Some days just turn out to be all about nature, and today was one of them. Right from the start, we spotted a pretty red-dipped bird while we were doing our weather routine. We brought the bird book out and looked for a bird that matched. We decided it was a House Sparrow. We were also entranced by the big flock of Dark-Eyed Juncos that flew tantalizingly close to the house- right into the bushes by the big front windows.
After our morning routines, we decided that today was the perfect day to do a nature walk. Our first order of business was to fix our poor snowman's head- it had fallen off! It took some engineering, but we succeeded.
On our way to "the woods," we looked for interesting things in the trees. This is the perfect time of year to look for nests. As it happened, we found several! We took some time to talk about what kind of birds or other animals might have built these nests. Some of us thought the one below was built by "a pinkish-purplish-reddish bird with yellow." Perhaps!
Powering up the big hill to get to the woods was tough, but the intrepid travelers were up to the challenge.
Another true pleasure for the children is looking for animal tracks. There were plenty of tracks on the path we used. The tracks we saw were equl parts human and animal. We guessed at what kinds of animals were leaving tracks.
We guessed that some were squirrels, some were maybe cats, the ones with people were dogs, and there were definitely bird, rabbit, and mouse tracks. So much activity for one path!
Taking walks with little people gives adults a chance to slow down an appreciate beauty in its many forms. We found a feather nestled in the leaves and snow, and it looked very lovely with the way the light was hitting it. As tempting as it was to pick it up and bring it with us, we decided it was better to leave the feather there so that a little squirrel could use it to make its nest cozy and warm.
We explored the nearby field and marsh area. Some of us were brave and ventured far away...
While some of us were enthused about little treasures.
We all loved waving stalks of pampas grass with feathery ends.
We went to check on a special spot that we use to enter the woods, and the same old rock was there. The kids noticed that the rock seemed to have little green plants growing on it, and I explained that lichen (which is only partly a plant) stays alive all winter like evergreen trees.
On the way back home, we saw bright red rose hips hanging from the brambles of a wild rose bush. They looked so yummy and...RED that the children asked if we could eat them. I explained that while people do use rose hips for things like tea, it was nicer to leave them for the wild animals to help them survive during the winter.
We also noticed some milkweed pods with the fluffy seeds just beginning to emerge. The children had fun taking few seeds and blowing them away.
While we ate lunch, we noticed a hawk sitting outside on a branch.
Shortly after that, we saw the bright red cardinal... hopefully the cardinal decided to stay well hidden and didn't become lunch for the hawk!
After naps, we all enjoyed snuggling up with pillows and blankets and listening to lots of stories. We read our entire collection of January books. It was the perfect end to a very adventurous day!