Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February Meeting and walks

Everyone had a good time at the February meeting watching the short film on Mollusks. We have all walked the beach picking up seashells but most of us never understood the life-cycle of the living shells. Now we know that gastropods are the snail-like shells while bi-valves are the two half shells such as clams, scallops and cockles. We learned how they filter the water looking for food and most fascinating of all, how they move. Most members took home a collection of shells that I gathered in Florida earlier this year. People were happy to get them and I was thrilled to share them. Stephanie Smith just told me that she used the shells as a teaching tool for an entire week. That by itself made it worth the effort of hauling them home.

Jeff White, Ava Harvey, Elyce O'Malley, Stephanie Chapman and I attended the Wednesday "walk". It really was a drive and stop since the weather was so cold. We followed Jeff on his normal Eagle watching route. We saw numerous nests, some with mothers sitting on eggs. We also had some pretty good looks at immature eagles. Next to one of the nests was a Great Blue Heron Rookery. That is a collection of a large number of Great Blue Heron nests. There were probably 40 or 50 nests. Ava and Jeff had to leave us but the rest of us were still in "eagle hunt" mode. We visited the Jill Road nest and saw an adult sitting in a tree near the nest. After seeing that nest we reverted to our second passion, eating. The three of us went to the new little restaurant in Woodstown called Sweet Tomatoes. The food was great. My guess is that after lunch we all went home to take a nap. It was a wonderful day.

Saturday only Carolyn Howell and I went on the "walk". We followed some of the route that Jeff showed us and saw a number of nests with moms sitting on eggs. We ran into Jeff and Cathy at Mannington Meadows and they told us they had seen five immature eagles on the ice near the bridge on 540. We headed up there and found six sitting on the ice around the remains of a Snow Goose. Carolyn asked me if I was sure they were eagles just as a mature Bald Eagle flew in and sat next to them. No question now, they were all eagles. Carolyn shared that her favorite bird is the Great Blue Heron. Boy, did I have a surprise in store for her! Much to my surprise we found the rookery thanks to the earlier encounter with Jeff and Cathy White. They gave us the name of the roads so we found it with ease. We watched four or five herons building their nests. It was a thrill for both of us. I also had a great look at a pair of Red-tailed Hawks sitting wing to wing. Spring is in the air! While our trip was shorter than the Wednesday walk we were both pleased with the day. Now if I can just get Jeff to mark a map with where he took us, I might be able to find all of the spots again. Marilyn