Friday, November 11, 2011

Evening adventures

Tonight we went for a hike with 13 young nature adventurers for our Friday Nature Night, which we are hosting once/month for children in 1st - 6th grades. We set out for Norm's Island under a close-to-full moon, in search of owls, bats, beavers, and other nocturnal creatures. Looking behind me, I saw flashlights twinkling like stars, or possibly fireflies, as the children bounced along the trail.

We had just made two brand new bat houses, and were on our way to look at a few older versions. As we crossed Wendell's Bridge to the Island, everyone spoke in hushed tones, in hopes of seeing or hearing wildlife. At the first bat house we approached, even I was surprised to find it occupied. Not by a bat, but by a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). This industrious woodpecker had taken up residence for the night in order to stay warm. It was easily identified by its long, pointed tail feathers, and stripes under its tail. It didn't move an inch as the 13 young explorers each took a turn to peak at it.

Returning to the Audubon Center, we were grateful to have seen some other wild creatures, perhaps not bats and owls as expected, but wildlife none-the-less. Night hikes give us opportunities to explore the little-known night-time world. Even when we are indoors, snuggled under our blankets in bed, the world outside is yet alive.

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