On Lickinghole Creek, recently published by local author Albert Connette, offers children an engaging and informative introduction to the rewarding hobby of birdwatching. The Lickinghole Basin, a small dammed lake behind Western Ridge that is accessible from the Crozet Connector Trail, is considered by many the #1 birding hotspot in Albemarle County (www.crozetgazette.com/2020/09/04/birdwatching -at-the-basin).
Illustrated with accurate watercolors of the various bird species and water scenes by Dana Wheeles, this gentle book for young readers (about age 7 and up, or read to younger children) chronicles young Jeremy and Chloe’s visits to Lickinghole Creek with their Uncle Mark throughout the four seasons—in each of which they observe different birds during their migrations or seasonal home stays. As they learn to recognize the calls and appearance of woodpeckers, herons, sandpipers, warblers, and many more—even the Bald Eagle pair who have been nesting at the basin for several years—the children keep a bird list and earn their own pairs of binoculars as they aspire to become a top 100 birder at ebird.org, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science project (ebird.org/hotspot/L1397102) (Connette himself is currently #26).
The book imparts strong enthusiasm and appreciation for the variety of beautiful birds that can be observed right in our own backyard. They end each successful birding trip with a welcome breakfast at Crozet’s own Whistle Stop Café.
The book may be purchased at Bluebird Books in downtown Crozet (bluebirdcrozet.com), Batesville Market, or online at deerhawkhealing.com/shop/on-lickinghole-creek, where Ms. Wheeles will even deliver it to locals!