When the girls and I visited the pond at the university nature preserve earlier this week, a man was wading in the water, picking up trash. A woman was helping him, pointing out things from the bridge. He was a teacher there, and he picked up some of the critters in the water and held them out for the girls to see and touch. I passed on touching the snake, but he pointed out that it had been bitten by something — probably a snapping…Continue Reading “Pond-erings”

Cornell has a second nest-cam up, this one of a great blue heron nest that’s viewable from their building. It’s incredible that such a large, gangly bird starts as such a tiny egg! I can’t believe what we’ve been able to observe. We visited Sapsucker Woods a few years ago. I can see another field trip this spring will be a necessity. Between the hawks and the herons, they have too much going on in our fields of interest to resist.

We went for a walk at our favorite wetland preserve to see what we could see on this first day of spring — at least, according to the calendar. I guess it depends on your preferred source of authority. Punxsutawney Phil says spring won’t be here for awhile yet. But me, I tend to believe the robins. In any case, the great blue herons were on their way back. We saw two of them. One munching muskrat was enjoying a floating lunch. There were tadpoles…Continue Reading “First day of spring”

The girls and I took a walk in the snow the other day. Now I have shots of this path, which my youngest calls the tree tunnel, in three of the four seasons. Spring: Fall: Winter: Lovely spot. I also saw more critters over the weekend — this muskrat, who couldn’t figure out what the beeping and clicking of my camera was: This tree with not one, but two, puffy red-tails sitting in it: These pics of two different hawks in the same general vicinity:…Continue Reading “Weekend sights”

Today promises to be rainy around here, but yesterday was sunny. We capitalized on it by taking two walks, each to a different preserve. The first was a marsh about 5 minutes from our house. It has a primeval feel, with moss-covered, fallen trees all around. It was cold, and the frost sparkled on everything, from winterberries — — to goldfinches (this one’s head has frost on it) — — to water — beautiful, blue ice — On the way there, we saw one of…Continue Reading “Making the most of the sun”

We went to the beaver pond to investigate the beaver-gnawed tree we’ve been observing and found it felled. At several points they have already removed branches and carried them away, and they’ve begun on another tree to the far left in the photo. They’ve also thickened the mud on the lodge. It’s sight I’d love to see: a beaver carefully smoothing on the mud. Maybe someday. On our way out I was delighted to see sprays of color. Can it be forsythia — in December?…Continue Reading “Wetland walk”

We’ve been observing the beaver activity at a nearby wetland lately. Their lodge is not too far out on the pond, surrounded by water. In the summer we would see turtles sunning themselves on the logs, and occasionally a kingfisher perched on top. But these days it’s grayish brown and very quiet. Of the beavers themselves, we’ve seen precious little. Mostly they look like a zipper, unzipping the surface of the water — far away. The other night we saw this guy swim over to…Continue Reading “A bit about beavers”

Last night, we visited the wetland we so enjoyed during the summer. The flood in September curtailed our visits for awhile; we went in maybe a week after the flood, and it was depressingly lacking in the wildlife we’d seen over the summer. We hoped to see more activity after two months of recovery time. There is a beaver house in the pond. It’s highlighted in this photo — off to the right. We saw several of the beavers at work in the water last…Continue Reading “Beavers and other matters”

We’re into herons around here this week. We saw no less than 6 of them at a nearby pond we visited the other day, and it sparked enough interest to read every word of this book by Bill Ivy, one of a series the girls are in the habit of selecting from every week. Because of the opportunities we’ve had to observe herons, we found this book to be interesting, though it’s pure nonfiction. It even gave me something to look forward to about the…Continue Reading “Read-Aloud Thursday: Herons”