Yesterday my family and I went to Spring Mill State Park located in Mitchell, Indiana. It was a beautiful, sunny day and perfect for spending it outside. We'd never been to Spring Mill before but had heard it was fun, with lots of historical buildings in a village, lots of hiking trails and also has a great campground. We were just going for the afternoon, so naturally I took my camera with me.
Spring Mill IS an amazing place with so many areas to explore and enjoy, so we didn't cover the entire park yesterday (which we hope to complete in the fall during a camping trip next time). The kids loved playing in the stream that runs through the entire park, and is also a factor in the restored mill on the grounds in the Pioneer Village (picked up a bag of fresh ground corn meal from the mill - can't wait for homemade corn muffins!). We also watched how tools from the 1800's were used to carve wood, make pottery, and rugs made on a large loom.
Before we went to the Pioneer Village we went to the Nature Center, with lots of hands-on learning for kids of all ages, then went out back for a quick hike on Trail #5. Now in my previous posts I've mentioned a quest for pictures of a blue heron. Little did I know I'd happen to run into one in the lake who would really put on a show for us.
My husband and kids were ahead of me on the trail enjoying the scenery, with me a few steps behind looking across the algae covered lake for anything that might be camera worthy. Wouldn't ya know it, but there in the middle of the lake was a Great Blue Heron standing still, quietly waiting for it's lunch. I shot a few pictures of the bird, and pointed it out to everyone, and they watched for a few minutes. There was a thin line of small trees and plants lining the shore, so as we walked quietly I tried to get better pictures through better vantage points.
After a while we decided to turn around on the trail to get back to the car and drive to another section of Spring Mill. As we walked, the Great Blue Heron was still standing in the same spot, and I took a few more pictures. I said to my family that I wondered how long he probably had to stand there to catch a meal. Not but a few moments later that bird put on a quite a show - stabbing a fish with its beak, flying a short distance to shallower waters, swallowing it whole while stretching its neck out full length to get it down, then fixing its feathers - ALL while directly facing us! We couldn't believe it and thought it was awesome! Our patience had paid off!
After the show, we walked back to the car and did several more hours of exploring and having fun. It was a wonderful day, with each of us loving a different part of it. Personally, I am feeling quite lucky in my quest for bird photographs, with two close encounters in such a short amount of time (see previous blog entry to understand fully!). Will I get shots like that again? I hope so - perhaps with a bigger lens on the end of my camera to get even better images (wink, wink!).
Thanks and let's see what happens next with the camera!