Nature Strollers

The mission of the Nature Strollers is to support parents and grandparents in their role as primary interpreters of nature for their families; to provide opportunities for families to enjoy unstructured time outdoors; to familiarize families with local trails, refuges, sanctuaries and preserves; and to develop networks among families with a common interest in nature.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Goose Pond Created Wetlands, 14 June 2007

Three days in a row at Goose Pond! Yesterday we came in search of insects. Today, it was "snake central" near the second and third ponds. Everywhere we stepped we could see Garter Snakes and Northern Watersnakes. They regarded us wuith suspicion, but allowed us to get great looks.
A larger Garter Snake - a beneficial creature if you have one in your garden

A beautifully banded and quite large Northern Watersnake

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Goose Pond Created Wetlands, 13 June 2007

We had to come back to look for the bugs! There were insects galore as the girls frolicked among the wildflowers. Can you tell the difference between a Milkweed Bug and a Milkweed Beetle?

Lily, Penelope and Acadia on "the hill."

Milkweed Beetles mating.

Milkweed Bug.

Dragonfly modeling for the camera.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Goose Pond Mountain Created Wetlands, 12 June 2007

Kat reflects on a full day at Goose Pond...

I visit the boardwalk at Goose Pond Mountain Created Wetlands often, as there is always so much to see. It's close to my home, my toddlers can easily and safely navigate the paths, and the creatures we see are easily seen by the youngest of children too, which makes it that much more appealing to me. I had the opportunity to go there twice today, once this morning and then again later in the afternoon. Laurel met me for the morning walk and together (with the help of her dragonfly guide) we tried to identify some of the dragonflies we'd been seeing as our girls ran around enjoying each other's company. So far we have identified the Ebony Jewelwing, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Calico Pennant, Halloween Pennant, Eastern Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Spangled Skimmer, and Common Whitetail. We have some pictures of some of them as well. Though I cut it pretty close today (and the girls let me know it), I was able to get a few good photographs before my 11am naptime deadline. I snapped pictures of a Red-winged Blackbird with a dragonfly in it's mouth and a male Spangled Skimmer (also eating it's lunch). Laurel spotted a dragonfly emerging from it's hardened nymph shell, but I was unable to get close to get a good photograph because the girls were restless. She grabbed my camera and got a great shot as I held one cranky toddler in my arms and another by the hand.
Later, I returned with Ian and the girls, because it seemed that the predicted thunderstorms were not going to hit us at all. At the second pond, as the girls chased each other up and down their hill, I finally spotted the bullfrog I had been seeking all year. In fact, it was literally right under my nose. I didn't notice it until I was practically on top of it, at which point it leapt into the water and swam off. Ian saw it, too, jumping almost as high as the frog itself... it was THAT big! We both couldn't believe it's size... it was roughly the diameter of a McDonald's pancake! I spotted it again a few minutes later but by the time I had my camera ready it had ducked under the water again and I lost it in the murk. I decided to take a quick look for the praying mantis that Laurel had seen on the raspberry bush earlier in the day, but I had no luck. I did find an interesting and quite aggressive spider, though. It stared me down as I photographed it, flicking it's fangs at me each time I moved. I spotted the juvenile Northern Water Snake again, and got a picture of it with it's tongue out as it boldly swam by me. It hung around for a few minutes, and Ian was able to see it's beautiful markings. I was also able to photograph two more dragonflies and one damselfly (eating another insect), but I will have to wait for Laurel and her guide book before I can identify them.

Male Spangle Skimmer eating an insect

Acadia "fishing"


Laurel showing Lily and Penelope the toadlet

Red-winged Blackbird with dragonfly breakfast for it's young

Dragonfly emerging

Crazy spider

Unknown damselfly eating dinner

Northern Water Snake sticking it's tongue out

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Uknown dragonfly

Female Common Whitetail

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Nature Strollers in the news!

Many thanks to nature journalist Wayne Hall and photographer Jeff Goulding, who accompanied us on one of our outings at Kenridge Farm. Wayne has featured the Nature Strollers in his twice monthly "Wayne's World" column in the Times Herald Record today. Click on the screen shot image of the article below to read it on the newspaper's web site!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Nature Strollers First Annual Picnic, Glenmere Lake, 09 June 2007

Thank you to everyone who joined us today. We can't wait until next year's picnic!

Enjoy the pictures!

Our special flower-shaped Nature Strollers cake... yummy!

MMMMM... fruit salad!

Star-shaped brownies!

Enjoying lunch.

Taylor and Morgan ready to go on the hike into the woods.

Walking into the woods.

Kristin and Liam all the way up from North Carolina!

Walking in the woods.

Micah, Akiko and Sho on the trail.

On the shore of Glenmere Lake.

Laurel found a dead catfish... thank goodness we had already eaten lunch!

Throwing rocks into Glenmere Lake.

Look! A water snake (middle-left of picture) came RIGHT up to us!

Ian, Lily and Penelope enjoying the lake.

Akiko and Queen looking at the green grasshopper Queen caught.

It's a big one!

Ebony and Queen releasing the grasshopper.