Monday, April 10, 2017

4.10.17  Birds Enrichment Class - Wixon Innovation Middle School
South Dennis, MA

Yahoo!  It actually feels like Spring has finally sprung!  I keep hearing from folks that they're seeing Ospreys, and I'm seeing them everywhere I turn... hooray for the warmer season!  I decided to hike the trails behind the school to discover if there was a loop of sorts to bring the bird nerds to, so they could fit a nice woodsy walk into their Monday afternoon. Fortunately there is a perfect loop for the time we have, which is less than an hour, but I knew it meant we'd have to keep moving.  

They seemed excited that we were returning to the trails that I had just shown them last week!  There's something about a trail through the woods that has always drawn me in and I've written about that before.  I'm always interested in where it leads, what will I see and hear on the way, how will the habitat smell & what critters might I be lucky enough to encounter.  Woods are so perfect for exploring and the bird nerds had to agree.  I pointed out different trees & pine cones along the way.  Even though we didn't SEE a Pine Warbler, we sure heard him in the tree tops!  My first Pine Warbler of 2017 was just Saturday.

Happy to have sunshine in our favor, as we continued on our path, we eventually could see a pond in the distance through the trees.  "What does water mean...?" I asked.  "What are the four things that every living thing needs to survive?".  "How COOL is it that we get to see a pond on our walk today?!" 

Soon after spotting the water in the distance and discussing its importance, we heard an American Crow, and then a Northern Cardinal... there seemed to be a healthy habitat in and around that pond, which I believe to be Grassy Pond of Dennis.  We couldn't hike to the actual edge of the pond through the woods... there wasn't enough time (there never seems to be!) and our class size permits a lot of travel.  I need to make sure we're safely all together when we venture outside, on adventure after adventure.  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Herring Gull 
Pine Warbler
White-breasted Nuthatch
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Cardinal
American Crow
Blue Jay
Northern Flicker
American Robin
Turkey Vulture
Tree split in two.  How?  Why?
The woods are full of questions.

Can you spot the White-breasted Nuthatch hanging upside down?
This nuthatch is providing an excellent lesson on silhouettes for bird ID

Walking the trails behind the school

We didn't have a lot of time and we had to keep MOVING!

If you look in the distance in the middle of the top of the photo...
you can see Grassy Pond.

Young Bird Nerds

Comparing White Pine (on the left) & Pitch Pine (on the right)

Pine cone comparison
One students who is VERY enthusiastic about birds (she has her own as pets!)
brought in a beautiful book about raptors
As we were crossing the field, the bird nerds
spotted a HUGE Turkey Vulture soaring over the trees

Guess who found the photos of a Turkey Vulture in her book! : )
Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!

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