Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Hour Challenge #1 & #2

Barb over at The Heart of Harmony has started a weekly Green Hour challenge. Since I missed last week's challenge, I decided to combine challenge #1 & #2 so I can feel caught up.
We spent over 2 hours today with some friends at our local park that has a "duck" pond and some hiking trails. I was so glad I brought my camera with the zoom lens today and finally got some great shots of the nutria.

For assignment #1, we were to choose 2 things we'd seen on our walk to investigate further. We are planning on investigating nutria and leaf buds.

For assignment #2, we were to use some descriptive words to describe some of the things we heard (1 word), saw (2 words), and felt (3 words). She also wanted to add a 4th category - 4 words about something you tasted (our snacks).
Here's Alexandra's list:
  • quacking; laughter; flapping
  • children playing; nutria swimming; ducks paddling; pigeons flying
  • rough, hard bark; soft, dirty sand; yummy, salty pretzles
  • yummy, salty, crunchy pretzles; golden, crunchy Oreo cookies; soft, chewy Walmart strawberries
We also "should" do a nature journal page. I'm not sure if we'll get to it or not, but we'll try!
Now, for the photos:

An incredibly cool duck I've only seen once before... 2 days ago at the pond near our neighborhood about a mile from this park - both times there were 2 ducks and I'm wondering if they are the same pair. I'd LOVE to identify this duck!!! It even had dark green under its wings. And, I love the eye rings!
Yeah! Finally some good shots of the nutria. How do you like those huge orange teeth? And, today, these were coming right up close to us - within a foot or so!
The first baby we've ever seen. Much cuter than his folks and about 1/3rd the size.
Notice the long finger nails on his front arms and the webbed hind feet.
One of the moms pointed out his ears - can he close them when he dives?

One of the tunnel entrances to one of their dens. (Do you call it a den?) I wish I would have been more patient and taken another shot - this one didn't turn out very good.

I also finally got a photo of a hawk flying. I'll try to enlarge it later, but you can probably click on it.
These buds (leaf buds?) were pretty large - maybe over an inch long? They were high up in the tree and none of them were within our reach. One of the other moms then noticed some baby leaves emerging from some of the buds. We couldn't even tell they were leaves without my zoom lens. I was trying to figure out what kind of tree it was - I wish I knew more about tree identification! - and then I noticed a few sweetgums still hanging around...

I also saw quite a few tadpoles in some water by a drain. I was going to tell the kids, but when I looked up, they were WAY ahead of me. So, I didn't even stop to take a photo, but hurried to catch up.
The other big event of the afternoon - the kids were playing on a dirt hill (LOTS of fun!!!) and I was talking to one of the moms. All of a sudden, we heard screaming and looked up and saw a masked man running towards us, but then he turned and ran away from us. I screamed and almost grabbed the other lady. Then, we both laughed about it. We weren't sure what had happened.

A couple came up to us and told us these 2 guys had been going around hiding and trying to scare people - one of them had a video camera. So, who knows? You might see me screaming on tv one day! (BTW, it really wasn't that scary - we were more startled. But, I'm glad the children weren't very near us and they didn't even know what had happened.)


live4evermom said...

I love your post. I should have my second Green Hour Challenge post done tomorrow.

Tina said...

Wonderful post! Great pictures.

I didn't even know what a nutria was. And I didn't think those were teeth. I thought he was eating something. Amazing.


Robin said...

LOVE the pictures, Dana!
And, like Tina, I thought the Nutria was eating some of your crunchy, salty pretzels.........LOL!

Anonymous said...

At first I thought that was a baby beaver, I too wasn't familiar with the Nutria. Now we have something to look up and investigate today! Sounds like a great nature walk full of beauty. And how scary about that "masked man"! Sounds like one of those silly "Candid Camera" type shows (I personally can't stand those)!lol

Happy Nature Adventuring,


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Hi Dana,

I am so glad you are joining us for the Green Hour assignments. I loved seeing the nutria too...a new to us mammal to read about. Orange teeth?

I loved all the photos and your daughter's words were great. You earned extra credit for four words for something you tasted....didn't want to encourage that sense yet. :)

Thanks for linking.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Lori Carr said...

Great photos!


Rhonda said...

Great photos as always. Nutria's teeth...scary. I love the pics of the new spring buds on the tree. Hurry up spring!

Makita said...

Wonderful! Your photos are great! I've only seen nutria from a distance... cool that you saw a tunnel to what I would call a den, as well. :)

Artisan Treehouse said...

The tree is an Aesculus - either an Ohio Buckeye or a Horse Chestnut. Lots of big (usually white) flowers in the spring.

No idea what that duck is though...

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