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Bird hikes a prime way to enjoy nature

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

The first few signs of fall are appearing in Western Pennsylvania, but many of the area's bird species already are well on their way to Central and South America.

This time of year provides an opportunity to see many other species not commonly spotted in this area as they pass through on their way to their winter homes, said Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania development associate Chris Kubiak. To learn more about the transitioning birds and see them in nature, the Audubon Society sponsors free naturalist-led hikes at both Todd Nature Reserve in Sarver and Succop Conservancy in Butler.

“In a lot of ways we see seasons as four distinct entities, but when you get involved in nature, you start to see a lot of different subtleties,” Kubiak said. “From a birding standpoint, this is a wonderful time to start to see the change in seasons through migration.”

Upcoming hikes, which begin at 9 a.m., will be held on Friday at Todd Nature Reserve and a 9 a.m. hike at Succop Conservancy on Thursday.

There also will be a full moon hike at the conservancy on Thursday beginning at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $6 for society members, $10 for non-members. More information and registration can be found via the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania's web site.

Anyone interested can register via the website or by calling the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania at 412-963-6761. Kubiak said people also are welcome to simply show up.

Venture Outdoors' September trips include a Oktoberfest beer tasting hike and a stargazing paddle. Venture Outdoors will lead a three-quarter-mile hike around Jennings Environmental Center near Moraine State Park before heading to North Country Brewing Co. in Slippery Rock for a beer tasting on Sept. 22. The minimum age is 21, and the price ($47 for nonmembers, $35 for members) includes a growler of beer.

For those with previous kayaking experience, the group will take paddlers out for an evening on Lake Arthur under the new moon on Oct. 4, for a unique star-gazing experience. The minimum age is 12, with a cost of $33 for nonmembers and $25 for members. As the kayaking season winds down, some of the final instructional beginner paddles on Lake Arthur will take place on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12.

Moraine bike rental opportunities are now limited to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through October.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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