May 12, 2011
We have had MANY visitors to the Refuge lately - for both birding and environmental education - and they all got to take advantage of learning through birding. We had a great group of high schoolers visit yesterday to learn about Refuge management, wetland ecology and avaian adaptations...and they got to go out on the Refuge to look and learn about our feathered-friends. We had great views of a female Peregrine Falcon eating her prey (possibly an ibis or pheasant) and the first sightings of the spring of Bullock's orioles - bright and orange!
Later in the afternoon, we had much younger visitors - a den of Wolf scouts - join us also to learn about birds. We chatted about field marks and how to focus binoculars, and then trekked outside on our Wetland Walk and spotted almost 15 species...from Yellow-headed blackbirds to Sandhill cranes, but most exciting, was a quick sighting of a Virginia rail being chased off by an American coot. The rail species are very secretive and are often only heard and rarely seen...so both myself and the boys got a rare treat to see this rusty lil rail hop up out of the reeds for a quick glimpse.
And finally - just the cacophonous calls of birds singing and chatting at this time of year is hard to ignore. Marsh wrens chattering and blackbirds sqwonking...Canada geese honking and warblers warbling...terns ska-reeing and rails-chu-chucking...it is quite a spring symphony!