Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nature Walk/Ride

On Sunday, we decided to get out of the house and ride up to the nearest little "town" and go for a little walk at a park we drive by all the time but have never stopped at (I guess it's a town-it has a population of 1302).  Half way there, we spotted this guy on the side of the road. 
See, we play this game to pass the long hours in the car.  We try to spot hawks and eagles and get points for finding them based on whether they're flying or perched.  It was much easier to rack up points in winter with bare trees.  Anyway, it helps to pass the time and keeps the siblings from bickering so much.

Dad spotted this guy sitting on a fence post and pulled over so I could get some pictures.  He didn't really like it when I tried to get a little closer.

As I was getting back into the car, we spotted a couple of these little guys in the grass.

We know a lot about backyard birds, but we had no idea what they were.

We got out our trusty bird book when we got home and found out that they are Killdeer.  We also learned that Killdeer have a unique way of distracting predators.  When it feels that its nest is threatened, the adult will pretend to be injured, stumbling along the ground while dragging one of its wings.  When the potential attacker is lured away from the nest, the Killdeer suddenly flies off.  Sorry for the science lesson, I just thought that was really cool.

Soon after we got to the park, we discovered this great, big interesting tree stump.  

I told the kids to climb on top of it so I could take their pictures.  Neither would budge.  They said it has a BIG hole in it that would be a PERFECT home for SOMETHING!

Thinking back, I guess they did have a point.  Dad got a closer look just to be safe.

What he pulled out made my skin shiver.

Reece was thrilled though!

See, he's been a little obsessed with snakes lately.  He has two huge books about snakes and he's read them both cover to cover, several times.  He knows more about snakes than anybody I know.

After Dad checked it out and assured them that whatever was in there is long, gone now, they finally got up on the stump.

It did not surprised me that Ms. fearless was first.

This park has a nice walking trail around a big pond, lots of green grass, tall trees, birds, bugs, and an old, haunted stone building (more about that later).

Here are some of the things we saw:

Reece insisted that I take a picture of this dead tree.  He thought it was interesting and picture worthy.  Who am I to argue?

We have millions of these at home, but this one captured their attention.

Then we came upon the "haunted stone building".

I don't know how he does it, but Dad can always come up with a story, especially scary ones!

He is trying to convince them that we need to come back after dark and go on a spooky hike.  Surprisingly, the kids agree that a scary hike would be lots of fun.

We got closer to the pond again and saw a crazy looking bird/duck?

and some beautiful purple flowers

We were almost back to the car when we heard, "Let's turn around and do it again!"

Ok, one more time.

Back by the spooky house again.

"Let's race up the hill" says the big one.

The sun was just starting to set and everything had a magical glow about it.

We saw the crazy bird/duck again flying over the pond.

I'd never seen a bird like this.  He had a mo-hawk and long legs with webbed feet.

Of course, we looked it up when we got home and discovered that he was a Green Heron.

Just as we were leaving, my little one spotted this guy in the rocks.

This is a Male Northern Prairie Skink.  How do I know, you ask?  The orange glow on his face means that it's mating season.

I won't even get into why his tail is gone.

Quality family time and two hours of science (and they didn't even know it)!  Gotta love that.

1 comment:

  1. I love these. The story that goes allong with the photos are always so interesting.