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26 April 2013

Nature in the Neighborhood

It's the first week of Nature in the Neighborhood, and I'm so excited about it! I'm also more than a little nervous... what if nobody comes to play?? I guess that's the way it goes when you try to start a blog party. But first, the nature we enjoyed this week!

Fierce little cuties, aren't they!

It's been an unusually good week for us. We had some nature study at home, when we watched the Red-tail Hawk cam. We saw some eggs hatch and nestling behavior, and I also got to watch the adults protect the nestlings from a rain storm. (The boys happened to be watching Superman cartoons at the time, and hawks in rain couldn't compete.) The Great Blue Herons have 5 eggs now, which has been fun. Seems like every time we go check the camera, if we see eggs there's been one more. I've been taking an interest in their nest building. It looks so haphazard... they bring in a stick and set it down somewhere, stab a bit with their beak, and then sit down. But gradually a bowl shaped depression has sort of... happened. Birds are amazing.

So that's been our indoor nature study. This is, I believe, the third year we've been watching the nest cams, and I've come to really enjoy it.

As for our outside nature study, we returned to the park for our 2nd week of our Pond Study. (The first week is here.) That was lots of fun too. At first, the boys had eyes only for the big rocks and long sticks. And what's not to love about a rocks and sticks?!

After a while we headed over closer to the water. First thing we saw was a couple of male mallards. I don't know where the females are; we wondered if they're hiding on nests somewhere close. But we enjoyed seeing the males.

Our pond is a little flooded right now, but when I asked a couple leading questions it was clear that Hero didn't realize it. So we looked closely at a tree that's at the edge of the flooded area, and we'll look closely again next week and maybe the week after. Hopefully, he'll notice without me telling him. I'm not sure that he actually knows what "flooded" means, not really, so it's not surprising that he didn't think anything of it.
We checked out some seed pods. I don't know what they are. But they were not nearly so pokey as they look. Not soft, exactly, but definitely not sharp. I was surprised. I'm wondering if they're thistle, but the dried up stalks of the plants are not enough for me to be able to try to make an identification.
It was about this point that my little water-baby discovered that the grass is saturated and splashes. Last week I got Dragon some lovely yellow rain boots, but they had been all out of Hero's size at our local store. We'd made a special trip to find him rain boots the day before, and now I was really glad we'd done so.
Pretty soon Hero got in on the action as well.
They put those rain boots to good use.

It wasn't terribly warm; I think it was about 40F. So I warned them that once they got wet we were leaving. I was pleasantly surprised at how little trouble there was over staying on the edges. I was consistently helping the little guy figure out where the boundaries were, but once he knew, each time I called him back he came with very little fuss. He's growing up. The big guy, once he knew how far I was comfortable with, stayed in that area, splashing around. He told me today that stomping the water and throwing rocks in it were his favorite parts of the trip. I'm not surprised! I recently got him a sketch book and started asking him to draw something -anything that grows, rather than is built- in his book. This is what he did this week. That's Hero, standing in the pond (the rectangle behind him), wearing his boots. I just love it.

Altogether, a very successful trip to the pond.

What about you? Did you get out in nature this week? Did you watch a nest cam? Did you plan something? Got a tip to share? This is a come-as-you-are party; no need for perfection! Show us what you did and we'll inspire each other! Want a reminder about Nature in the Neighborhood in the future? Like Baby Steps Blog on facebook.

1 comment:

angelicscalliwags said...

Thanks for popping by my blog and thanks for hosting. Love anything to do with nature!


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