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Archive for April, 2009

Hiking Moraine Hills State Park

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird at Moraine Hills State Park, IL

The family and I spent Saturday hiking around Moraine Hills State Park, IL. This was our first visit to the park and we spent most of our time on the trails in the vicinity of Lake Defiance. It was an overcast day with light rain on and off but even so the trails had a fair share of hikers and bikers. This early in the year, the only thing green at the park is the grass.

Lake Defiance and the surrounding terrain were formed by the Wisconsin glacier which covered the area some 15,000 years ago. The park’s name, Moraine Hills, is a direct reference to the glacial process that created the terrain and lakes. About half the park’s 1700 acres is wetlands and lakes. Because of its diversity of habitats, Moraine Hills is well known for the abundance and variety of birds present. For example, the photograph of the Red-winged Blackbird used to illustrate this post.

For photographers interested in marshlands and birds, Moraine Hills State Park, located just east of McHenry IL, is an excellent destination. I don’t know why I didn’t visit before now. I do hope to have the opportunity to revisit the park in the coming month at which time I will concentrate on hiking the trails that run through the marshes. I must confess that on this trip I didn’t even take a dozen photographs. The sky was basically a flat gray and the only thing not brown was the grass. I expect that my next visit will be both greener and bluer.

The Photograph

The photograph used to illustrate this post was taken with a Nikon D50 fitted with a Nikon ED AF Nikkor 80-200mm lens. I brought the photograph into Photoshop and performed some digital manipulation on the picture leaving the blackbird untouched. I then shrunk and closely cropped the image to fit the web page.

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