Tonight was Owl Prowl night with the one and only Mark Glenshaw (AKA the Owl Man). I’m not certain Owl Man is the best name for Mark, even though he does look a bit owlish, but he seems fine with it, so who am I to say otherwise? I got to the park almost an hour early and parked near the General before wandering through the Deer Lake swamp and savanna. Mallards flew fast and low across deer lake as I walked past it, but they always fly fast, it’s a duck thing.
I have developed a new appreciation for poison ivy this spring. No, I haven’t gotten a rash, but that’s only because I’m very careful not to touch the stuff. “Leaves of three, leave them be.” That’s ‘cause it’s either poison ivy or box elder (PI if the stems of the leaves are alternating and box elder if the stems are exactly opposite each other on the trunk). There is a lot of poison ivy in Forest Park! It is, of course, an indigenous species, and the berries they produce do make up part of the diets of certain birds, so, don’t go kissing any birds. Also, don’t go hugging trees if they’ve got vines growing up them.
Late in the day, when it is almost time to meet Mark at the visitor center, I take a shortcut across cricket field. I discover the hard way that the margins of the field are rather marshy. I really must remember to wear my boots all the time. My eyes are watering again, I think I’m allergic to nature itself, which is really too bad. I pause to make a photo and those darn gnats, attracted by my watery eyes, fly into them. What could their role in nature be besides annoying me?
The perfect ending to a perfect day (speaking a bit sarcastically) is the mysterious absence of the very owl we are seeking as we scour Owl Hill in an effort to discover his hiding place. But Charles is nowhere to be found. We did find bullfrogs and turtles, but no great horned owl.