Alex Palmer's Natural History Notes and Thoughts

Thoughts and reflections on various social and environmental issues, as well as naturalist observations from the great outdoors.

been there…done that…or have I?


I sometimes get tired of walking in the same places over and over again. The main reason for this is I see the same things and nothing new or exciting happens usually. This is the case for the ravine area on my college’s campus.

Since I started college, I have gone on walks through the ravine dozens of times. This ravine is not as elegant as it sounds. It is gnarled, filled with invasive species, and the creek is silty and muddy. One day, in the midst of all my school work, I decided to go for a walk. Since I did not have much time to get out to a state park, I reluctantly decided on the ravine…again. So I strapped on my snowshoes and tromped out into the overgrown brush.
Within 5 minutes of being in the ravine, I saw a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) glide over the frozen creek bed. I smiled as I heard dozens of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus ) fluttering in apparent response to the sudden movement of the large woodpecker.

As I continued walking, I was suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. A large, clumsy bird made a thunderous swoop as it lifted off the ground in front of me, causing me to let out a rather high-pitched scream. It was a ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus)! I was surprised at how close it was to campus.

These events reminded me that no place is ever stagnant or boring. If you go there often enough, you are bound to run into something new. Don’t stop being aware of your surroundings. It’s a sad trap to fall into to lose appreciation for a place.


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One response to “been there…done that…or have I?

  1. Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Even with its invasives, the ravine at Northland is a special place for many students. Thanks for posting this.

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