You could meet a red tailed hawk up close and personal. Isn't she a beauty? How can you tell she is a she? Females are bigger than the males.
Red tailed? Yup. Another interesting fact I learned from the Philadelphia Zoo representatives, they flex and fluff out their feathers when they spot something unfamiliar, suspecting a predator they make themselves look bigger than life.
Snakes although intriguing are not creatures I prefer to see up close and personal but I love the fall camouflage colors this snake is sporting. I am going out on a limb here in saying, this reptile is attractive....at a distance. The markings look like artwork. Something, I heard the zoo representative mention, it is unusual to find one of those big thick snakes out in the wild in this area. Comforting? Does size matter when it comes to snakes?
Can you identify these animal pelts? It was one of the activities children were invited to participate in to have their passport stamped. Rabbit, beaver, fox and deer.
This peregrine falcon caught my eye, as you can see, we actually locked in with eye to eye contact. I loved the fancy pajama pants design on this feathered creature's legs. Check out the talons, I would venture to say they were ready to lock in on anything threatening or perhaps edible.
This would also be my first Harris Hawk sighting and a very special treat. There are only 7 licensed hawk owners in the state of Pennsylvania and Heinz was lucky enough to have him onsite for the festival. On a quiz, I would have gotten this one wrong. I thought it was a falcon.
Philadelphia Trolley Works provided transportation and a tour of the refuge which may not be accessible or an easy hike for everyone. I have taken such a tour in the past and it provides a good background into how this very special place in Delaware County came into existence. The bird, butterfly and plant walks are great too. They were available for the festival but are also offered seasonally throughout the year. Check the FOHR (Friends of Heinz Refuge) website and Facebook page for updated information.
As the band sang in the background, rollin on the river, participants lined up to board a kayak and feel the flow of the Darby Creek. L.L. Bean.com/adventure seemed to provide all the gear.
There were so many more activities going on inside and out with booths set up to view and obtain additional information. There were also traces of the ongoing work that goes on behind the scenes to make this such a treat to visit and its free. Since I have last visited I have noticed many improvements.
I like what they have done with the place, it's au naturale and those autumn colors are just starting to pop. Even on a regular day at Heinz National Wildlife Refuge you can find a treasure trove of sights, sounds, and smells to ignite the senses. Always a pleasant surprise.