Rey left early on Sunday morning for Tennessee. After a while I went for a bike ride in the Park. As the picture above shows, it looks like the workmen have all but finished the Deer Lake Council Circle. It will be interesting to see what uses this structure will have. Will it be used for theater, religious services or just a place to sit for a while?
Afterwards I swung by the Steinberg Ice Rink. I was surprised to see that the ice was already in place and ready for use. I even stepped on to the ice to make sure it wasn’t melting, but it was as hard a rock. I really feel that I have fallen behind the turning of the seasons.
I circled the bike path and stopped along the southern edge of the Park to observe the construction progress of the New I-64. I even walked out on to the highway. Does this count as, go play on the highway? If they finish this phase as early as they finished last year’s phase (two weeks early), then I have only one more month to endure. I think though that it will be closer to two months or the end of the year, the scheduled completion date, before they are done. I observed concrete medians that needed to be poured yet. Plus in this economy, why work harder, just to lose your job sooner.
Towards the end of my ride I decided to go bird hunting. I circled the usual haunts but saw no birds. I eventually cruised the lower Muny parking lot and was rewarded. I saw a kingfisher, a red-headed woodpecker and a flicker, but I was only able to get a picture of the white throated sparrow, pictured below. Anne says that they have a Michigan football player’s helmet pattern on their head. I got sixteen miles.
After I got back home, Anne and I decided to tackle the leaves. We started in the backyard. I got distracted from the leaves and started tackling the vines that have taken over the yard. We were working together when Karen, our rear fence neighbor, came out to say hello. Karen works for the Zoo. While we were talking, she told us that she was working on her master’s degree in ecology. She is finishing up and only has her thesis to complete. Because she works with exotic animals on a daily basis, she wanted her thesis to be about an indigenous animal. She chose raccoons in Forest Park.
As part of her thesis work, she would trap and radio collar raccoons and then track them. She worked this all last winter, now she has lots of data to reduce. Raccoons are nocturnal, so she did a lot of her field work at night. She had the permits to do what she was doing and was up front with the police about it. In turn, the cops would keep a protective eye on her and give her a steer if they saw a raccoon.
According to Karen the alpha-predators of the Park are coyotes. The red fox population is down in recent years, probably because of the coyotes. Although wild turkeys and deer continue to try to colonize the Park, their pilgrim populations are inevitably wiped-out. I have seen all of these creatures living in the Park. It would be nice to have them survive in the Park. Who knew how active the nightlife was in the Park?