Wings & Wetlands Weekend was held this past Saturday, May 11th at the Emmet County Nature Center. It was a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day which is recognized on the second Saturday of May.
Professor Gary Phillips from Iowa Lakes Community College started the day off with a Duck Wing Identifying program. He covered common paddle ducks, diving ducks, large geese and shoreline birds. The informational program offered advice on the best reference guides and books available on waterfowl and alternative identifying strategies for waterfowl enthusiasts.
Jason Kollasch, Ross Dirks and a peregrine falcon put on an exciting falconry program. Kollasch shared the story of the injured red-tailed hawk he trapped and rescued last autumn. Dirks removed the arrow that had been shot through the hawk's breast. The red-tailed hawk made a quick recovery and was trained to hunt in a short eight days. Both falconers shared insight about the trade including some of the lingo and tools used to train hunting falcons.
Young Wings & Wetlands Weekend explorers later descended on the High Lake shoreline in search of birds, turtles, shells, rocks and artifacts. A spotting scope was trained on the eagle nest near the Nature Center for a chance to spot the nesting family, but some sparkly rocks, crayfish pinchers and a snapping turtle shell were the highlights from the hike.
Naturalist, Jenna Pollock, presented a program on the Geology of Iowa with an emphasis on Emmet County. Bedrock from the Cretaceous period was formed through accumulation between 74 to 102 million years ago. The landscape and topography throughout Emmet County and the rest of the land within the Des Moines Lobe is a result of the most recent glacier that moved across Iowa some 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.
The Geology Rocks! program segued into the next discussion topic of Watersheds and Water Trails. Pollock presented on behalf of the Emmet County Water Trails Association highlighting the mission of the group and benefits of water trail implementation.
Wings & Wetlands Weekend wrapped up with the successful release of orphaned snapping turtles. downy and red-headed woodpeckers, orioles, goldfinches, grosbeaks and warblers came out to the Emmet County Nature Center feeder to take part in the day. The celebration was a fun, educational success!
Emmet County Conservation wishes to extend our thanks to all those individuals that came out to celebrate Wings & Wetlands Weekend. We also wish to thank our guest speakers Gary Phillips, Jason Kollash and Ross Dirks, and our photographer, Jim Willmore, for making the day memorable for years to come.