An Oakmoss Summer

Our program line-up for the Summer of 2015 includes two field outings and a hands-on workshop in East Aurora, NY as we continue our mission to share the lessons of Nature to benefit the planet and all its inhabitants. Details and registration information available on our website. Please join us!

Twilight Trek
Saturday, July 11 – 7:00 to 9:00pm at West Falls Park. Enjoy an interpretive stroll through the woods and along the creek at dusk, one of the most active times of day as diurnal creatures wind down and nocturnal critters begin to rouse.

Field Flutterers
Saturday, July 25 – 9:00am to 11:30am at Knox Farm State Park. We’ll be seeking out the flighted creatures of the open field, be they insect or avian. From butterflies to birds, there are many species that fill the morning with activity.

Introduction to Herbal Concoctions
Saturday, August 1 – 1:00pm to 3:30pm at the Roycroft Campus Power House. A hands-on workshop in which students will become acquainted with incorporating common herbs into simple preparations for body care and overall general health.

Timberdoodle Season

It’s that time of year for the annual ritual of “leeking” and “timberdoodling” as we head out to harvest wild ramps and watch the early evening heavens for signs of the “Skydancer” – officially, the American Woodcock.

American Woodcock

Photo courtesy of birdzilla.com

The Woodcock (Scolopax minor) – also known as the Timberdoodle – is a member of the Sandpiper family. The size of a small game bird, this forest dweller is well camouflaged with its brown mottled coloration. The Woodcock’s bill is long to accommodate the hunt for earthworms (its chief diet) and the eyes are placed near the back of the head to allow it to keep a close eye on its surroundings while scavenging for lunch.

It is in the early Spring of the year that this quirky bird begins its mating rituals with the males making a dazzling display in their attempts to woo the gals. Just after sundown, in an open (preferably gravel) area near woodlands, you might hear a male Woodcock “peent”- the sound he makes to signal the ladies he’s about to impress them with his prowess. After a few moments of “peenting”, the male will take off in flight spiraling high in the sky creating a whistling effect with his wings. He circles a bit, then dives down with a kissing-like sound. He often will land almost exactly where the ritual “dance” began.

Head out to an open area near the woods in the evening during the next few weeks of Spring and listen for the tell-tale “peenting”. Then watch the skies above and enjoy one of the most spectacular of bird displays.

Here’s a video showing the air dance and the peenting of the Timberdoodle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta1fxy0MR2c&feature=related