By Mary Reid Barrow
A handsome catbird slinked up to my suet feeder in the fig tree and now I know all’s right with the spring migration.
Oh, Happy Earth Day, I thought.
Catbirds represent the last of my avian expectations for spring, and it’s nice to celebrate Earth Day today, also feeling that all can be right with the world too, even if only for one day.
It’s especially nice to know on this 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, knowing we also are celebrating LRNow’s 20th at the oyster roast tomorrow.
Don’t get me wrong. Plenty is still wrong with the way we treat the plants and animals that make our world go round. But this Earth Day, I just want to be happy with what we’ve done and what we have here in Virginia Beach and to celebrate that.
I counted just a few of our many lucky blessings today, beginning with our special population of diamondback terrapins at Pleasure House Point that I wrote about last week and the tiny hatchlings emerging right now.
I also love our busy, noisy ospreys that nest in plain sight for all to see on tree snags and pines along 64th Street and the trail to the Narrows at First Landing State Park. Photographer Robert Brown, who has kept tabs on ospreys in that area for many years said he has counted almost 30 nests in that period.
We can watch brown pelicans diving off our beaches, and see bald eagle nests all over our city. These two species, along with the ospreys, were on the way out 50 years ago because of the ravages of DDT.
Years ago, learned about a wonderful clan of northern water snakes that often feed and swim under the bridge in Beach Garden Park, thanks to Robert Brown’s observant eyes. They are a treat to see and I cannot imagine a better place than Beach Garden Park to safely snake watch in VB.
And for one of the greatest insects shows in town, go no further than the Virginia Beach Middle School Butterfly Garden on a hot summer day! And you also might see Robert Brown (Robert Brown again!) , among other volunteers, weeding the garden.
We have delicious Lynnhaven oysters returning to Virginia Beach dinner tables and oyster roasts once again, thanks to the efforts of LRNow and all its partners. Once famous worldwide for its oysters, the Lynnhaven River was so polluted in the 1990s that it was illegal to harvest shellfish.
We still can walk under, and our children can climb magnificent live oaks and we have Spanish moss swaying in the breeze. These are two species that don’t grow much further north in the USA than our city.
We have the beautiful North Landing River where more rare species live, than in any other spot east of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
We not only have the North Landing and Lynnhaven rivers at our back door, but we also have the Atlantic Ocean and theChesapeake Bay at our front door. And we have so many dedicated people and organizations, such as our own LRNow and its very dedicated staff, who work so hard protect these things we love.
We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but just for today and tomorrow, let’s celebrate the Earth and let’s celebrate LRNow.
The protectors—thank you all– will be back at work Monday and so will we all, I hope.
Happy Earth Day!
Please let me know about special Virginia Beach places that you treasure for its plants, animals, or birds and bees! It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.