This is a belated posting (my fault but for good reason — I was off in Panama exploring the wild in winter there!). Jim McWalters did a great writeup from the Discovering the Wild in Winter Walk on February 4th so we wanted to share that with you here:
The overcast skies and seasonable February weather didn’t stop the dozen or so hikers from a exploring the wilds of winter at the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship (BRCES) on Saturday, February 4th.
Phil Daley offered up his usual charm and quick wit while educating everyone on nature’s wonders that often go un-noticed by the casual observer. Whether it was the Chickadee’s that played in the surrounding woods, the skunk cabbage in the swampy areas, the lone Juniper tree, or the majestic white oak along the path, there was lots to see and discuss.
The youngest hiker in the group, Allie, was quick to find new and interesting things along the way including the poisonous “Devil’s Tomato” (Horsenettle). We all got a kick out of the several Mantis nests we saw, including the European Mantis which looked very much like a toasted marshmallow!
In addition to the Chickadee, we saw: Red Belly Woodpecker, Titmouse, Pileated Woodpeckers, Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Northern Flicker, Ravens, and a Downy Woodpecker.
While we didn’t see any wild animals, there was plenty of tell tail signs of deer, rabbit, and raccoon etched in the muddy path.
With spring just around the corner, the entire group was looking forward to our next outing and the beautiful surprises that nature has to offer at the Blue Ridge Center.