Directions: From the junction of I-465 and I-69 in Indianapolis, drive north on I-69 to the 2nd Anderson exit. Veer right onto Exit # 26 / S.R. 9 / S.R. 109 S. Turn right (south) on S.R. 109 South. Turn left (east) on S.R. 36. Drive east on S.R. 36 for 12.1 miles and turn right (south) , into the small gravel parking lot with a large brown D.N.R. information sign. This small gravel parking lot is exactly 6/10 of a mile east of C.R. 200 W. and Robert's Construction. Park here and walk south along the dike. This is the new wetland area of Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area. To reach the original pond, continue east on S.R. 36 for 2/10 of a mile and turn right (south) on C.R. 125 W. Drive 1/10 of a mile and turn right into the large gravel parking lot. The boat launch for Province Pond is here.
Intro: Province Pond started out as a small muddy pond on the west side of C.R. 125, off S.R. 36 in Henry County. It lies between the two cities of Sulpher Springs (to it's west), and Mount Summit (to it's east). It initially was an excellent site for shorebird migration. The muddy shoreline was a magnet for shorebirds, especially when water levels were low. El-nina changed all that. The pond completely dried up that summer and I was shocked at how shallow the pond was (3 to 4 feet deep). The dry lake bed grew up in weeds. The next summer, Province Pond resembled a dense marsh with cattails and other wetland plants, replacing the muddy shoreline which existed in previous years. While shorebirds may still find small sections of real estate on this pond to call their own, this habitat is now more suitable for wetland species, such as the Least Bittern. The Least Bittern nests here every year. It can usually be found in the northeast section of the pond in spring. In the late 1990's, the Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area was expanded. A dike was built west of the original pond and the area was flooded. The new wetland area is an extension of the original Province Pond, and borders it to the west. This new wetland area can be accessed by boat from the launch off C.R. 125 (from the original Province Pond). The new wetland area consists of dead and live trees, shrubs and other wetland vegetation. The original Province Pond can be birded from the boat launch on C.R. 125 and the trail which encircles the pond itself. The new wetland area can be birded from the dike, which can be accessed from a small gravel parking lot off S.R. 36 (2/10 of a mile west of C.R. 125). Total acreage is 210.
Photo # 3: A view of C.R. 125, looking south from S.R. 36. On the right (west) side of the road is the Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area. On the left (east) side of the road is Charlie's Marsh Wetland Restoration Site.
Photo # 4: Dense shrubs and aquatic vegetation exist in the northeast corner of Province Pond. The Least Bittern can be found here during the nesting season.
Photo # 5: A Common Moorhen nested one year near this boat launch. A trail to the left (south) of this boat launch will lead you around the south end of the pond. Dense brush and small trees exist along this trail. Warblers and other passerines can usually be found along this trail during spring and fall migration. The vegetation around this boat launch will be much more dense than this early spring photo.
Photo: # 7: From the small gravel parking lot off S.R. 36, one can walk roughly 1/2 to 3/4 mile south along this dike. At the beginning of the dike, a mini-marsh exist on both sides of the dike which stay wet year round. As you walk further south, you will notice a series of mini-wetlands in the grassland area on the west side of the dike. Most of these shallow wetlands are in close proximity to the dike. You will find 8 of these mini-wetland areas as you walk south along the dike.
Photo # 9: Looking north, you can see how the mini-wetlands hug the west side of the dike.
Photo # 10: Consisting of mud but mostly rocks, I have found Wilson's Snipe, Solitary, Spotted and Least Sandpiper here.
Photo # 11: During migration, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark can usually be found along this road.
Photo # 12 thru 15: Good numbers of ducks will accumulate here during waterfowl migration. Hunting is allowed here in the fall. If hunters are present, it is best to move on to Summit Lake. If you don't see any hunters here, bird with caution and be sure to wear orange.
Photo # 17: This grassland area on the west side of the dike has the best potential for rarities. It contains 8 mini-wetlands, which tend to hug the west side of the dike. Many of them stay wet into early summer. A few of them stay wet year round. If spring precipitation is normal, almost all of this grassland area will be moist. 40 % will have 1/2 to 1 inch of water. Put your hip boots on and wade through this wet grassland area. I have flushed the following birds by walking through this area in early spring: Virginia Rail, large numbers of Wilson's Snipe, Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Mallard, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Willet, American Bittern and Sora. Your wish list for this wetland area would include: Leconte's Sparrow, Yellow Rail, Black Rail, King Rail and many more. Dickcissels have nested in this grassland area in recent years.
Photo # 24: The south end of the new wetlands area of Province Pond is where most birds seek refuge from the boats and canoes. Unfortunately, Province Pond receives heavy fishing and recreational activity during the summer months. This doesn't seem to discourage the nesting marsh species. The Least Bittern, Common Moorhen and 2 to 3 pairs of Green Herons seem to nest here with success. Ducks and shorebirds will use these islands to rest and feed during migration.
Directions: The directions for Charlie's Marsh are the same as for Province Pond. In fact, the only thing separating Charlie's Marsh from Province Pond is C.R. 125. Charlie's Marsh is on the left (east) side of C.R. 125, and Province Pond is on the right (west) side of C.R. 125. From the intersection of S.R. 109 and S.R. 36, drive 12.2 miles east on S.R. 36. Turn right (south) on C.R. 125. Drive south 2/10 of a mile and turn right (west) into the gravel parking lot of the Province Pond boat launch. Simply walk east across C.R. 125 from the Province Pond parking lot and you are at the Charlie's Marsh Wetland Restoration Site.
Intro: Charlie's Marsh consists of 2 wetland areas, a grasssland area and a small woodlot. The first wetland is on the east side of C.R. 125 and north of the D.N.R. access road. The much larger and deeper marsh is on the east side of the property. The larger marsh is concealed by vegetation during late spring and summer. One would need hip boots or chest waders to penetrate and bird this marsh. The small woodlot can harbor migrating warblers and other passerines during migration. Check the grassland areas for migrating sparrows. Search the wetland areas for rails, Bitterns, Herons and shorebirds. Legend has it that a Yellow-headed Blackbird was found here during one spring migration.
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.