The Salamander Switch-Up

If you measure the success of a week at nature camp by the number of times kids shout in excitement about reptiles and amphibians, last week was a pretty good one:

“I found a skink!”

“Come and see this newt!”

“There’s a salamander over here!”

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 If you consider accuracy, though? Far less successful; we went zero for three. We did see both skinks and salamanders, but the kids were confused about which was which. These creatures do have a lot in common, but each is awesome in its own way. Continue reading

Species Feature: Carolina Wren

When I moved into my summer housing, I noticed right away that the burnt-out lighting sconce by the entryway was stuffed full of debris–leaves, pine needles, twigs. I wondered if some bird had nested there, long ago. When I walked up to the house earlier this evening, though, a bird rocketed out of the alcove and right over my head.

Aha! Not an old nest, then, but a current one! I dragged a chair out to climb up and investigate, but the nest was too high for me to reach, even then. I went out to the porch to restrategize and found a visitor perched on the railing, watching me: a Carolina wren, with a bill full of nesticropped-carolina-wren-209621_960_720.jpgng materials. Upon seeing a human blocking its path, it retreated hastily to a skinny tree opposite the gravel walkway, where it observed until it decided I wasn’t so scary after all and began working on the nest again.

Continue reading