We met a lovely group of 15 adults and Arabella Schilk (who is well trained as a hiker and good as gold!!) and had a very good time. Several people were good birders and spotted a lot of feathered friends. Avocets, Stilts, Ruddy Duck with gorgeous blue bill, Mallard ducklings, Egyptian geese in Pond E, Ibis flying, Song Sparrow, lots of Canada Geese, our Osprey, Yellow Breasted Chat, Yellowthroat (heard but not seen-they are sneaky), Spotted Towhee (in a tree!), Red Wing Blackbird, Long tailed Grackle, Grebes of all sorts, Lizard doing push-ups, Monarchs actually in the butterfly garden, and several Allen's Hummingbirds. The BIG thrill was that the nest-box ladies were out and around and we cornered them into talking to our group. They not only talked but let us watch them check a box, hold the adult swallow, show the feathers in the nest, and tell us, (which none of us knew) that during the incubation period they lose feathers on the front of the breast in order to maximize the heat reaching the eggs. The visitors were ecstatic at all of this, as were we naturalists. No white pellys or cormorants on Pond 1, which surprised us - just lots of Canada Geese.
The entire group stayed with us the whole two hours and left smiling and promising to come back next month. Leaders were Jean, David, Margaret, Mike, and Rich. As you know, David is "retiring" as an official naturalist, but he promises to come often and walk as far as he is comfortable doing. We are retaining him as a full fledged (no pun intended) unofficial naturalist, as his contributions are always valuable and we don't want to lose him altogether.