Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer 2: Experiential Learning

June 23, 2011
8:10am-9:45am, Aullwood Audubon Center, Englewood, OH
overcast, cool

I've come to the weekly "Adult Nature Walk" at the Audubon Center in hopes of recruiting some birders for Translations: an exploration of birdsong, sound, and movement (official name of my upcoming dance and music collaboration with Rodney).

Tom Hissong, the naturalist who I met last week, is leading the walk, and he is kind enough to introduce me to the group of walkers and let me give a quick spiel about the project.

I don't get any instant volunteers, but I figure, I can come back next week to get folks on board.

The walk itself is fantastic - I get to ask Tom about a whole bunch of songs whose birds I've been trying to figure out. I learn to name the Carolina Wren (teakettle teakettle teakettle) and the Acadia Flycatcher (peet-sah!). Here's the Acadian Flycatcher in both original and my mimicked versions:

I realize that the mystery prairie bird of last week, with an undulating pitch that reminds me of a car alarm, may well have been a House Wren.

I hear and see for the very first time an Indigo Bunting (beautiful blue bird!) and a Summer Tanager. The tanager impresses me with his volume and projection - he must be at least 150 yards away and I can hear him loud and clear. Compare that to my little violin trying to rise over the volume of a small creek the other day!

The summer tanager wins Bird of the Day! The disadvantage to group walks is that it's hard to get clean audio:

The experiential teaching prize today goes to Tom, who teaches me to forever remember the stinging nettle by rubbing a bit on the back of my hand. Before the rash has even welted, he puts an antidote plant's juices on the spot.

It's the first time I've voluntarily subjected myself to a rash, and I have to say, it makes me feel hard-core! I am bemused and entertained every time I look at it (the rash dissipates in a few hours).


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