Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Student's Day at the Farm

As a student at Georgia College, I'm taking several classes that call for us to be outdoors. Dr. Bob Chandler's Field Ornithology course requires travel to various nearby locations to scan the shrubs and treetops for local birds, and he coaches us on anatomy and important field note-taking techniques that are vital for every young scientist to master. My other class, Freshwater Biology with Dr. Christopher Skelton, focuses on aquatic insects, as well as crayfish. We alternate between having classes outside catching bugs at local sites, and using microscopes in the lab at GC to identify the bugs we have caught.

This Thursday, May 5th, Andalusia Farm was the location for both my ornithology class, and for insect collecting for my freshwater biology class. My ornithology class and I arrived at the farm at 8:00 a.m. to start the bird walk early in the day, when birds are most active. I’ve heard from my friends and various other birders that Andalusia is a wonderful place to go looking for birds. Multiple unique species have been found on the property and we were hoping to see some that day! I brought Dr. Chandler an owl that I had found in the road the night before, and he talked about the various important and interesting aspects of the bird before our trek. During our walk on the property we spotted a few very beautiful bird species.

We came across four wood ducks in a small pond on the edge of a field. At the end of the field we walked a trail in the woods and spotted many sparrows including field sparrows, white-throated sparrows, chipping sparrows, and song sparrows. The trees were filled with the joyful chatter of the birds and the knocking on trees by woodpeckers far off in the distance. At the end of the trail we crossed some more fields to the left of the driveway coming into the property and had the pleasure to come across a few wild turkeys. We laughed seeing them awkwardly run across the field in alarm as our large group came upon them!

At the end of the walk I donned by chest waders and strolled down to the pond nearby the house with my net to search for insects. I was very successful and found many water striders, water scorpions (harmless except to other small water bugs!), and many aquatic beetles. After gathering a few of the specimens I made my way down to a stream we had crossed earlier that morning and began turning over several of the rocks in the middle of the running water. I discovered hundreds of caddisfly larva all clinging to the rock for dear life! I quickly plucked a few off to add to my collection as well as some stonefly nymphs (young adults) and other unidentifiable (for now) aquatic insects.

It was quite pleasing to find so many insects in one location!

Overall, Andalusia is a wonderful site to go utilize for education, or simply to just enjoy the wildlife! The staff and employees were extremely nice and offered for Georgia College students to come by whenever they need to - I can’t wait to go back!

Kathyrn discovered hundreds of caddisfly larva in Tobler Creek.

-- Kathryn Codie Mosher is a senior undergraduate student studying Biology at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia. She has a passion for the outdoors and animals and always finds a way to incorporate them into her career. Once she graduates, she plans to work at the Veterinary Medical Center in Roswell and obtain certification as a veterinary technician.  

1 comment:

Christine said...

Terrific post! Gives us a new perspective on Andalusia. Keep these great blog posts coming!