Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Leavenworth Spring Bird Festival

Birds, sunshine, picturesque mountains in a charming small town – this is what drew me to the Leavenworth Spring Bird Festival earlier in May. I ended up having Annika to myself, as Gabe had plans with a friend for the day. We got an early start and made it to Leavenworth just after 9am for a bird walk at the Sleeping Lady Resort. After driving through drizzle on the west side, it was so nice to have sunshine and warmth on the east. A fairly large group of birders had showed up for this free public walk, and we started in the gardens of the resort. Swallows swooped above us, and we spotted a red-tailed hawk right away, soaring up high on thermals. We meandered through the paths, enjoying art and the native habitat.

Art in Trees at the Sleeping Lady Resort
Art in Trees at the Sleeping Lady Resort

 

Sleeping Lady Resort
A Chihuly Piece

Frogs croaked and warblers sang. Down by the Icicle River, one of the guides set up his spotting scope so we could see an osprey sitting on a nest upstream. We got a thrill later when we watched it fly over us with a fish in its talons.

Sleeping Lady Resort
Looking Upriver at the Osprey Nest

We saw four California quail, a house wren in a nest box singing its little heart out, and rough-winged swallows (a first for me).

Bird Boxes on the Side of the Building
Bird Boxes on the Side of the Building

The best bird of the day was a white-headed woodpecker, another first on my life-list.

After our walk we headed into town to Birding Central, at the Barn Reach Reserve. They had booths set up for educational and art displays.

Educational Activities at Birding Central
Educational Activities at Birding Central

We watched the last half of the presentation by Sarvey Wildlife Care Center. They had brought several raptors out for folks to see. We marveled over the golden eagle, bald eagle, falcon, and owls. We never tire of seeing those birds.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle

Annika wasn’t up for another nature walk at that point, so we looked at the art, visited the displays, and then she dissected an owl pellet.

Dissecting an Owl Pellet
Dissecting an Owl Pellet

She was fortunate to find a parts of a bird skeleton in hers, including a foot and the head. It was pretty cool to see the beak and the curled up little foot.

At that point we were ready for a break, and we had some time to kill before the concert at the end of the day. We walked down to the river where there was a sandy beach to play on, and I relaxed while Annika splashed in the water and tried to catch minnows.

River Fun
River Fun

I’ve gotten wise over the years and always have a blanket, sunscreen and towels in the back of the car now for situations like this. It’s nice to have the freedom to be able to take advantage of water when we hadn’t planned for it.

Then it was time for the free public concert, so we drove back out of town to the Snowy Owl Theater. This building is beautiful inside, with wonderful acoustics and comfortable seats. We heard a flute choir, a handbell choir, a 12-year-old accordion player, and my favorite, Nancy Rumbel. (Nancy is one half of the duo Tingstad and Rumbel, plus she composed the music for the show BirdNote. I also have the custom ring tone she created on my phone.) We really enjoyed the concert after being outside all day.

We ended our day at Lake Wenatchee State Park, where we planned to heat up some dinner and play some more. But it was crazy windy at the lake, so we found a big log to hide behind while we heated up some food.

Teresa and Annika at lake Wenatchee
Teresa and Annika at lake Wenatchee

My friend Teresa “Dicentra” came and joined us for a bit after that. She lives close by and I hadn’t seen her in awhile. It was great to catch up on our lives. But soon it was time to hit the road back over the pass so we could get home for bed time.

We enjoyed our day away. There were plenty of free activities to do, but there were even more we could have participated in if we had paid for the entire conference and stayed the whole weekend. I’m glad we went and I hope we can go again another year.

Lake Wenatchee Sunset
Lake Wenatchee Sunset

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