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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Goose Pond Mountain Created Wetlands, 29 August 2007

Kat, Ian and the girls hadn't visited Goose Pond in almost a month. From their vacation spot in North Carolina they had listened to Laurel and Sybil relay tales of Cicada Killers dragging their prey down into their burrows as they watched. Longing to see this for themselves, they headed to meet everyone at Goose Pond as soon as they arrived home.
Though they only saw a handful of Cicada Killers entering their burrows (none with Cicadas), they did see quite a few things. As they began walking on the path to the first pond, Kat noticed a tiny pebble that seemed to jump out from under her feet. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be a gorgeous gray, pink, white, and black Jumping Spider. It was the largest Jumping Spider Kat had ever seen, and when Sybil arrived she said the same. The spider, while being examined and photographed, would tilt its head in the direction of the observer, following it with it's large black eyes. They watched it as it scooted along the gravelly path, perfectly camouflaged and visible only while moving.

Soon Laurel, Ben, Sebastian and Acadia arrived and met everyone on the boardwalk. Laurel pointed out that the tops of many of the Goldenrod had been invaded by a midge, restricting growth of the stem and causing the continuously growing leaves it produced to bunch up. This bunch gall was different from the galls we were used to seeing on Goldenrod stems.

Around the bend, while searching for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, we spotted a Tussock Moth caterpillar. The tufts of Halloween-colored hair make this a fun and easy caterpillar for young children to observe.

Soon enough the summer sun reminded us of its power, and it became quite hot. The adults were eager to make it back to their cars, but the lure of the gravelly path proved to be too much for Lily, Penelope, and Acadia. They gathered to scoop dirt and pebbles into their hands and let it slip through their fingers.

It was only after everyone made it back to their cars and back home that Kat noticed the best surprise of the day. Walking on her wall right next to her kitchen clock was the exact same species of Jumping Spider they had seen at Goose Pond! She quickly grabbed her camera and got a great shot of it peering back at her, wondering why this woman was following it!