• Melanie Patric

A Gorgeous Nature Walk With an Interesting Twist...


Our day started somewhat gloomy, but after our morning routine was finished, the sun had begun to peep out from between the clouds and we headed out for a nature walk.

We had barely left the neighborhood when we spotted a rabbit munching away at some grass. The children crept as close as they could before the rabbit darted into the underbrush. It was so interesting to watch the rabbit's nose wiggle as it chewed stalks of grass!

Next the children pointed out some beautiful orange tiger lilies growing a few feet off the path. They were so lovely and they almost glowed against the surrounding greenery.

We checked the blackberry stands and noted that the berries were red now. Less than a month ago they were still green. We wondered if the rabbit would eat some of the berries.

We saw some neat flowers with green sacs. We looked them up in a wildflower guide after we got home and found out they were Evening Lychnis flowers. It's very interesting to try to match up pictures to real specimens, and just as much fun to peruse the book to find the fanciest flowers.

We also identified these Nodding Thistles. They're colorful but we certainly wouldn't want to pick them. They are far too prickly!

Suddenly, our eyes caught movement in a tree, and we spotted a large Red-Tailed hawk in a tree. It wasn't until inspection of the photograph that we saw that the hawk had a wing tag. This led to a very interesting discovery. With some help from a birdwatching friend, we found out that this particular hawk was part of an avian relocation effort, and that several species of birds were being transported away from the area around O'Hare airport to prevent aircraft from striking and injuring (or killing) the birds. You can read more about this effort here. One of the wildlife biologists heading this project shared that this hawk was relocated in 2011 to a state park in Jo Davies County. It's had quite a journey and is clearly a survivor, and we were very lucky to see it!

Further along the path we also saw butterflies...

... some interesting tree bark...

... and some cormorants. We waited for the cormorants to dive for their meal, but they were too busy watching us. I talked with the children about the last time we saw cormorants- one was swimming in the water because it had caught something to eat.

The path back home took us by some lovely yellow sunflowers...

... a very noisy Red-Winged blackbird...

... and a sparrow singing a lovely song.

It had just begun to sprinkle by the time we got home, and after all the walking we'd done, we were ready for a warm, hearty meal and some good rest. We had "breakfast for lunch" complete with eggs, whole wheat toast, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. It was so tasty!

Later in the day we had fun pretending to run our own gymnastics class. The children took turns acting out the role of secretary, teacher, and student. It was lots of fun and a very active game to boot.

See you tomorrow!

#naturewalks #nature #outdoorplay #earlyscience #grossmotorskills #movementactivities #blueskydaycare

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