|Skulker in the hillside shrubbery|
There was a sudden burst of song, that was so loud it seemed to come from the kitchen. Ran outside to spy a little Carolina Wren in the shrubbery a bit uphill. I played one calling on my iPhone and the wren responded a bit. Then, when I gave up and went back inside, the little devil flew into the Rhododendron just out side the front door and sang up a storm.
|♪Oh, dem golden slippers...!♪|
Wish I'd recorded that little guy on a camcorder. I heard more birds this morning than I saw, because the day is a bit overcast and the birds seem more secretive, though I don't know if the weather is the cause of it. After my first day or so, it dawned on me the chickadees here are kind of dinky. Just a bit tinier than the Black-capped Chickadees of northern states I'm more familiar with. That means I'm definitely seeing a species I've only seen once before - drum roll please - Carolina Chickadees.
|A wee CAROLINA Chickadee!|
|Diving Broad-winged Hawk|
I heard and saw all the usual birds I see from the cabin, including a soaring Broad-winged Hawk.
Though I had my ears set on 'Warbler' mode, I only heard Black-throated Green Warblers calling. Exploring one corner of the Y grounds I found an acre pond, on which floated one drake Blue-winged Teal, a Mallard Drake & a couple of Canada Geese. That adds one new bird - the Teal - to my North Carolina state bird list.
|Blue-winged Teal Drake|
After Ila worked her shift, I picked her up and we had five hours before her next shift. I pushed for us to visit the Nature Center in Ashville. I took my binocs and big lens camera so I could stroll the grounds and bird.
|Ila headed for the Asheville Nature Center entrance|
When we got there, it turned out I was, um... mistaken about the 'nature' of the Nature Center'. It is not a botanical gardens of native trees and walkways where Northern Cardinals sing and Magnolias bloom - it is a tiny, zoo. I haven't been to any zoo in about a decade and wouldn't have gone to the Nature Center, had I know its true identity.
|cute walkway on the way to the animal exhibits|
Eventually I decided to stop whining about the dearth of birdies and go to see the rare Red Wolves on display. I saw the rangy, not-as-red-as-one-might-think beasts. I thought back to when I got to traverse the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge a couple of years ago, where I hoped to spot wild Red Wolves, but of course, no dice; that is one rare beastie.
|One of several Red Wolves on display|
|Gray/Timber Wolf in another exhibit|
There were also nice Gray Wolves, Red and Gray Foxes to admire. Particularly loved the Red Fox - always loved those little buggers - used to draw red foxes exclusively in kindergarten, and my teacher complained to my mother about it; thought I ought to be drawing boring things like humans, houses and trees. Ha!
There were many Appalachian reptiles & amphibians on display at the center. I thought this one, an Eastern Mud Turtle was particularly creepy looking. Can't get past the fleshy chin whiskers.
|Eastern Mud Turtle|
After our short visit to the Nature Center we headed back to the Y. You know we only have one more day left of volunteering here before we'll be off north for two mystery stops before we return to California. Neither Ila nor myself can wait to be on the road again.