We’ve actually had WATER in Indian Creek lately! A very pleasant change. Naturalist Jennifer Rupp has a bird’s-eye view from her office window and shares her observations with us….
I’m very lucky to have a most amazing view from my desk. I can see a bit of grassy area before the steep bank of Indian Creek, the creek itself, and a strip of woodland on the other side. From this vantage point during my first year of employment, I have been fortunate to see some pretty amazing things including kingfishers, bald eagles, deer, woodchucks, cats carrying their prey up the path, all sorts of small birds, people, and dogs. One day, I even heard a tree fall in the woods across the creek, following the natural cycle of life. (It reassured me that trees DO make sounds when falling in the forest, even if no one is in the forest…) I’m most excited about the beaver and otter I spotted swimming up and down the creek just last week! Most of the time the view from my window is so peaceful, full of the daily carrying-on of the animal world.
Earlier last week when I arrived early in the morning at the nature center, I was shocked! Peaceful little Indian Creek was out of its banks and flowing all over the place! I wasn’t here during the epic flood. I’ve seen Indian Creek full and muddy, but this was my very first visit from the creek! From my window, I could see that the water had come up so far as to fill in the lower trail on the bank. Amazing! Over the next couple days, the surface of the water froze. When the wind blew the ice cracked and crashed. Occasionally it sounded like all the ice would break apart and float away at the same time! But it didn’t.
Due to flooding up the Cedar River, floodgates were opened, and that has a tendency to back up little tributaries like Indian Creek. It was strange watching chunks of ice floating the wrong way past my window. Eventually, I got to see just how the creek floods, and watch it firsthand! First, the water rises, and starts slipping over the top of the bank. There must be a lower spot up stream, because before the water fully poured over the bank there was water running down the lower path in a second, parallel stream. Over time all the water combined, consuming the lower shelf of the floodplain.That’s exactly what floodplains are for–holding extra water.
I’m very lucky to have this dynamic, incredible view. Seeing nature in action firsthand, whether it’s animals, plants or forces, is so exciting!