Before beginning our explorations, we got lunch. Nathan treated us to Friendly's - including a Reece's Pieces Sundae! After lunch in Danville, we arrived at the Montour Preserve :)
It was a beautiful day and the land was quiet and lovely. We started by going inside the Visitor's Center and met a Meadow Lark inside the door.
Ooh! There were a lot of raptors swooping down from the ceiling - owls, hawks, eagles, and more :D
In the visitor's center, there was a window where you could sit and watch the birds outside. They had a number of different types of feeders to attract the birds and a panel with notes and pictures to help you identify them. We saw a lot of goldfinches flittering between the branches and coming to eat. They were like little sunshines.
Here was a pair, a male and female I think, in the tree.
We also saw a woodpecker in the tree. He seemed to be hunting for bugs :3
On the ground, we saw a white-throated sparrow. He had a zebra-like head with a splash of yellow. (I thought they were white-capped sparrows, but the bird guide corrected me!) There were a few at the preserve hunting for seeds on the ground.
I was really excited to see this little bird! It's called a Song Sparrow. I've read that the females are attracted to males who can learn many different song components. I like their brown and white colors. They must be very shy, because I don't see them very often. This one was hopping around in the reeds and shallow water.
The first trail that we walked was the Braille Trail. It was designed with the visually impaired in mind. A rope ran the circuit of the path with signs along the way that contain braille messages and text transcriptions.
They noted nearby plants and features, some that could be touched or heard or smelled, along the way. It was neat to see the trail from a broader perspective.
Nathan remembered this plaque and leaf display from when he was a kid and his family came to the Montour Preserve. It must have been really special to see it again :)
Wildflowers grew along the way.
"Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing."
At the end of the trail, there was a large pond.
It was fully of lilypads and we kept hearing frogs *plunk* into the water as we walked. I only ever saw one of the frogs, though :P He was hiding under a branch in the water...
There were three ducks swimming at the end of the pond.
Near the pond were bunches of tiny, colorful flowers. So pretty!
After we finished the braille trail, we took one more look in the visitor's center. I saw a fish that was caught by a friend of ours who goes to our church :)
Then, we got back in the car and drove to the south end of the preserve. Along the way, we saw a bird box where a bunch of tree swallows were gathered. They kept landing on the roof of the bird box, then flying about, then landing again. Their shimmery greenish-blue feathers and white bellies shone in the sunshine. It was strange to see them sitting, as I've only ever seen them swooping in flight or lined up on a telephone wire. Unfortunately, I couldn't take a photo, since I was driving and the camera was in the back seat. Oops!
We also saw a hawk of some sort out toward the end of the big lake. We aren't sure what it was, but guess that it might have been an osprey based on its white and brown coloring. He was soaring high above us.
At that end of the preserve, there's a fossil pit where you can dig for fossils.
Nathan and I tried digging for quite some time, but only found one tiny shell fossil. Still, it's incredible to think that this stone imprint is so ancient :D
We took a break here for some water and shade. Hello! :)
Nearby is what they call the Bluebird Trail. It's named that because throughout the area, they've posted bird houses especially designed for bluebirds. We saw a pair. The female was sitting on a post...
... and the male was sitting on a house. :)
What a great day and such beautiful weather! It really put me in awe of God's beauty and love.
"This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair... This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet."
Mallard - 3
Osprey - 1 (?)
Mourning Dove - 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
American Crow - 2
Tree Swallow - 4 (?)
Black-capped Chickadee - 1
Eastern Bluebird - 2
American Robin - lots (?)
Song Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 1
American Goldfinch - lots (?)