You’ll recall that one of the things I was looking excited about at Duke Farms was their nature programs. Last night Paul and I took Clark to a naturalist led evening walk. The walk began at 7:30 and we had a group of 19 of us.
Our walk led us past meadow and wetlands and we were actually never out of sight of the Farm Barn, but were out for almost two hours. It was very hot and muggy and felt so summery. The Farm Barn and meadow looked beautiful in the hot setting sun.
We were keeping our eyes peeled and our ears open for birdcalls and insect sounds.
We saw an American Kestrel, a Great Blue Heron, and a wolf spider with a million baby spiders on her back. Somewhat disappointingly (and surprisingly) we didn’t see any bats. We stopped a few times and were completely silent for 3 minutes (hooray for Clark for being a total trooper about being silent and walking around late at night and generally being the best behaved kid there) and then the guide played a screech owl call. We were hoping it would get another nearby owl to reply but it never did.
Then the big event-the moonrise! The full moon was gorgeous-rising a brilliant orange. I can’t really figure out the best setting to take nighttime photos on, but I did get some nice pictures. I was using my brand new (thank you Paul!) zoom lens, too.
We didn’t carry flashlights, but walked only by the light of the moon and it was really very beautiful. At the end of the walk we released a polyphemous moth, which the guide had shown us at the start of the evening. It so happened that a moth program had been going on with a big white screen set up outside and a light in front of it. Our moth was attracted to the light and flew right to it, giving us all a good view of him.
We may not have seen quite as much wildlife as we’d hoped to, but it was still a really nice evening and the guide was super nice and knowledgeable. Later, when Paul and I were going to bed at close to midnight you won’t believe–we heard a screech owl call! Several times outside our window. So how about that?