• 50°

High Bridge Plans Insect/Owl Prowl

Come to High Bridge Trail State Park for a special nighttime insect identification and owl prowl event on July 19. Special guest interpreter, Carley York, from Twin Lakes State Park, will lead the walk to High Bridge to hear the Barred Owls that occupy the river bottom and share facts about owls…like did you know a baby owl is called an owlet or that owls congregate in groups known as parliaments?

High Bridge Trail State Park's Chief Ranger, Craig Guthrie, will also share some knowledge on insects. We will attract and attempt to identify local forest insects of the night along the trail toward High Bridge. Portable ultra-violet and florescent light stations will be placed along the Trail to lure the bugs.

Participants are asked to arrive at the River Road access parking lot by 8:30 p.m. and be prepared to stay out after dark. Bring a flashlight and drinking water. For directions or further information call the Park office at 434-315-0457.

High Bridge Trail State Park previously hosted an evening walk on May 12 to the bridge in an attempt to spot or at least listen to the Barred Owls that occupy the river bottom below. Approximately 25 people gathered at the River Road access parking lot for the evening fun led by guest interpreter Carley York, of Twin Lakes State Park. After a brief discussion on owls and their special traits and habitats by Carley, the group set off down the trail at dusk. The weather was perfect with some cloudiness making good contrast for owl watching.

Once on the bridge, we quietly advanced to the first overlook where Carley used an electronic amplifier with the recorded sound of an Eastern Screech Owl to lure a response. We weren't there three minutes when a hootenanny broke out! It sounded like the trees were full of excited monkeys as the owls all responded to the strange sound as if inquiring “who are you?!”

When the excitement abated, a glimpse over the railing revealed the sight of quickly flying light colored streaks moving from tree to tree. A little while later the same audible outburst occurred again on the other side of the bridge as they all erupted into another frenzy of that “WHO COOKS, WHO COOKS FOR YOU?” call that is so distinctive among Barred Owls.

The group was on the bridge for a total of 30-40 minutes before returning to the parking lot for closing comments and reminders to be safe on the return trip home. It was an enjoyable evening of exercise and learning about a wonder of nature.