Nov 10, 2009

Nature Notes

We had three great spottings today in the wild. On our daily walk, we were surprised to hear--in broad daylight--an owl calling from far off. It turned out to be a Barred Owl . You can hear it at: Barred Owl -
Then, while we didn't actually SEE it, we must have startled some small rodent or shrew scuttling under the fallen leaves right next to the road we walk on. It had a raspy squeak of an alarm that it sounded many times. We hoped it would show itself, and finally we started poking around. Within seconds however we saw movement 10 or more feet away. It hadn't taken any time for it to be outta here!

It was an especially well-timed event as we have been reading about the Rodent family for many weeks now using Thornton Burgess' Animal Book for Children. Just today we had read about shrews, and came to know that in point of fact, neither shrews nor moles are rodents! They are in their own group, the Family Insectivora, or "insect-eaters." Now that I think of it, they don't have gnawing teeth, the hallmark of Rodentia. Learn more about the Northern Short-tailed Shrew.
Then towards evening, Father Robin, who was on his way to the mailbox, almost stepped on a little garter snake. He called out to me, but it wriggled away just before I got to it.
As I was planning to lead a Bible study of God's creation at our Pioneer Girl meeting that night, I thought having the little snake available would have been the icing on all the natural materials that I had collected for observation. I could just hear the girls scream!! :D More on Garter snakes
Even on the WAY to the meeting, our luck continued as I warned myself that, with Mother Nature hitting us from all sides today, that I better turn on my high beams to avoid really being hit--by a deer! No sooner was the switch flicked than a large bird of prey--owl or hawk--swooped across the road right in front of my car!
Before leaving, I did capture a possible kind of stink bug (in the kitchen) so we would have something from the Kingdom Animalia to observe. The girls actually fell quite in love with the ugly little thing. It was long and thin with large, heavily jointed legs, brownish gray in color all over. It moves slowly and deliberately and its friends like to hang near my windows (where they get caught in spider webs!) The odor it emitted wasn't even unpleasant. It did not have the standard shield shape, so it may have been some other kind of beetle. We had a grand releasing at the end of the meeting.
I think the girls got the message: God's world is very cool when you stop and take a look.

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