Our outings are more meaningful when we know that our data will be used to help the scientific community better understand our world.
|Interesting galls on the Oak leaves|
|Young Cattails along the creek bank|
We also observed some young cattails growing near the creek. The kids were quick to remark on them, pointing them out to our new friends. They shared some of the things we had learned about cattails in the past – Cattails Part 1 and Cattails Part 2. I am continually amazed at what they remember!
Our new Roots & Shoots group meets on the first Friday of each month. Our leader, Karen, picks the trail and/or location. I love that she is an avid birder and that I am learning as much as the kiddos. This past week, we went for a walk along the river … a trail in which we are very familiar … and she pointed out the Bald Eagle nest to us.
|Bald Eagle sitting on her nest|
Fortunately, the female (we assume) was present and sitting upon her brood. Though I do not have a great camera, if you click upon the image to enlarge it, you can see her head just above her nest. We spent quite a bit of time observing the eagle and watching the other birds in the area. We came up with quite an extensive list:
- 3 Double-crested Cormorants
- 1 Blue Heron
- 20 Canada Geese
- 1 Gadwall
- 2 Common Mergansers
- 2 Canvasbacks
- 12 Buffleheads
- at least 10 Mallards
- 1 Ring-necked Duck
- a possible Black Scoter
- 3 Turkey Vultures
- 6 killdeer
- 1 Mourning Dove
- 25 Coots
- about 200 gulls
- 1 Anna’s Hummingbird
- 1 Northern Flicker
- about 3 Western Scrubjays
- 3 Oak Titmice
- at least 5 bushtits
- 1 Bewick’s Wren
- 2 American Robins
- 1 House Finch.
|Pinipevine (the plant on which the Pipevine Swallowtail we observed in Aug lays its eggs)|
|Sadly, this tree has been girdled by deer and will likely die|
|Cliff Swallow nests|
The munchkins haven’t yet illustrated their observations in their journals. I am curious what they will select. Along the walk, however, I collected several twig samples for a twig study I hope to accomplish in the next few days.
We met our Roots & Shoots group this morning for our monthly outing. First, I should clarify, that since we have moved we are now involved with a new group and the nature walks are led by someone other than myself. Our leader, Karen, is very knowledgeable (particularly about birds) and it is such a delight for me to be a participant rather than the the facilitator. Being new to the area, it is also a blessing because she knows the area much more so than I. She has been able to take us to places with secrets known to very few.
Today was one of those days whereby secrets were revealed. She shared with us a location in the area of Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (that is as much as I’m willing to divulge for she stated that some collectors, if they knew the location, would come and scoop them up to sell).
Most coccinellids overwinter as adults, aggregating on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months, dispersing in response to increasing day length in the spring. We observed them all around the pine tree pictured above, not just on the south side. On the forest floor, there were literally millions of ladybugs aggregating under the leaf litter. One had to be careful when taking a step.
Our next step is to journal our discovery in our nature journals. I’ll be sure to share our entries soon. Undoubtedly, however, this is one outing we will never forget. 🙂
Our Roots & Shoots group gathered recently at Clover Creek Preserve for a nature outing. Prior to arrival, I was a little hesitant upon reading an online review of the area, “My house is nearby and before this area became a preserve, it was a lush green area filled with wild flowers, plants, and trees. There were a myriad of unpaved, forged trails that ran through this area of wilderness. I moved away for a year and then came back only to find that every tree on the 128-acre space was knocked down,
every hill was leveled, and a man-made lake was put in.”
Upon first look, it was clearly a recent ‘development’ as there were no mature trees. The small lake in the center of the preserve, however, does have a number of water-loving plants (Aspens, if I recall) along the perimeter. A number of birds could be seen floating on the water surface from a distance so we happily proceeded forth, curious as to what species we might observe.
Our leader – a welcome change for me – and another mom in attendance are avid birders so our focus soon became apparent and I began to record the species we were able to identify.
As a novice bird watcher, I was quite impressed with what we observed in just a two hour outing. Upon our return home, I asked each of the kids to select one of the birds from the list and to sketch it in their journals.