It’s time for a midsummer update on explorations this month that will leave you wet, wild, well-fed, and star-eyed, plus two questions that have been around the wing of the winged creatures.
Is it more buggy around a bog?
As I reported last week, many mosquitoes have hatched recently due to heavy rains in late June. A county official said wetlands can be strong breeding grounds. True.
After:Drought, then sudden rains could mean ‘prolific’ mosquito season
But local naturalists and scientists are also quick to point out that wetlands with a good balance of native fauna also favor predators that feed on mosquitoes and their larvae, such as frogs, fish, dragonflies, bald people. -mice and birds. There are many different species of mosquitoes, all different in when and where they hatch, how they behave, and how likely they are to carry viruses.
Yet when I asked local experts about the net effect at a place like Lydick Bog Nature Reserve in South Bend, the answer is as wonderfully complex as the habitat itself. Basically, you will still need to protect yourself, especially right next to a wet area. When you venture further out of a wetland, you may escape the wetland effect, but you will also enter other habitats, such as woods, which can also breed mosquitoes, especially where they have. shallow puddles.
If you live near water, where dragonflies hatch, you can attract this skeeter-eating bug with wildflowers like swamp milkweed, joe-pye grass, and black-eyed Susan. The Camping Indiana Facebook group recently talked about skeeter control ideas. My favorite: Use rubber bands to hang a boxed fan on your outdoor awning, directing a nice wind down. Wind is a good deterrent, such as avoiding dusk and dawn and wearing long sleeves.
Can we replace bird feeders?
I often see this question on the nature and birds Facebook pages in Indiana. The quick answer is no. More and more dead and sick songbirds are being reported across Indiana, possibly because more people are aware, Indiana state ornithologist Allisyn Gillet told Ira Flatow of National Public Radio last week on its “Science Friday” show. Several states are affected – well, national attention.
But Gillet said scientists are still working through the methodical but critical process to find out what causes disease in several species of songbirds, as well as the red-headed woodpecker. The sick birds have so far tested negative for avian influenza, West Nile virus, bacterial pathogens salmonella and chlamydia, Newcastle disease virus and certain other types of viruses and parasites.
Meanwhile, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is asking that we remove bird feeders and baths to, in effect, socially repel birds and prevent them from contracting a virus from a common point of contact. . Scientists assure us that in this green season, birds have plenty of natural food sources. See status updates at on.IN.gov/songbirddeaths.
Crazy to soft
• Sea mud race: Receive a “Free Mud Facial,” as US Marine 1st Sgt. Sam Alameda calls it out, with marine-style vocal encouragement as you run the annual 5K known as the Marine Mud Run this Saturday at the athletic fields at Marian High School in Mishawaka. Individuals, teams of four and families can register until Saturday morning. Everyone runs the same course, a loop full of muddy obstacles that includes options for the younger runners. They arrived at the age of 4, says founder / race director Alameda. At least 120 people had pre-registered as of Monday, as the list continued to grow in this benefit for the Toys for Tots program, which gives Christmas gifts to needy children. The cost is $ 45 to $ 60. Registrations will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Saturday, a safety conference at 8:30 a.m. and races from approximately 9 a.m. to noon. For more details and to register in advance, visit marinemud.us. Or call 574-252-9322 with any questions.
• Timber on wheels: Families can tour a 40-foot touring trailer with exhibits, games, and instruction on Indiana’s forests and trees from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Woodlawn Nature Center, 604 Woodlawn Ave., Elkhart. It is an immersive experience, intended to fill the senses. Aimed at students in grades four to six, it also contains details for high school students on forest careers and tips for landowners. An on-site forester will answer questions and offer lessons. The program is sponsored by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Purdue University, and the state’s lumber industry.
• Star gazing: Dr. TK Lawless County Park, 15122 Monkey Run St., Vandalia, is open for guided stargazing every Friday and Saturday in July until 2 a.m., weather permitting, to mark the month of Michigan Dark Sky Awareness. The state legislature passed a resolution this summer declaring the month as such. It pursues Lawless’s recognition as one of two parks in Michigan certified as having good stargazing due to their light pollution controls.
• Urban adventure games: This race returns on July 31 from Howard Park in South Bend as teams of two cyclists to chase checkpoints and complete sporting, cultural or wacky tasks. Organizers had tried smarter stunts in 2019, but this year, coming back from last year’s pandemic cancellation, it will be classic madness, race director Emily Sims said. Out of more than 30 checkpoints, some are annual favorites, like the East Race Waterway. More than 300 runners registered on Monday. The post-race party will include free snacks, beer and food trucks. The registration cost is $ 160, $ 180 or $ 200 per team, depending on the intensity of your division. Sign up and learn more at UrbanAdventureGames.com.
• LaPorte Lake Festival: Take part in a sunset paddleboarding, 5K run and sand volleyball tournament in the grand LaPorte Lakefest as the town kicks off with concerts, fireworks and activities from July 30 through the month of July. ‘August. 1. These are part of the events for which you must register, either via the Facebook page of the event (linked here online) or soon, we promise, on the event website (laportelakefest.com ). The race will take place at 8 a.m. CDT, the free paddle on Stone Lake at 6 p.m. CDT and a Venetian boat parade on Pine Lake at 7 p.m. CDT, all on July 31. Spectators can watch the AquaX jet ski races from Stone Lake Beach from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT on July 31 and August 1.
• Amishland & Lakes ride: This decades-old bike ride returns from July 31 to August 31. 1 with this Saturday’s tour crossing Amish country around Shipshewana (route options ranging from 22-100 miles) and with Sunday’s tour (options 23-50 miles) venturing around the lakes of Michigan. The Amish are known to sell freshly baked goodies along the Saturday Road, though there are also rest areas with fruit and snacks. The cost is $ 45 per person, $ 85 per family, but increases by $ 10 on Mondays. Based at Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Indiana, there are camping options at the nearby fairgrounds. The Michiana Bicycle Association is organizing this ride. Find the details and register at amishlandlakes.com.
• Inclusive sensory zoo: South Bend Potawatomi Zoo has tools to help visitors with sensory processing disorders. This, along with staff training, has enabled the zoo to be Sensory Inclusive certified by the nonprofit KultureCity, which promotes acceptance and inclusion of people with unique abilities. Visitors with sensory needs can download the free KultureCity app to see what sensory features they can access at the zoo, as well as advice on which parts of the zoo are noisy, designated quiet areas, who to ask for help and where to find food and toilets. Visitors who are overwhelmed by the surroundings can borrow a sensory bag from the attractions counter that includes VIP badges, fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, and other resources.
Follow Outdoor Adventures columnist Joseph Dits on Facebook at SBTOutdoorAdventures. Contact him at 574-235-6158 or [email protected]