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outdoors

Annual spring bird walks in Shelly Wetlands Preserve


April 23, 2014

THOMPSON, PA — After a long, hard and relentless in northeastern Pennsylvania, spring is beginning to emerge, and once again Florence Shelly Wetlands Preserve will host its two annual bird walks. In the company of expert birders, experienced birdwatchers and amateurs alike can enjoy exploring the woods, fields, and wetlands of the 400-acre preserve as they identify birds by sight and song.

On Saturday, May 3 at 6 a.m., Ron Milliken will present his 27th annual walk in the preserve. His walk focuses on migratory birds and often lasts the entire morning, covering a wide area of the preserve. It is not uncommon for participants to spot between 60 and 65 species in Milliken’s expert company. You are invited to stay as long as you wish.

On Saturday, May 18 at 7 a.m., Evan Mann, a local birder and amateur naturalist, will conduct a leisurely, in-depth walk around a smaller area of the preserve. Besides identifying birds that are nesting in the preserve’s diverse ecological niches, Mann will discuss the habits of the various species sighted.

Diversity is the key to the Shelly Preserve’s beauty and value and also the reason it hosts so many species. The brushy meadows are home to tree swallows, wrens and sparrows, while the deep boreal bog attracts eastern bluebirds nesting in dead snags, swamp sparrows, and belted kingfishers.

The season will continue with monthly guided walks with local naturalists. Join them at 2 p.m. to discover wildflowers (Sunday, June 8), dragonflies (Saturday, July 28), and trees (Sunday, September 14).

The walks begin at the preserve parking lot one mile north of Thompson on Route 171, where Stack Road intersects. The trails are uneven and may be wet. Bring binoculars. Call 570/727-3362.