Summer Solstice has passed. Summer has "officially" begun. All of my nesting birds as of this week have fledged their young. The Eastern bluebirds safely raised their young. My tree swallows (all three families) fledged a week or two ago. Yesterday the Carolina wrens fledged and the house wrens are gone.
I am enjoying the cool weather. I am not a creature who is most comfortable in hot and humid weather conditions. I thrive in low humidity and temps below 75 degrees. As I stood at the door noticing the absence of adult birds diligently delivering food to noisy begging nestlings, I heard the soft warbling song of a male bluebird. Sitting on top of the nest box in the front yard was a colorful male. They are ready to attempt brood number two. Later I checked the box and discovered the beginnings of a nest. I still have company.
Today was the final day of Junior Naturalist Camp. I had a fun and rewarding three days with 14 kids ages 9-12 (and the other two staff members). We learned to identify several of the most common Indiana frogs & toads by their calls as well as their life history. Exploration of the creek brought study of macro-invertebrates. Nocturnal bird-life included learning about three of our most common owls, Eastern screech owls, great-horned owls and barred owls, their adaptations, and how to identify them by their calls. We also dissected owl pellets to discuss anatomy and the prey of owls. On our last day we discussed what to look for when tracking mammals, followed by making flash cards with track replicas and stamp pads then creating actual plaster casts. Our days also included environmental education games, sit spot time, saunters, and journaling. The young people enjoyed their time. Hopefully seeds were planted which will continue to be nurtured to flourish into adults who care about nature and our environment.
It is growing dark and the indigo buntings are singing . . .