Monday, September 08, 2014

New Places and New Season

My girls are growing up!
I also have another one on the way.
Life is funny with the blessings that come your way.
Saturday August 30, KT (age 9) and Emma (age 6 almost 7) took a trek to explore a new park closer to our house called Holloway Park. It's an interesting little park that has a lot of potential to bring in some migrants. We got there at 8:15 in the morning, ready to find new birds in a new place.
There's a pond near the nature trail parking lot, and that's where we started. Fire ants got us, and E wound up with at least 6 bites. This proved to be the limiting factor for the day, as one can tolerate fire ant bites for only so long.

examining the ground for tracks.

At the pond we saw a Louisiana Heron (tricolor, I know, but this is a habit I keep), Sandhill cranes, and some black-bellied whistling-ducks.
Turning our attention toward the east side nature trail, we began walking down it, and discovered many tracks. Emma, despite her ant bites, loved seeing the tracks from various animals, and she was the track spotter for the day. We saw rabbit tracks, dog tracks, racoon tracks, bird tracks and bobcat tracks. Not to mention all the shoe prints on the ground from the runners. Holloway park is going to turn into a regular place to bird, I can tell. There's loads of oppurtunity and habitat.

look to the ground where they are looking, those are bobcat tracks!

I submitted my very first checklist for this field trip! Not a very big list, but it's there now, and I hope to be submitting lots more. I hit the park again on Friday after dropping Grace ( age 4 almost 5) off at Pre-K. Ebird is a lot of fun, it's nice to have access to what's going on where. I resisted going there at first, but now that I use it, I've discovered some tools that I can use for developing web applications using Ebird data. I'll save those details for another blog though.

Katie, Emma, and I also joined the Audubon Society on the Saddle Creek fieldtrip again this year, and there wasn't a lot of birds out yet. The girls and I stayed out about an hour, and logged 18 species. The trip leaders only managed 31 according to ebird, so I don't feel so bad. Next week, Katie gets to pick where we will go, she was pushing pretty hard for Circle B this morning, but had fun anyway. Emma needs new nocs to get the most out of those sort of trips. The real highlight for me was watching at least two, maybe three or more Green herons fly around the ponds. The girls like getting a good look at the black vultures on the way out of the park.

From this trip I learned a couple of things, having decent kit for kids really helps, Emma needs a new pair of 'nocs. Right now she uses a pair of Tasco 7-15 X 35 bins that I inherited from my Nana when she passed. They are great for watching birds on the feeder, but the min focus distance is too great, the field of view too narrow, and if you use the zoom feature, the image is too dark. I did some research about good bins for kids, and came across the Bushnell Natureview 6x30. They came recommended by Bird Watcher's Digest. I'll let her write a review of them, I'm interested in seeing how a 6/7 year old figures binocular usefulness.

My kids love sharing what they are good at with me, when I give them the chance to share back and incorporate something we share together, we get the maximum learning and togetherness experience. On Sunday evening, Katie decided that she wanted to make a powerpoint about something bird related. I suggested she make one about all the places she's been to watch birds. So far, I have to say, it's pretty good. I'll have to find a way to get it online for people to watch.

We're already talking about the next trip out, and can't wait to give the next update!

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