Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Urban Nature Study

I copied this post from my homeschool blog... for those who don't read it ;)

Sometimes you don’t have to go too far to do nature study… and this was never more apparent than this past weekend for us here.

A trip to the local bookstore has often netted us a glimpse of the beaver that lives in the nearby pond.
This weekend, we got up close and personal with a heron!

The pond is not particularly wild. It has been filled with fish (giant fish) who are fed by the locals particularly those who eat in the nearby Panera Bread restaurant. A family of Canada Geese has been living there in the last few months, raising goslings. A mallard drake has started to hang out there too.
The heron is an old visitor... he has been coming for a few years now... at least since the place was built! You can often see him perched at different spots in the pond, or occasionally on the wall surrounding it.

On Saturday though, he was perched right next to the fence... and he did not fly away when crowds of people gathered around to watch him catch his dinner.
He stood there patiently watching the water. Helpful passers by threw some bread to him, but he didn't care for it. They continued, however, when they realised that the fish did care for it, and the heron cared for the fish.

It is an unfortunate thing for the heron, that the vast marjority of fish in the pond are too big for him to capture. But he waited patiently for the opportunity to get a smaller one... occasionally washing his bill, once or twice diving his head underneath the water, but missing. Truth be told, it was often because the thing he was diving after turned out to be bread... which he spat out.
After a while, he did in fact catch a fish... much to the delight of the crowd... who then groaned in disappointment as he dropped it back into the water. I am sure the fish was relieved though!
I snapped some photos of him... not with his catch, I wasn't that fast! I also managed to get a soundless video using my digital camera!!

But that is not all.
Urban nature study can happen anywhere, anytime.
I love to watch it in my garden. We're more suburban than urban, but still... the point is the same!
This week netted a glimpse of a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly, a couple of sulphur butterflies, and a blue butterfly or two. This is one DS caught the other day in the back garden.

Numerous birds and squirrels hang out at the bird feeder, and it was much to the amusement of the children, when a squirrel jumped up onto the windowsill and peered in the window at us! He did the same trick several times... obviously curious about us all!
Then of course there is the garden. A few 4'x4' squares have been turned into vegetable gardens... I have some tomatoes and beans ripening... and I managed to harvest a number of herbs and some lettuce for my dinner yesterday!

After dinner, we often take the time for a walk... since Mondays are library day, we walk around the town where we go to the library.
We have often seen the squirrels playing here, and both Sunday and Monday gave us a glimpse of the local bunny population.

But... that's not all. In this small town, where we were walking down the street... a deer bounded across the road and into one of the gardens. All DH saw was the white tail flicking, and the car down the street breaking, and it disappeared into the undergrowth of the garden. We never saw a thing even though the deer had nowhere else to go!

My point is this:
Even if you do not live in the country... but perhaps in a town or city... there is plenty of nature for you to study!
(and perhaps even a train or two!!)

Happy Nature Hunting!

1 comment:

Leonie said...

Gorgeous pics - thanks for sharing! We live in a big city
(6.5 million people) and still find nature everywhere - you are so right about urban nature study..