Monday, March 10, 2008

Life is budding everywhere... beware lots of pictures.

One of the wonderful things of homeschooling, is that you have the time to research things, much more indepth than you would if you had 35 kids to follow. With only the three (and technically only two because Logan is just along for the ride at this point) I don't just have time to talk to them about owl babies. I have the time to take them to Nisqually Valley Refuge and watch the fledgling Great Horned owls, sitting in the trees,

watched closely by their mama, jumping from branch to branch, stretching their wings. All from only a few hundred feet away. (This is one of those moments when I REALLY want a better camera.) Here was some of what we read as prep for this trip.

After we had watched the owls for a while, (it took that long for some of us to see them. Camoflage is an amazing thing.) we walked around the refuge and saw the rest of what the wetland forest world has to offer during this time of rebirth.

You could see the life budding everywhere. From the bracken ferns on the trunks of all the trees,

to the musrat, building her nesting home, to the ducks;

A mating pair of Malards.

Some other kind of duck. I think it is a variety of wood duck.

After a while, we wandered on from the wooded wetland area to the more open wetlands. There is a look out, about 500 yards away from where the owls are, looking over the whole wetlands. We saw thousands of geese, a handful of ducks, and a beautiful red tailed hawk. He was SO close to me, soaring under the platform I was on, but I missed him with my camera until he was farther away. It was one of those breathtaking moments, where you are almost not sorry you missed it on camera, because there is no way film would catch how stunning it was to be standing right next to a soaring raptor. It was amazing!

Yet another wonderful homeschooling moment. No matter what days off my husband is given, we are always ready to go on an outing with him. We can always "do school" on the days when he is not home. That makes our weeks flow by so much nicer than when we had one set of days, and he had another. We have a lot more family together time.

Poor Cyan. Soon after we left the hawk, got a lesson in 'why we stay on the path'. She stumbled off the pathway, and landed with her left hand in stinging nettles. This tragedy (becuase they REALLY hurt for a while) along with the fact that it was the coldest day we had had in weeks, sent us home a bit ahead of schedule.

We were on the way back to the car, dh, Cyan, and Logan up ahead, and Alex and I laging behind. And out of the corner of my eye I saw this:

A Great Blue Heron, about 25 ft away from the path. She (I honestly don't know the gender, but...) was watching us pass. Barely moving, just watching intently, ready to move if we got too close, but obviously used to humans in close quarters. If not trusting, and still very wild.

And oh so beautiful!



Unknown said...

WOW! What a fabulous day! Sorry about the stinging nettles incident. They do smart! Great photos!

Katie said...

What beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!!

radicalshift said...

that really looks like fun. huge learning experience as well. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks for the comments!!

I love that place. It is so much a part of where we live and what we see around here. I like the valley and NW Trek much better than the zoo. The animals there are animals that we would see in the wild right around our home. These animals are the ones we are fighting to protect when we say not to throw litter out the window of the car. It is an easy lesson to grasp when you have just watched a Great Blue Heron walking next to the path, seen it's long neck that could get caught in all amts of trash that humans put out, and watch it, as it watches you.


Brie said...

I don't think we've ever run into stinging nettles...I'll have to look and see if we have them near us(Houston).
Beautiful outing=)

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