pintail, while the Canada Geese grouped at the north end.

One third of yesterday's open water was now covered with ice.  This photograph was taken almost 24 hours apart.  The waterfowl are now concentrated in the north section.

Wolf. Oesterreich