Grab your camera for day at refuge

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Come join the staff and Friends of St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day, National Trails Day and National Pollinator Week.

From 7:30 a.m. until noon, we will be leading bird walks, canoe trips and children’s activities. All ages and all skill levels are encouraged to participate.

The refuge is home to many breeding birds — warblers, chats, flycatchers and more. Mornings bring a host of sounds as birds announce their presence and redefine their territories.

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Local birder Bill McGehee and several staff biologists will lead guided bird identification walks on the Magnolia National Recreation Trail. The first walk will leave the refuge office at 7:45 a.m.

Guides will point out different species of birds while providing identification tips, sounds and life history facts. Information about other wildlife and plants encountered along the trail will also be shared by these knowledgeable guides.

At 9 and 11 a.m. refuge staff will guide a canoe trip through centuries old cypress trees in Gilliard Lake where paddlers will see birds, fish, maybe an alligator, as well as many of the native species that have adapted to this dynamic system. The refuge has a limited number of canoes available for paddlers. This is typically a popular event. You are encouraged to call for reservations or bring your own canoe or kayak.

All morning, children will be guided on their own bird walks as they enjoy activities along the “Animal Olympics” trail. The Animal Olympics includes 14 stations for children to be entertained over a half-mile portion of the Magnolia Trail.

Each station is a little different, but they can walk like a duck, jump like a grasshopper or run like an alligator. Those completing the course will receive a certificate acknowledging their accomplishment.

Children will also be assisted in building a blue bird nest box to take home to start a lifetime of watching birds and contributing to conservation.

Visitors should come enjoy the butterflies in the garden and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to be introduced to a host of fantastic outdoor recreation activities available at the refuge, which is just 20 minutes from downtown Natchez.

All events will begin at the refuge office located at 21 Pintail Lane. To get there from Natchez, head south on U.S. 61 for approximately 12 miles, turn right at the brown refuge sign onto York Road for 2 miles, and left on Pintail Lane for approximately 0.1 mile.

The office is on the left. Call 601-442-6696 for information and reservations.

This will be a fun morning! Come join us. Bring your camera and binoculars.


Bob Strader is the refuge manager at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge.