By Sue Dingwell
Huntley Meadows morphed into a learning lab for the spring class of this term’s aspiring Master Naturalists. The beautiful wetland was brimming with life as the class traversed its woods and boardwalk, stalking insects, birds and herps. Lessons were learned, pictures were taken, and, more importantly, new horizons were revealed through the guidance of an outstanding lineup of dedicated instructors.
The class divided up into two groups for the ornithology trek. The generous folks who came out to help with bird-spotting and ID included Phil George, Nick Nichols, Ginny McNair, Jim Hurley, Laura Plaze, and Rebecca Ayers. They shared not only their knowledge and skill, but also their binoculars and spotting scopes.
A nice list of birds was created, and everyone had several chances to get really up-close looks at a variety of them. Thanks, and hats off to all of you enablers! There were no “beginners” left by the end of the morning!
Cliff Fairweather, our entomologist, briefed the class on good collecting techniques, and gave tips on how to look for insects. Everyone gained new appreciation for the incredible range of adaptations
Cliff demonstrated proper log rolling technique for us, as he checked for the denizens of the undersides.
Alonso Abugattas was tireless and clever in detecting the presence of herps. Several varieties of snakes, turtles, skinks, lizards, frogs, and toads were found. Many, unable to escape Alonso’s quick arm, provided proximity for close scrutinizing. One very lucky find was a spotted turtle, now uncommon in our area.
It was a beautiful day!
Photos by Sue Dingwell.