This week a challenge was issued at Heavy Metal Science Club to go bird watching and bring back photos of as many different native species as one could find in natural habitats (no caged birds or zoos). The challenge is called Heavy Metal Science Club's Ornithological Photo Scavenger Hunt of Death, of course. The "of Death" part is necessary for the heavy metal portion of Heavy Metal Science Club. So I decided to take the kids over to Shaker Lakes to see if we could spot any birds.
First we went inside the nature center to see if the bird feeders had anything lingering about. The kids explored this log while I peered out the windows.
The windows made it difficult to see any birds as late in the evening there didn't seem to be too many about. So we went outside and found some Mourning Doves feeding. I always thought they were Morning Doves. Don't know why.
There was also a Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Then off to the stream where Aleks grabbed a stick and immediately started trying to fish, as is his usual m.o. This time, I managed to explain that you need more than just a stick. He wanted to try a root, which also didn't work at catching or even enticing any fish.
Someone had laid a plank across the stream, which Bastian cautiously tried to cross. It was a little rocky.
He opted to drop to all fours to avoid shaking too much.
Then both boys ventured down the stream to try to catch fish. They didn't catch any.
We saw a Mallard Duck couple. Did you know that the mallard is the ancestor of nearly all domestic breeds? Bet you didn't.
Bastian and I spot these weird red things growing off these leaves. I think they must be eggs of some sort, but I couldn't find them online.
If anyone has any idea, or knows better search terms to use (I tried several), please let me know!
I found a Cardinal.
And what I think is a Gray Catbird. Evidently they make a "mew"ing sound.
There's a Robin perched in a tree.
We made our way to where the lean-tos are and discovered a new one since our last visit.
Aleks tried adding to the construction a bit. Bastian spent some time taking it apart.
On the way back towards the parking lot, I spotted a Grackle...
While the boys played a game of hide and seek behind several large trees.
Around and around they went, while I waited for more bird species that never came.
We made it to the marsh area and saw a deer in the reeds.
Bastian ran way off down the boardwalk. While I corralled him, Aleks found a caterpillar. Bastian ran in the opposite direction, down to where the boardwalk ends deep in the reeds while Aleks and I admired the caterpillar crawling on his arm.
I looked down towards Bastian to realize that he'd escaped into the reeds, trying to chase after the deer! Luckily, he came back without too much prodding and the doe didn't totally freak out.
I enticed him with Aleks' caterpillar, which he enjoyed.I spotted a Song Sparrow perched in the reeds too.
We headed back to the car, Aleks complaining all the while about keeping his caterpillar, which he named Billy. Eventually I agreed to taking Billy home with us, hoping that we could keep him alive at all.
We stopped at the other end of the park to get out to look for more birds when we saw a bunch of people crowded around the edge of the lake. They were just watching goslings, it turned out.
But then, off in the distance, I spotted the crowning achievement for Heavy Metal Science Club's Ornithological Photo Scavenger Hunt of Death - a Great Blue Heron! They're actually pretty prevalent in this area, but they're also sort of loners that are only seen at certain times of day, so you have to know where to look for 'em. Luckily, I knew where.
After we got home, Billy accidentally got squished somehow. Aleks cried and cried. He was so upset. I put Billy out of his misery and we buried him in the garden, wrapped in a leaf. We agreed to buy a caterpillar growing kit that will turn into butterflies. Aleks wanted to go out and get a new caterpillar right away, but I assured him they were not so easy to find. He was quite upset to lose a friend. He's wanted a pet for awhile now, though he doesn't always talk about it. We can't have one right now though. We'll have to visit the boys' chickens in Dayton. We're going there for Bastian's birthday, so they'll get to see them soon.