BRDC's Blue Ridge Expeditions Launches its First Foray

Blue Ridge Discovery Center is proud to welcome Roald Kirby to our team of naturalist explorers and guides.  As program director of our new Blue Ridge Expeditions, Roald brings years of outdoor experience and love of our Blue Ridge to the public through a series of walks, guided hikes and nature lore.

Today we met at Matthews State Forest ostensibly for a bird walk, but general inquiries were (and always will be) welcome.  The sky was overcast with the threat of impending rain, so the birds were generally more quiet than would be if the sun had made an appearance, yet we were able to either hear and/or see the following (in no special order):

  • Indigo bunting
  • House finch
  • Catbird
  • American robin
  • Blue jay
  • Black-throated green warbler
  • Tennessee warbler
  • Northern cardinal
  • Wood duck
  • Pileated woodpecker
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Turkey vulture
  • Eastern phoebe
  • Eastern wood-pewee
  • American Goldfinch
  • Eastern bluebird
  • mocking bird
  • Song Sparrow
  • Carolina wren
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • American crow
  • Eastern towhee
  • Cedar waxwing

Comparisons were made between oak and maple tree species.  The Alleghany Chinkapin was notable along some of the paths.  Evidence of heavy hickory nut foraging by squirrels littered the woods along with their harvest of yellow buckeye.  Several species of mushrooms were observed along the trail.  Many varieties of apples were available for taste comparisons and thirst quenching.  Discussions ranging from why birds sing to the American Chestnut program being conducted on the state forest grounds were driven by questions...always a good way to engage the learning process.

It is our intention to offer more of these programs throughout the year.  Please pay attention to the local newspapers for notices of upcoming events.  (The Galax Gazette and The Declaration.)  On October 5th, we will be meeting at Grayson Highlands State Park at the Massie Gap parking area, 8:30am, for an all day hike to Mount Rogers.  Roald has secured Dr. Phil Shelton to assist BRDC.  Phil has led this walk at the Mount Rogers Naturalist Rally for years. 

If you are not in the picture below, well, you missed out.  Join us next time! 

Again, we wish to thank the Matthews Foundation for their generous support!

Scott Jackson-Ricketts