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19 August 2016

Back to Nature

We usually school year round, but this year we took a summer break. It's the first time we've done that, and it's been a good call for us this year. But we're starting the process of easing back into school; the kids hadn't noticed: I checked this morning. But we've got stuff going on more and more of the time. Today, the thing we put back was Nature Study. Between our irregular schedule, and our nature buddies' irregular schedule, it's been hit and miss all summer. I think the park was excited to have us back; it was a really eventful day!

First, we saw these beautiful flowers. I'm still working on identifying them.

Then we found this fuzzy little guy. He was fast, and when we scooped him up on a stick so that he wouldn't be gone before the kids could see him, he curled up into a fuzzy ball. 

One of the boys found this bit of snakeskin. The park has a whole bunch of little snakes, and in winter they all come hybernate in the nature center's walls. So we occasionally see evidence of snakes at the park.

But as exciting as the bit of snake skin was, watching a snake eat a frog was even more exciting. 

I noticed them because the frog, not enjoying the process, was squeaking. The snake wasn't very happy that we were watching, but didn't seem able to leave until he had the frog all the way in his mouth. 

It was pretty hot and muggy outside, so we didn't last super long. We headed to the nature center to spy on the birds, and saw this juvenile Grossbeak, and there was also a juvenile Downey Woodpecker, in addition to the usual assortment of birds at the feeder. Lots of Nuthatches this time. 

Then there was this cute little guy. The nature center is a little bit earth-sheltered, so the windows by the feeders are at ground level, which gave us a great view of the antics of the chipmunk that was digging around in the mulch right at our eye level. He was hilarious. His face was all pouched out, and then he'd stare at us: "You better not be after my seeds." Then he'd dive through the mulch, come back up and stare at us suspiciously again. He was super cute.

Not too shabby for a little under an hour at the park!

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