Date: April 23, 2015
Weather: partly sunny
Temperature: start 71º
Wildlife count: Snakes
Year List: 277
Birds: Common Nighthawk
With Lynn and Barry in our FWS vehicle, we left the campground at 6:30 headed for the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Texas Chenier Refuge Complex for whom we work. Upon arrival, we began setting up. Over fourteen teachers (NWR staff and volunteers) set up stations and 200+ children from surrounding towns arrived to participate. Stations were quite diverse – snakes, insects, adaptations, making a bead snake to determine venomous or non-venomous, casting practice, and John and I led how to use binoculars. It was delightful.
There was also a large session with all of the fire equipment, much of which was set up to either float on the marsh or cut a fire break through the marsh. Kids were then allowed to climb up on the equipment for photos. Many of the children’s parents/grandparents accompanied the classes and enjoyed participation as well. One school brought just second graders and another included pre-K through 5th grade.
After lunch, we all participated in the “Bird Dance.” It was delightful to see all of the children in their brightly colored shirts, as well as staff and volunteers, all acting crazy like birds. It was great.
Finally, there was a Birds of Prey presentation including a Black Vulture, Ferruginous Hawk, Andes Condor, Harris’ Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, and an Eagle Owl. It was incredible to watch these amazing birds up close.
When the children left, we cleaned up, drove back and returned all of the supplies we had brought. The plan had been to bird in the afternoon, but we were all too tired. By the time we got back to camp, we all just crashed around the fire pit and shared our day.
Dinner was grilled steak and baked potato.