Thursday, July 28, 2011

Camp Boardwalk Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday afternoon, summer campers at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest headed out onto the boardwalk for a scavenger hunt.  Items to locate included various reptiles, a nut, a berry, a insect-chewed leaf, a bone, a deciduous tree, an insect with wings, an animal track, scat, etc.  This week's group of campers was loaded with sharp eyes and nearly every items was discovered.

One of the winged insects that we saw was a Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) caught in the web and being eaten by a Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes).  The next largest spider in the images is the male Golden Silk Orbweaver.  He tends to stay behind the female and out of the way, though he did move in closer as she was feeding and possibly distracted.  The smallest spiders on the web appear to be a separate species and may survive on the scraps left in the web after the larger spiders have fed.

A bright green Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) moving across some orange fungus made it easier to spot.

After the recent rain, fungus of all varieties was plentiful around the boardwalk.

Although the campers did not have time to reach the section of the boardwalk where water has finally begun to pool, we headed out after camp to #5 and beyond.  If water continues to flow downstream from areas that had greater rainfall, we should have plenty of water for a swampy feel during tomorrow's walk.  Out at Goodson Lake, we saw an alligator enjoying the sunshine and discovered a Great-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus) on a nest across from the tower.

Images by Mark Musselman

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