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

Monday, August 20, 2012

'My Kid's First Canoe Trip' proved memorable

Billed as "My Kid's First Canoe Trip," the early morning outing on Ijams Quarry Lake turned out to be a memorable one this past Saturday.

It was beautiful. The sun hadn't risen above the low-hanging clouds to the east, so conditions on the water were dream like. It was a wonderful time for parent and child to bond. 

A good time was had by all. 

(Personal note: special thanks to Peg Beute and Kara Remington for coming to my aid. They really were a life saver.)

- Text and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Second Annual KTOS HummerFest held at Ijams

Hummingbird Fest

The second annual KTOS Hummingbird Festival was recently held at Ijams. 

Ruby-throated hummingbird specialists Bob and Martha Sargent spoke about what they have learned about the species after a lifetime of study. Chattanooga plant expert Chris Mahoney was also on hand to speak about the flowers that hummingbirds love, while Mark Armstrong held a hummingbird banding demonstration on the back terrace of the Visitor Center. 

Special thanks to Billie Cantwell and the rest of the KTOS members who organized the affair, sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited, Bob and Martha Sargent, Mark Armstrong, Jane Kading, Mindy Fawver and Vickie Henderson.

Mark Armstrong, Curator of Birds at the Knoxville Zoo, is a local licensed bird bander.

Before the bird is banded, it is weighed, measured and the gender is determined.

How big is a band that fits on a hummingbirds leg? 
Eighteen of the tiny metal rings will fit on one side of a small safety pin.

Male ruby-throated hummingbird.

And what would a festival be without food, plants, arts and crafts? Outside, on the plaza, a wide range of items were sold by local, smiling vendors. Here's a small sampling:

Thanks to Marcia Davis for writing about the event in her News Sentinel column

Photos by Linda McGill and Pam Petko-Seus. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

AEF fledges three birds-of-prey at Ijams

Broad-winged hawk takes its first flight.

Nancy Zagaya, president of The East Tennessee Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, fledged three young birds at Ijams two weeks ago. For all three, it was their first flight.

The young birds—two screech owls and a broad-winged hawk—had been rescued from crows and raised at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge. Summer Day Camp kids on-hand that day were there to watch the birds first venture into flight.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Budding young mycologist visits Ijams

Sofia Tomov is special. She's one of those 8 1/2-year-olds, who is smart and ebullient and mature beyond her years. Her curosity abounds. She loves nature. Whenever she visits Ijams, you know that there is a big smile exploring the premises.

I saw Sofia and her mother Beverly at last week's HummerFest and she showed me what she has been into recently. She's become a budding young mycologist. At a UT Fungi Camp this summer, Sofia visited the Ijams Discovery Trail. Here is some of what she discovered.

Sofia emailed, "Ijams is my favorite place in Knoxville, and provides amazing opportunities for viewing flora, fauna and fungi. This has been an excellent summer for fungi in particular.

Amanita muscaria by Sofia
Amanita muscaria normally has small white bumps on the cap in the early and middle stage. In this picture, you can tell that the mushroom is in a late stage because the gills are turned up and you don't see the white bumps. Amanita muscaria is poisonous, just like almost all species in the Amanita genus (most famously, the Destroying Angel, Amanita virosa.)


Coprinus comatus by Sofia
 Coprinus comatus is also known as the "lawyer's wig" or "shaggy mane"mushroom, and I think it looks like a sheepdog's head. It's not considered poisonous, but it's never a good idea to eat any mushrooms in the wild. Coprinus comatus doesn't spread out its cap when releasing spores.

Cyathus sp. by Sofia

 Cyathus is a genus of birds' nest fungus. The egg-like structures are actually attached to the cup by a tiny thread, and contain spores. In the early stage, Cyathus looks like a tiny orange club.

Fomes fomentarius by Sofia
Fomes fomentarius is also known as 'hoof fungus," "tinder conk," or "Ice Man fungus," because the 5000 year old Otzi the Ice Man was found carrying four pieces of this fungus."

Thank you, Sofia for sharing your finds.

- Story by Stephen Lyn Bales and Sofia

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ET Pro Photographers hold Youth Photo Camp at Ijams

Thursday, August 9: 9 am - 5:30 pm  


(Ages 8-18) This terrific camp includes all day "hands-on" instruction from award-winning professional photographers and a Certified Scout Merit Badge Instructor. 

Participants will also receive lunch, a photo nature walk at Ijams, and even the opportunity to photograph some of our animal ambassadors! There will also be a print competition with awards and camp souvenir items! Spaces are limited and pre-registration is required. Register online at: Youth Photo Camp 

For more information or questions, please visit the Professional Photographers of East Tennessee website. Click: Youth Photo Camp