I live near several areas that are preserves or trusts held in a natural state for perpetuity. Some of these are preserved by the state or county and include small amenities such as children's playgrounds, picnic tables and restrooms and there can be a small fee to enter them. Others are owned by private environmental groups and exist primarily due to volunteers keeping paths open and swamp trails covered with small boardwalks and donations from the public (sometimes matched by environmental groups) paying property taxes and signage. There is no entry fee for these private lands because they have no money to staff collection of entry fees. Both of these types of areas are precious jewels as far as I am concerned.
A few days ago I walked along a trail in a land trust called the Southern Trial. Come walk with me, as it was lovely! Weather was in the high sixties and sun was shining. Wildflowers were blooming (another post on those.)
I saw some new birds: A grosbeak, a scarlet tanager, and a hairy woodpecker. We are getting very good at listening for birdsongs and identifying songs since our class. Spring is the absolutely best time of year to find birds in the high canopy of the forest. You need binoculars and good ears. You cannot see birds with the binoculars until you see some shadow of movement using your eyes and know where to train the binoculars. Birds are now very active and now singing for territory and mating. They will have either moved north or become more subdued when summer reaches my area, and therefore, much harder to spot.
Rose Breasted Grosbeak
I also saw a familiar character from the American Children's TV show...Arthur
You don't recognize him...let him put on his glasses...