Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Follow Your Streams

Whenever I come across an unfamiliar stream I'm curious about where it might lead to. It's the little overlooked or unnamed tributaries that interest me most. As a teenager, I enjoyed hiking in the local woods and following streams that led me to remnants of old buildings, surprise encounters with wildlife, mysterious rock caves and various other surprises. Some of the places I found became secret locations where I would hang out with friends, turn over rocks looking for salamanders, or just a place to go for some peace and quiet. It was always an adventure because I didn't have any maps or the Internet to rely on.
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I followed a couple of small streams the other day for old time's sake. The first one I investigated didn't have moving water. I've passed by this stagnant little excuse of a brook on many occasions but never bothered checking it out. It led me through a marshy area where the calls of nuthatches, chickadees and titmice seemed to welcome me.
The brook quickly dissipated into nothing so I started following a deer trail which brought me out to a small patch of land.
It was only about an acre of land that abutted a farm field. I was impressed with the amount of bird life in this little area. I counted 6 Northern Flickers that launched out of the bushes like rockets when I approached them. There was a Ruby-crowned kinglet and a Hermit Thrush tucked away in some thickets. Where was that Ruby-crowned Kinglet in January?
There was plenty of American Robins too. When people find out that I'm interested in watching birds they often ask me if robins are around in the winter which is funny because I see so many of them this time of the year. I guess that people notice them more in the spring when they are plucking earthworms from their lawns.
I tried to followed another streams off of route 66 where I came across the remnants of this old foundation.
A lot of the smaller tributaries were frozen over. I enjoy seeing the water move beneath the ice.
It was a quiet day as far as birds go but I did have a friendly visit with a Song Sparrow. He told me that the secret to finding more bird in the woods is to come back in the spring. Until then I'll keep following my streams.
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Have you ever followed a stream? Where did it lead you?

14 comments:

Avimor Birder said...

I love that idea for adventure. With all the streams and draws and springs in the Boise foothills and a history of hundreds of all long gone homesteads each stream could be a treasure of wildlife and history. I'm gonna take you up on this challenge.

Lana Gramlich said...

I followed a stream once to this gynormous maple tree that'd fallen. Nearby was another one that'd been struck by lightning &, although virtually completely hollowed out at the base from the blast, it still towered, alive, at least 50' from the forest floor. Both of them became 2 of my favorite trees. I used to camp out in that area, listening to the birds & writing poetry. That was in Canada, of course. I haven't been there in a while.
I don't stray too much from any paths down here, mainly because doing so could be dangerous (particularly with my insect allergies. I almost walked face first through a golden orb weaver's web. Fortunately my husband was there to grab my arm!)

dguzman said...

I love to walk along streams, especially when I can walk across. There's just nothing more soothing than the sounds of flowing water, singing birds, and lulling breezes.

Larry said...

Avimor-It sounds like an interesting area.I'll look forward to reading about it.

Lana-Great story! That's exactly the sort of adventures that come to mind when I think about the streams I've followed in past years.

dguzman-So true-thes sound of flowing water is very relaxing.

mon@rch said...

streams are very fun!!

John said...

Larry, This is a great story. Makes me think about all my adventures both along streams and in life. Streams have been a passion for me for a very long time. It doesn't get any better then following a stream and turning a corner to find a clear pool of water beneath a small water fall. Just thinking about a warm summer day sitting on a rock along the edge of that bubbling brook charges my soul. A much needed charge I must say at this time of year. It certainly makes me look forward to things to come.

Larry said...

John-There does feel to be a connection between streams and life. Water flows through the woods like blood flows through the body.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
We saw a couple of robins up in Duluth last weekend. I knew some of them stuck around in southern Minnesota for the winter, but I was really surprised to see robins so far north. It's sure nice to hear their little chirps in the middle of winter.

matthew houskeeper said...

Years ago, I followed a stream that brought me to a spring. It was the first time I had ever seen one up close.

Kathiesbirds said...

Larry, Like you, I grew up in the woods of New England and wandered the deer trails and followed the creeks. Here in AZ I mostly have to follow dry washes but I just posted about one of our few perenial streams here in AZ where I went hiking with Dawn from Dawn's Bloggy Blog! How interesting that we should both have the same topic for our posts! BTW, we also found a ruby-crowned kinglet and robins on our hike!

JRandSue said...

Fab shot,lovely Song Sparrow.
John.

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-Interesting-I'll look forward to reading that post.

Ruthiej-Good old robins.They are a familiar friend.

Christine said...

When I was a kid I used to like to hang out at a creek behind my school in Worcester, Mass. I had good times wandering those woods.

Kathy said...

This is a great post. I love following streams, too. Here in Colorado, where the hillsides can be dry and somewhat barren, the streams have the most life.