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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Great Dismal Swamp 2010 Birding Festival - Better Late than Never

 Okay, so I've gone AWOL for a few weeks and gotten behind on my post again. I guess it happens to the best of us, or worse depending on how you look at it. Now back, I wanted to follow up on our trip to the Great Dismal Swamp for last months birding festival. Better late than never, right?

My daughter and I set out early that morning before the weather got to hot. Our destination was to the Washington Ditch canal were we intended to check out and hike the new boardwalk trail that just opened up to the public.

Upon entrance to the Washington Ditch we were greeted by a couple of whitetail deer browsing along the field edges. I managed to snap a photo before the last one casually disappeared in the thicket.

Deer

Here's a look at the entrance of the new boardwalk trail.

New BWTrail

This new trail winds 3/4 mile deep in and out of the forest. It goes through a variety of habitats found within the swamp. My daughter and I hiked a small portion of it.

Along the trail we saw encountered a lot of familiar native flora. Here's one of my favorites, the coral honeysuckle. It's a favorite of hummingbirds as well.

C Honeysuckle

We stopped along the trail to check out out a variety of birds and other wildlife. Morgan (below) seems to be interested in something above. I think it's wonderful that she shows an early interest in nature and the outdoors. I think it's very important to get children outside as early as possible so that they can learn to appreciate the great outdoors and all it has to offer. If I could only get her over her fear of bugs!

Morgan

After the hike we headed over to the Dismal Swamp headquarters where the main event was taken place. There they had a variety of displays and nature activities set up for kids and adults to learn and enjoy.

Like the previous years of this event, Morgan's favorite display was the snakes. Here she is getting ready to handle her favorite one - its an Corn Snake. Corn snakes are found throughout much of the southeastern and central United States. They're docile snakes that reach approximately 4 to 5 feet in length. Sometimes they are referred to as red rat snakes.

By the way, here's a cool site that list the snakes of Virginia if interested: http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/VHS/reptiles/snakes/snakes_of_virginia.htm

Morgan2

Below she is holding the corn snake by herself. Believe it or not, this is the main reason she enjoys coming to this event each year.

Morgan3

Below she is holding a smaller Mole Kingsnake.

Morgan4

After the snakes we walked over to one of the activity tents where we built a bluebird nest box. Notice how well she hammers. She looks to be taken it very seriously.

Morgan5 

Needless to say we had a great time at the fourth annual Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival. And if you live in the area, here's a link to the swamps summer calendar of events. There may be something that interest you: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/greatdismalswamp/pdf/summer10.pdf

3 comments:

Les said...

I am glad you all made it out today, and it sure is amazing that your daughter likes snakes so much. It is a good thing no one ever told her she was not supposed to like them. We use that web site at work to ID the snakes we find on the property, it is a great resource.

Alan said...

Les, we enjoyed the event yesterday. Morgan especially enjoyed the puppies & kittens. She talked about it the whole way home.

Try to stay cool in this heat!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Alan,
Thanks for your comment on my SkyWatch post. I'd love to send some of the rain your way. Last I heard, we were 6 inches above normal rainfall. My husband was saying that we have had more days of rain than without this summer. I think that's true.

I enjoyed scrolling down, looking at your posts. I had to stop and comment here. I love the photos of Morgan, especially with the snakes. She has a beautiful smile!

My son, who is now 30, has loved reptiles and amphibians since he was a boy. He had a number of snakes and such as pets over the years. He and our daughter each had their own corn snake. That sure was a pretty one Morgan was holding.