- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stephen Lyn Bales, editor

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rain didn't spoil last weekend's Flutterby-ology

Last Sunday afternoon was our Flutterby-ology class. The threat of rain held down our attendance and the real rain did shorten our great butterfly hunt outside but we managed to find five species of the Lepidopterians. 

Flutterby Fern
We then moved back indoors for the most adorable piece of performance art depicting the complete metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly and its migration to Mexico by our youngest member, three-year-old Fern. An improv star was born. 

Please note the charming Phia with Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) wings in the top photo.

Our next Learn-a-Lot Class, Spider-ology, is scheduled for Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m.

Thanks to the Moms for supplying the Flutterby-themed food treats and to Amanda Davis, Linda Knott and Clare Dattilo for the photos.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Family Nature Club @ Ijams stalks the invertebrates

The Family Nature Club @ Ijams recently held their Invertebrates Workshop. We’re talking insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes and their ilk. And it was a great afternoon, albeit a bit hot, to search for our quarry.

Here's a look back at some of our other outings, click: Aquatics and Birds.

We are now registering families for the 2017 Edition of Family Nature Club @ Ijams. For information call Lauren, (865) 577-4717, ext. 135.

Here's a look at the invertebrate fun.

Supplied photos by moms Linda Knott and Amanda Davis.

Prize catches: Riley with walkingstick bug, Sam with velvet ant
Damselfly (best guess: blue-fronted dancer)
Friendly butterfly finds Jarrod and Amanda
Are Ijams centipedes really this big?
No caption necessary

We avoided those with stingers
Stalking a silvery checkerspot

A millipede in the hand

Sorting our catch with Josie
Rachel and Judah with friend
She is really not so bad
Riley and Lucy with tarantula

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rehabilitated green heron and mink released at Ijams

In the 1920s, long before this was a nature center open to the public, H.P. and Alice Ijams began to call their property a bird sanctuary. Today, almost a century later, it’s still a wildlife refuge.

Local wildlife rehabilitator Lynne McCoy recently brought two orphaned animals she had raised. Totally healthy, it was time to set them free but they were two very different animals. McCoy released a green heron and a young mink at the Lotus Pond H.P. built for his four daughters in 1922.

Thank you to Lynne and Steve and photographers Chuck Cooper and Evan Kidd for capturing the moments.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, August 26, 2016

Ijams Sunday ologists go Dragon Questing

Insect whisperer Jackson

Kids and bugs. What better way to spend a summer afternoon? Yes, we know, it's old school and kids aren't entertained by real bugs, only virtual bugs. But, surprise, surprise.

Sunday's Dragon Quest at Ijams unfolded on an ideal afternoon to study the carnivorous order of insects: Odonata—the toothed ones. We had beautiful weather to search for dragons and even damsels.

And our group managed to catch and release and/or photograph three species of dragonfly: Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta), Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) and Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis). Plus one species of damselfly; best guess Eastern Red Damsel (Amphiagrion saucium).

Thanks to all dragon-ologist and to Jason Dykes and Rex McDaniel for their steady camera work and to Kim, Nick and Clare for helping with the outdoor activities.

Next up: Flutterby-ology in Sunday, September 18, 2 p.m. to register call 577-4717, ext. 110.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Searching for dragonfly nymphs called naiads. Photo Rex McDaniel
A pair of skimmer dragons. Photos by John Goodall
Sorting naiads. Photo by Rex McDaniel
Blue dasher dragonfly Photo by Jason Dykes

Eastern pondhawk dragonfly Photo by Jason Dykes
Slaty Skimmer dragonfly Photo by Jason Dykes

Perhaps eastern red damsel??  Photo by Clare Dattilo

A dragonfly nymph's shed exoskeleton is called an exuviae. Isn't that a fun word? Photo by Clare Dattilo 

Photo be Rex McDaniel
 And as always the families brought most excellent dragonfly foods to share. Here's a sampling. 
Photos by Rex McDaniel

Ijams Dragon-ologists

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summitt, once injured bald eagle returned to the wild at Ijams

Photo by Bruce McCamish

Yesterday morning, the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) returned a once-injured bald eagle to the wild at Ijams. 

The eagle, now named Summitt in honor the late head coach of the Lady Vols, had been found in a leg trap near Huffaker Ferry upstream from Ijams. TWRA officer Roy Smith, who was in attendance for the release, rescued the downed eagle last March

Ijams was honored to be chosen, since H.P. Ijams first began calling the area along the Tennessee River a "bird sanctuary" in the 1920s.

AEF's famous education eagle Challenger was also on hand for the release.  

AEF and Ijams are both non-profits. Your donations are greater appreciated.

Ijams thanks Al, Julia and Laura with AEF and all the people who attended. And thank you Bruce and Chuck for sharing your photos.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Photo by Chuck Cooper
Summitt flies free. Photo by Chuck Cooper
Photo by Chuck Cooper
Photo by Chuck Cooper

AEF's Laura Sterbens and Challenger
Eagle watchers at Ijams