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.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Strollers Celebrate the Vernal Equinox on the Trail

Two-and-a-half weeks ago we had three feet of snow.
One week ago we had inches and inches of flooding rains.
This week we have temps in the sixties and seventies!
It isn't every year we begin our outings in t-shirts and shorts.
What a way to welcome SPRING!

Of course in this shoulder season, there are some remnants of Autumn out and about as well. The kids spotted this wooley bear caterpillar on the move. Soon enough it will pupate and become an Isabella moth.

The spring peeper chorus began on the 17th of March this year. Their song accompanied us on the trail. We saw, but did not hear, six woodfrogs in the buttonbush swamp.

The kids were in ecstacy, using their nets to bring up a cast of aquatic characters including a bullfrog tadpole, damselfly larva, several dragonfly larva, caddisfly larva cases, backswimmers, and a brown and red aquatic beetle.

We found an asian praying mantis egg case.

And a Carolina mantis egg case. Both had predator marks, woodpeckers or chickadees.

We tried to be quiet by the buttonbush swamp, but even so, the shy wood frogs would not sing.

With Goosepond Mountain in the background, the Strollers catch up after a long, cold winter.

Here are the dragonfly larva the kids found, an up close and personal view.

Camille found a snail!

Sebastian holds a caddisfly larva case made out of stems from aquatic vegetation.

Penelope tests feet that have been trapped in shoes too long.

Here are her tootsies in the mud! Isn't it great to be a kid. Isn't it great to be barefoot!!!

Under the old oak tree what should we find but evidence of a noctournal visitor. An owl pellet.

What's inside. We picked a pellet apart with two sticks and discovered the bones and skull of a rodent.

In the red maple swamp, the skunk cabbages lend a certain um... air to the environment. Inside their flashy spathes are the tiny flowers. The honeybees we saw on the wing will soon be visiting these first flowers of spring.