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

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

Monday, August 8, 2016

'Jeffery' the snake lives outside near the Visitor Center

If you have visited Ijams this summer you may know that the Visitor Center as acquired a resident black rat snake that lives outside near the building. After all, we are a wildlife sancuary.

We see the snake every now and then and know that it is working to keep down our resident population of mice, moles and shrews. 

A week ago, after a morning rain, one of the fathers of the scouts attending the Scout Sleepover happened to get the above photo, while one of the scouts gave the mascot snake a name.

Meet Jeffery. 

Thank you, Matthew!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Visitor video captures heart and soul of Ijams

Ijams Nature Center is a lot of things to a lot of people.

But for over 93 years, it has been a safe place for children to explore nature.

To that end, please watch this visitor video our own Jill Sublett found on Vimeo: Make Something Beautiful