Monday, October 24, 2016

10.24.16  Birdwatching - Wixon Innovation Middle School
Dennis, MA

I don't happen to have a bird list today, but what I am able to report on is a group of 12 smiling, enthusiastic & nature treasure hunting kids!  It was another sunny afternoon, and even though it's getting seasonably chilly, which these and all kids seem to be immune to...we enjoyed ourselves outdoors thoroughly this afternoon.  

The end of the school day is cause enough to celebrate for any youngster - and if you get to go directly outside - I can't blame anyone for wanting to run and appreciate the wide open space all around.   There were several findings along our way: feathers, goose poop, mushrooms, pine needles, pollution (garbage), moss, different shaped leaves, trees changing to autumn colors, beetle damage on trees, fallen trees in the woods, galls on the bottom side of leaves... success!

I did mention that as exciting and fun as this was, we need to figure out how to work together so that we'll be able to see birds sometimes.  We need to use those tough tools: Patience & Quiet, when we're observing birds and wanting to see & hear more of them.  Exploring in nature is a party though and I did not want to be a party pooper.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying telling bird stories and discovering the extraordinary freedom of being in the fresh air, playing in the space surrounding this wonderful school. (double click photos to enlarge)
Feather found!

 Crazy mushrooms

Beetle! (bird food!)

Another feather found!

Evidence of someone digging holes - chipmunk home?

Feeling the mushroom gills (lamellae) on the 
underside of a mushroom

Woodland adventure

Observing different sized & shaped holes/damage in the fallen tree trunk

The brown spots look like galls to me
Galls are essentially a microhabitat for the next generation of 
the particular insect who chemically injected the leaf.  
Crazy stuff & nice discovery!

Pointing out the different kinds of moss

I asked if any of them knew or remembered a book named 'Swimmy',
...though no one knew for sure.  I asked them why they thought we didn't 
see any birds today.  "We were too loud!"  they reminded each other. 
What's wonderful though is that even though we didn't see any birds, 
we did hear a few and there was MUCH investigative work.
I suggested that next time we'll get more out of our time together if we work
TOGETHER - just like Swimmy did with the new school of fish
he discovered while on his ocean adventures...

"He taught them to swim close together, each in his own place, ..."
Happy  Birding young bird nerds!

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