Early April Nature Walk

Inspired by this post, we watched videos of Horse Chestnut blooms unfolding on YouTube last week.  Unfortunately, the weather got nasty before we had a chance to find some horse chestnut trees and catkins around our area.  Today, we took advantage of the beautiful day to walk to the local cemetery and look for trees in bloom.  We were a little early for the horse chestnuts, although we saw some beautiful catkins.

We had picked plum blossoms and drawn pictures and “dissected” last week.  Lulu and Max enjoyed describing these in their nature journals when we got home, as well.

The maple trees were in few bloom.  We also saw owl pellets — spring is a good time to spot owl pellets, before the lawns have been mowed and all the garbage picked up out of the grass.  Max and Lulu discussed the time we dissected owl pellets, looking for enough parts to make an entire mouse skeleton.  Max really wanted to do that experiment again, but we convinced him that we still remembered well enough and could save a re-do for another time. (It was actually quite gross to have dead mouse hair floating around the yard!)

We heard first, then spotted, a Northern Flicker.  It wasn’t frightened of us at all, and we stood right beneath the tree and watched it tap and then eat insects.  We wanted to wait until it flew away so that the kids could see the flickering motion that gives the bird its name, but the tree must have been a good one.  The bird would not fly, even when Max and Lulu threw pine cones in the air near it.

Do you collect “mementos” of the spring?  What do you do to help your kids notice the little things around them?  Please leave me a comment!


Beautiful Sunday

Look what we spotted on the way home from our hiking trip last week.  Something very rare in desert Utah.  Look closely, and then I’ll tell you what they are.

Trees full of nesting blue herons!  What a wonderful sight.  Have a great Sunday!