Monday, March 2, 2009

Parker Family Science & Nature Field trip

On Saturday, February 28th, I led the 11th annual Science & Nature of Winter field trip for Parker students and their families. 40 people joined me as we first headed for Salisbury State Park on the shores of the Merrimack River. We were hardly off the bus when we saw several Harbor seals hauled out on the rocks enjoying the sun. I set up the spotting scope and every one got wonderful looks at them. There were also Common eider ducks, Red-breasted mergansers, Herring & Greater black-back sea gulls, and 2 Common loons in the river.
As we drove over to the bathrooms, we saw several cars pulled over to the side with a bunch of people looking through spotting scopes and cameras at something. A Snowy owl! We got off the bus and slowly walked over to where people were observing the bird. I again set up my spotting scope and the kids and their families got superb looks at the owl from about 150 feet! Rarely do you get to see a Snowy owl that close. The bird watchers and photographers there were great to the kids, inviting them to look through their scopes and cameras, too. One photographer got several beautiful photographs he took from his car to show everyone.
Our next stop was at Deer Island located in the middle of the Merrimack River. Here we ate lunch in the sun out of the cold wind. When we first got there there were no Bald eagles, however, after about 20 minutes, 2 adult male Bald eagles flew in and circled around for a few minutes before drifting away. There was also a Red-tailed hawk soaring overhead.
We next headed to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. We slowly drove down the refuge road, eyes open for anything, but there was little wildlife visible. We stopped at the Hellcat Trail boardwalk where we first went up the observation tower and then next we walked the boardwalk trail. The day was bright, clear, and sunny and we had spectacular views from the top of a dune. We could even see Mt. Argamenticus in York, Maine.
As we headed off the refuge, we made one last stop at Parking lot #1 so we could do some winter beachcombing. Various types of sea shells were found along with a lot of over interesting things, including a clump of wrecked lobster pots. Tangled up in them was a fishing reel and several fishing lures that one of the kids salvaged.
All in all, the trip was very successful and the kids and their families had a great time! Many thanks to the Parker PTO for funding the cost of the bus!
As kids send me photographs they took, I'll post them to this entry. Photos were taken by Collin, Peter, Noah. The first 2 Snowy owl photos were taken by a teacher friend of mine of these 2 birds being released at Salisbury State Park. They were captured at Logan airport and relesed here.

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