One of the treats of volunteering at a wildlife refuge is that after a day of tending to the visitor center, we can roam the refuge in the fading sunlight and enjoy the birds and other animals as they eat dinner and settle down for the day. During the day as a bus monitor for the field trips here, Storm rides in a school bus full of 4th or 7th graders and teaches them to use binoculars to check out the many birds and alligators along their route. He is accompanied on the bus by a Master Naturalist who is very capable of identifying birds and who makes sure Storm and the kids spot the varied and numerous avian visitors to this park.
Since I normally stay at the discovery center and teach about migration or reptiles, I have not had the opportunity to hone my animal recognition skills. Sure I can pass a baby alligator to eager young students all day, but my eyes are not as experienced as Storm’s when it comes to locating a barely visible set of reptilian eyes and nose just above the water.
As a result of Storm’s month long exposure to bird identification, he becomes my personal naturalist when we ride the refuge in the evening to relax. I love that he can tell a White Faced Ibis from a Glossy Ibis and that he quickly spots the candy corn bill of a Moor Hen to show me. I don’t have enough camera lens to get great bird pictures here, but below are some highly cropped shots from our evening rides. I hope they are as relaxing for you as the ride is for me.