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The Young Naturalist Club Hatches

April 20, 2009

So yesterday morning a few intrepid naturalists with an eye towards the future took a step towards giving young people with an interest in nature a place to share that interest specifically with other young people and have a voice in the North Carolina nature community. We had the first field trip of the Wake County Audubon Young Naturalist’s Club.

Hmm, maybe that sounds a bit presumptuous, no? But I’m kind of excited about his initiative, not least of which because this is the sort of club I wish I could have had as a young birder. It’s a way to focus your interest and build a community with like minded peers, and that’s not too shabby, even if the inaugural field trip had more trip leaders, excited to mentor young people with an interest in nature, than there were actual young naturalists. But you have to start somewhere, right? Rome and a day and all that jazz.

So our first trip was south of Raleigh to a piece of land owned by the Triangle Land Conservancy, a nice bit of swampy bottomland where we hoped to find some interesting birds or bugs or plants and anything kind of cool.

And how was the birding? Not bad, really. We turned up lots of singing Prothonotary Warblers, along with singing Yellow-throated and Yellowthroats, Ovenbirds, Prairies and Parulas, and a pair of Rough-winged Swallows. All of the resident woodpeckers made an appearance and in the local heron rookery we found no fewer than five Anhinga, further indication of that species’ northward and inland march.

It should be noted that many of the birds were heard only, the worst part about living this far south is that by the time the spring migrants get here in any numbers, the trees are nearly to midsummer fullness making picking them out difficult. But that also means flowers are blooming, including this lovely Atamasco, or Swamp, Lily.

But you know, birding was secondary for the most part. Getting out with the kids was tops, and it looks like the good birds will come as there are some sharp eyes and ears in the bunch that was there. A good start to what one hopes will be a successful and long-lasting endeavor.

  1. noflickster permalink
    April 20, 2009 10:00 am

    Kudos on your role in reaching out to the next generation, and giving them a place focus that interest! The passion is certainly out there, though in some cases a certain amount of electronic distraction needs to be dusted off.

    Best of luck with this venture!

  2. Christopher permalink
    April 20, 2009 12:54 pm

    Good-on-ya! Big thumbs up for doing what you can to encourage and supply an outlet for young birders.

  3. Ali Iyoob permalink
    April 20, 2009 4:19 pm

    Mr. Swick,
    I wanted to thank you for taking time out of your weekend to take us birding. I had a great time and saw some amazing birds. I think the total warbler count was ten.

  4. Nate permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:19 pm

    @Mike, Christopher – Thanks guys. The real credit for getting the thing rolling is my friend Becky, who’s the bird collections manager at the museum and president of Wake Audubon. I’m just lucky enough to hop on board.

    @Ali- Hey! You’re welcome and all, but honestly it doesn’t take much to convince me to get out. I think the next meeting’s going to be better, though, Big Day’s are fun stuff.

  5. Greg permalink
    April 20, 2009 5:55 pm

    This sounds great! Have you considered going to and writing a grant! Might get some funding for your new club. Deadline is May 1!

  6. Born Again Bird Watcher permalink
    April 21, 2009 11:23 pm


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