Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nature Walk

Despite the colds the guys were fighting on Friday we decided to pop over to the Arboretum to see if there we could spot any black swans for the challenge over at Always Outside. Unfortunately, we only spotted one of the parents who was keeping a really close eye on a couple walking around the far side of the dam. We, were actually on the wooden bridge you can see in the photo to the left. The boys and I had been out to the Arbo a couple of weeks ago for a hike with the local homeschool group. The Tree Garden, as we like to call it, is broken down by continents. There's South America, North America, Asia, New Zealand, and of course Australia. I'm sure Europe is represented somewhere, but we've only wandered through the continents mentioned, this place is huge. When we were out last time we hiked through Asia, up to New Zealand and out to the edge of the property. After a lunch break some of the kids went on a mushroom hike, Morgan joined them but Jayden was too worn out, so unfortunately I didn't get to join in either. While visiting on Friday Morgan really wanted to show us the mushrooms he'd seen.

Morgan was really sad that the purple mushrooms had disappeared, but he was delighted to show us this toadstool. We miss seeing this particular fungi growing during the winter months. When we lived much closer to the Arbo we use to have these little fellows growing in our yard! They go through some amazing stages as they grow and die.

Check out this flatter version. It looked like the perfect little table or umbrella sitting out there under the trees. It's actually dark red on top and orange around the outer edges. As it dies off it becomes more orange and even slightly white before it falls apart.

This is a cypress tree in the North America section. The boys love the firey orange it turns in the fall. In fact it's the same one Morgan draws each fall when we go on a tree hunt. There's a couple of these sitting fairly close to the waters edge due to their need for swampy areas. 

And of course we took time to look for a few platys while we were there. This little one swam right under the bridge while we were standing there and proceeded to swim across the dam before climbing up the bank and disappearing onto the island that sits in the middle of the water. We had fun counting to see just how long this little one could hold his breath. He was pretty average with 30-40 seconds.

Even though we didn't spot out the swans we were after we still enjoyed ourselves. We'll be checking frequently to see if we can spot the cygnets once they hatch and are old enough to leave the nest for a little while. We're quite excited over it!

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