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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Four-year-old Trooper celebrates fourth birthday at Ijams

Landlubbers, ahoy!

Best wishes go out to Trooper who celebrated his fourth birthday with a pirate-themed party at the nature center.

Crawdad Willie served as host pirate, assisted by Saltwater Charlie. aaagh!

Here is a link with information about: Birthday Parties at Ijams. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

TN Naturalist @ Ijams class of 2015 meet for first time

Senior naturalist Peg Beute looks for frogs and newts in a Homesite pond

The 2015 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met last Saturday for their first of a series of classes. 

This year there are 25 people taking the course which wraps up in November and covers a wide range of topics: trees, wildflowers, birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles, geology, fungi and even one late night class in September called the "Nocturnal Naturalist."  

This is the third year that Ijams is involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 12 classes, students must put in 40 hours of volunteer work at Ijams or elsewhere. After all the requirements are met, the students will become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

Senior naturalist Peg Beute and education director Jennifer Roder conducted the first class and afterwards the group went into the woods to look for early signs of spring. 

Welcome class of 2015!

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Jen Roder. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Ijams owls are easier to find before the leaves unfurl

Aaah! The warmth of a sunny spring day. After several weeks of snow, ice, rain and overcast days, it feels good to just sit in the sun and soak up the rays.

Just ask the barred owls that live in the woods behind the Visitor Center.

Photographer Chuck Cooper had a couple of recent encounters. Although the great blue heron is on our logo, the Ijams barred owls have become more of our signature species. We've had people drive all the way from Kentucky just to photograph them. Here is some of what Chuck saw. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Soup-eaters, bird searchers complete their quest


Ijams American woodcock searchers and soup-eaters enjoyed Peg's belly-warming soup last Saturday evening and then completed their quest, finding the elusive squat, upland shorebirds known as woodcocks a.k.a. timberdoodles just before darkness fell.

American woodcocks are migrating through the county on their way to their breeding grounds to the north. A few nest in East Tennessee, we are at the southern edge of their range. 

"Superbly camouflaged against the leaf litter, the brown-mottled American Woodcock walks slowly along the forest floor, probing the soil with its long bill in search of earthworms. Unlike its coastal relatives, this plump little shorebird lives in young forests and shrubby old fields across eastern North America. Its cryptic plumage and low-profile behavior make it hard to find except in the springtime at dawn or dusk, when the males show off for females by giving loud, nasal "peeeeennnnt" calls and performing dazzling aerial displays," states the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

Superbly camouflaged, indeed. And finding them in the twilight is always a challenge, but this is an annual pre-spring ritual at the nature center. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rare conjunction of Lynns in alignment this morning at Ijams

We had a rare “planetary alignment” of three of the four "Lynns" that routinely work or volunteer at Ijams Nature Center this morning.  And oddly, each spells their name a bit differently.

Flanking this Stephen Lyn is volunteer naturalist Lynne Davis on the left and on the right is children's story time reader Lynn Keffer. If only wildlife rehabilitator Lynne McCoy had been there, it would have been all four Lynns in conjunction.

Photo taken by Lynn's son. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ijams Spring Break Camp in session the entire week

Ijams Spring Break Camp is just finishing their first day. 

Most of the activities were outside today because what a beautiful day it was! Here educator Sammi Stoklosa plays the sound of a barred owl for the campers.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cub Scouts visited Ijams, brought blue skies with them

Rain. Rain. Rain. But luckily, the showers stopped long enough last Wednesday afternoon for an one hour naturalist-led hike as Ijams welcomed Cub Scout Pack 125 from Farragut.

And guess what? As we entered the woods the clouds were beginning to part and by the time we got to the lower overlook—we had BLUE sky!

Yes. Real blue sky.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, March 13, 2015

Peg is serving breakfast at Ijams

Come on down.

Our favorite cook, Peg Beute is serving breakfast in the morning from 9:30 to 11 a.m. with all proceeds going to the education department.

And she'll be featuring the laid-back sultry smooth sounds of jazz guitarist Sam Glover. Oh, so mellow! Is that a Steely Dan t-shirt he is wearing? Yes. Oh, so cool.

What better way to start your weekend!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Autism families group welcomed to Ijams today for hike

Ijams welcomed Artistic Spectrum, a group creating opportunities for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders, here today for a picnic, nature hike and scavenger hunt with cameras around the River Trail.

We dodged the ice, remaining snow and muddy trails to have a good time.

Thanks, Veronica.