Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nature walking


Since the weather is slowly but steadily improving, I decided it was time to start walking again, looking for signs of spring. Kiddo and I have done walks like this for years. Kutey only remembers doing it last year. She has a cold, so I wasn't sure a walk was the best plan. Kiddo, however, needed to get out and get moving. He has been bouncing (somewhat literally) off the walls this week. So we determined we would go for a walk, but that we would take a route that allows for a shorter walk or a longer walk.

We started out, listening to the birds as we walked. We heard one call we didn't recognize, nor could we see the bird. First thing to look up when we get home. Kutey ran for about 2 blocks, which made me think perhaps she was feeling better than I thought! But then she hit a wall. Her leg hurt (stop running!), she was tired (walking isn't as hard as running), her hair wa staticy and in her face (if you would ever let me put something in it, this wouldn't be a problem!) and she started whining. At this point, we had two choices, turn around and walk home, or continue on. It was only a smidge closer to turn around and go home. So we kept walking.

Kiddo noticed a crow, and we commented on how big it was. Since we have studied birds in science, though, we knew it likely wasn't heavy. And since we studied weight in math, we decided to guess how much it weighed, to be checked when we got home. Second thing to look up when we get home. Our guess? Less than 2 pounds. By then we had reached the park (this is where Kutey truly began whining and I made the choice to keep walking).

Two weeks ago when we walked through the park, we saw red-winged blackbirds. Early arrivals getting the best spots for their nests, we thought. It seems, however, that they did not stick around. We saw no red-winged blackbirds this time. I told the kids to listen for them, too, because we might not see them. Kiddo couldn't remember what they sounded like, though. Third thing to look up when we get home.


Kutey paused in her whining long enough to do some more running with Kiddo, then resumed as we turned the corner to leave the park. I was able to distract her by spotting a ROBIN! We have only seen a few, they are just starting to really arrive here, so it is very exciting every time we see one. Last year by this time we had seen flocks and flocks of them. We had also seen flocks of cedar waxwings, which we haven't this year. We watched the robin as it hopped about in the grass. I told the kids I guessed it was a male, because they come back first. But we have never really looked at the markings of female versus male robins. Fourth thing to look up when we get home.

It is about three blocks from this point home, but there are two routs you can go. One is the hypotenuse of a triangle, the other is the opposing sides of the triangle. Kiddo likes the latter, particularly now because there is a lake covering part of the sidewalk and he likes the challenge of getting around it. Kutey, however, just needed to get home. So she and I went the short way and Kiddo went the long way. We met at the other corner. Kiddo loved the independence of walking 2 blocks by himself, since normally our walks are together. He had lots of sites to report from those two blocks!

We (finally, according to Kutey) made it home. In spite of the whining, it was a wonderful walk, full of things for us to research further.

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