White Pelican & Great Egret Spotted at Wolf Lake

by Carolyn A. Marsh

       Rick Catania took the beautiful photograph of an American White Pelican with a Great Egret on October 11, 2018 seen here at Forsythe Park/Wolf Lake.  Another pelican joined it, but I saw only one on October 25.

     There was a lot of drama at Forsythe Park in October. Many people observed two Great Blue Herons tangled in fish line around their body and a foot. The line was attached to a bobber or a silver lead weight. The debilitated herons were able to fly, but stood frequently on the bank of the Wolf Lake channel and bike trail close to anglers who gave them fish to eat.

      Concerned residents asked a police officer for help and he called the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. However, the DNR responded they did not have the time or staff for animal rescues.

      An attempt was made by John Madeka and me to net one of the herons to cut the fish line. The Great Blue Heron is four feet tall with a wingspan of six feet and challenging to capture without injuring it.  John prepared a large wide net to temporarily hold the bird. He baited the heron with fish near the net. The heron flew in several times, but landed on the opposite side from where the net could be dropped on it. The rescue was abandoned.
     The Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary, a 600-meter wooded strip of Lakefront fill, lies within a kilometer of the Illinois line on Lake Michigan. A virtual oasis of vegetation within a vast urban sprawl, this site, once well-known simply as “The Migrant Trap,” is flanked to the west by the Commonwealth Edison power plant and to the east by Hammond Marina.
     True to its name, the Bird Sanctuary produces great concentrations of migrant passerines in Spring and Fall as they search for cover en route across northwest Indiana. The city of Hammond has acknowledged the importance of the Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary to avian migration through the Calumet Region and has set aside much of the land as a permanent migratory bird sanctuary.
     Nearby is Wolf Lake Nature Preserve in Hammond, Indiana and Forsythe Park – 119th Street and Calumet Avenue in Whiting, Indiana. Dawn to dusk daily settled on Wolf Lake, this park boasts an ice skating rink and cross-country skiing opportunities, parking areas, picnic areas, walking Trails and much more. 219.659.7678 or 853-6378. Close by is also Gibson Woods, Hammond Indiana, another nature sanctuary.

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