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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 4 Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families and my week 3 entries

Exploring ponds proved to be a bit of a challenge it seems for us all this week. For myself we were time challenged as it was a very very busy week for us and we only made it to the pond one day. We may make it out again later today but I need to get these challenges out to the participants.

This week we are going to change things up a bit. Since this is my first time hosting this scavenger hunt it was brought up that perhaps having new tasks on Mondays and allowing photos to be added until Sunday night would be helpful so that is what we will do from now on. I'll give you 8 tasks this week and will give you next weeks tasks on Monday. Every week photos can be uploaded until Sunday night. It makes way more sense so thank you for the suggestion.

This week we will explore colours in our natural surroundings. The point is to look for colours around as we are out and about exploring. Please try to refrain from taking a picture of your flower gardens but rather go on a hike and see what wild flower colours you can find, or butterfly colours or even dragonfly colours. You could also visit a beach and look for colourful shells or rocks depending on where you live. The point is to get out in nature and see what colours you can find.

Remember to upload all your photos by July 27th with the hashtag #2014naturehunt and the date your picture is for as well as a description of your picture to help me award points more easily.

Bonus points added this week for each item you find of the days colour!
July 20th: Red 5 points 
July 21st: Orange 5 points
July 22nd: Yellow 5 points
July 23rd: Green 5 points
July 24th: Blue 5 points
July 25th: Violet or Purple 5 points
July 26th: Indigo or Pink 5 points
July 27th: White and Black on same object 5 points

Week 4 BONUS: Go outside and paint a picture of a rainbow. Your entrance photo should show me: you with your painting outside. Finger paint, brush paint, try making natural paint brushes, use hand prints...the choice is yours 50 points


Don't forget about the overall bonus's which may be uploaded at any time during the 9 week period:
EXTRA bonus 1: A family portrait with a waterfall 25 points
EXTRA bonus 2: Discover a cave 50 points
EXTRA bonus 3: Make art with natures bounty 25 points
EXTRA bonus 4: Go camping... show us your favourite experience while camping 25 points
EXTRA bonus 5: Explore a hiking trail and share with us some of the wonderful natural things you saw while hiking 50 points
EXTRA bonus 6: Use natural items (rocks, sticks etc) to spell the word for how being in nature makes you feel 25 points
EXTRA bonus 7: A family portrait at either a National Park or a Provincial or State park. Let me know at least one thing you learned while at this park  100 points.

Have fun and enjoy your time exploring the colours around you. I look forward to seeing all your pictures.


Here are our week 3 pictures:


July 13th: A frog. Ours is a Green Frog

July 14th: A duck (bonus points if it wasn't a mallard but all we saw were Mallards) At least we saw some babies

July 15th: A turtle (bonus points if two in the same picture
We did get two in the same picture but they were so far away they just look like bumps on a log. You can see it in the top right of my photo collage below. I added a couple other pictures to show some close ups.
July 16th: An interesting pond plant. My girls chose cat tails...not very interesting as they are so common but they thought they were interesting because every part of the plant is useful for survival as food, or bandages as they learned on our Wye marsh trip and remembered when we saw them here.
July 17th: A dragonfly or Damselfly with bonus points for mentioning a difference between the two. I believe the one I was able to get a picture with on my phone is a Meadowhawk

Here are some differences we learned:

Differences Between Dragonflies and Damselflies SOURCE OF TABLE HERE

CharacteristicDragonflyDamselfly
Eyesmost have eyes that touch, or nearly touch, at the top of the headeyes are clearly separated, usually appearing to each side of the head
Bodyusually stockyusually long and slender
Wing Shapedissimilar wing pairs, with hind wings broader at the baseall wings similar in shape
Position at Restwings held open, horizontally or downwardswings held closed, usually over abdomen
Discal Celldivided into trianglesundivided, quadrilateral
Male Appendagespair of superior anal appendages, single inferior appendagetwo pairs of anal appendages
Female Appendagesmost have vestigial ovipositorsfunctional ovipositors
Larvaebreathe through rectal tracheal gills; stocky bodiesbreathe through caudal gills; slender bodies

July 18th: A swan (Heron or Egret added in) bonus points for a pair of swans or an in-flight egret or heron
The Great Blue Heron i captured on my phone was a bit far away so my picture is not the greatest but it is there :)
July 19th: A canoe (paddle boat or kayak) on the pond with bonus points if its a family selfie in one.

Well I failed on this...no picture this week as we have had a crazy busy week. We are hoping to get out later today but right now I need to get you your new tasks!

WEEK 3 BONUS: Build a boat with natural materials and float it in the pond. well we completed half this task and if all goes well we will go to a pond to float it later today but so far all we did was practice floating it in a pretend pond. We made ours with some friends when they visited on Friday. 




Here is a close up of our boats before they got their leaf sails.

Remember keep uploading week 3 pictures until Sunday nights from now on and I will give you the next new tasks on Monday morning with totals.

Have a great week exploring colour around you!

Bear Creek Eco Park Barrie, Ontario

We visited the Bear Creek Eco Park in Barrie for the first time the other day and we had a blast despite the troubles we had today with about 6 flat tires in total. Our slow leak became a problem today to say the least. If that wasn't bad enough I forgot my camera at home and had to rely on my iPhone for pictures. Of course as Murphy's law would have it my phone was at about 17% and I was sure it was going to die on me. So I wasn't able to take as many pictures as I usually do but we had a wonderful afternoon at the pond despite the troubles.

When we arrived it was fairly overcast. As soon as we saw the pond the girls wished they brought their nets (and I really wished I didn't forget my camera).

Our first discovery was a family of Mallard ducks. The babies were quite interested in us but mama kept making them swim the other way.

We walked along the board walk looking for frogs and turtles for our Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families and were quite disappointed when we didn't see any. I thought for sure we would see turtles here.

We continued a long the trail and the girls stopped to pick some wild raspberries.
Which gave me a moment to admire these sweet peas. They were such a pretty colour.
Then we were off again, along the wooded trail around the backside of the pond. It didn't take long for shoes to come off and pleas of "next time we come mommy we NEED to remember bring our nets please".

 We found eggs...which appeared to be in ribbons so I think they might have been toad eggs and not frog eggs but I am not positive. It's hard to see in the photo too but they weren't in a clump, but rather they looked like lines of ribbon. We would have liked to examine them a little more closely but they were out of our reach...if only we brought our nets, or boots...
 We did of course see some frogs.
 Sierra of course had to try to catch them but she had no luck with her bare hands today. Can you spot the frogs foot in this picture as it swims away.
We saw a Great Blue Heron but he was too far away from my phones capabilities for a good picture.
There were many flowers in bloom near the pond.
Not sure what these pink beauties are

Black Eyed Susans

Wild Bergamot


Swamp Milkweed with a snail
We saw many dragonflies and I chased them around like a crazy women trying to get pictures but this little guy who I think is a Meadowhawk was the only one who stood still long enough for a picture.
possibly a Meadowhawk Dragonfly???
While I was chasing dragonflies...my girls were exploring and meeting friends. We met a family of 6 on the trail and they caught a snake. Sierra was over there in a heartbeat!
After saying hello to the snake for a few minutes they let him go and Sierra ran off to try to catch frogs again with one of the girls we met. Aayla was happy looking for fish and throwing rocks with the other little girl. We explained to them we were looking for turtles and they offered to help us out a long the board walk. When we got back to the board walk it was sunny and there were turtles everywhere! This family had a net and caught one for us so we could get an up close picture of the turtle for our scavenger hunt.




We let him go after a few minutes and then they were off to try and catch frogs again. While doing so they caught a leech. This guy was big! Watching him swim he looked like a flat ribbon floating in the water but as soon as he was in the net he bunched up into a fat blob.
We exchanged numbers with our new friends and will have to plan another day to meet up at the pond as we all had a really great time! It was nice for Sierra to find another friend who is a frog loving girly girl just like Sierra is. We then headed to Gymnastics and stopped for ice cream on the way home before supper :) So we managed to turn our frowns from the flat tires upside down and had a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 3 Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families and my own week 2 entries

I must say this past weeks theme of exploring forest's is one of my favourite places to explore. I love walking along trails, exploring off trail, and photographing all the little details of the forest.

This week we are going to explore ponds. Ponds are one of Sierra's favourite places to explore in. This year she has found many varieties of frogs, turtles, Eastern Newt Efts, many species of eggs (frogs, toads, salamanders). She even found a baby salamander that was only about 1 cm long. How she spotted that swimming still amazes me.

Time for this weeks new challenges. Remember to upload all your photos by July 19th with the hashtag #2014naturehunt and the date your picture is for as well as a description of your picture to help me award points more easily.

July 13th: A frog 5 points (5 bonus points if you can identify it)
July 14th: A duck 5 points (10 bonus points if it is not a mallard duck)
July 15th: A turtle 5 points (5 bonus points if you can get more then one turtle in the same picture)
July 16th: An interesting pond plant (10 bonus points if you tell me why you think this plant is interesting)
July 17th: A dragonfly or Damselfly 10 points (5 bonus points if you can tell me the difference between the two)
July 18th: A swan 10 points (10 bonus points if you get a pair of swans in one picture)
July 19th: A Canoe on a pond (25 bonus points if its a family selfie in the canoe)

Week 3 BONUS: Make a boat out of natural materials and take a picture of it floating in the pond 25 points

Don't forget about the overall bonus's which may be uploaded at any time during the 9 week period:
EXTRA bonus 1: A family portrait with a waterfall 25 points
EXTRA bonus 2: Discover a cave 50 points
EXTRA bonus 3: Make art with natures bounty 25 points
EXTRA bonus 4: Go camping... show us your favourite experience while camping 25 points
EXTRA bonus 5: Explore a hiking trail and share with us some of the wonderful natural things you saw while hiking 50 points
EXTRA bonus 6: Use natural items (rocks, sticks etc) to spell the word for how being in nature makes you feel 25 points
EXTRA bonus 7: A family portrait at either a National Park or a Provincial or State park. Let me know at least one thing you learned while at this park  100 points.

Have fun and enjoy your time exploring the ponds around you. I look forward to seeing all your pictures.


Here are our week 2 pictures:

July 6th: A pine cone growing on a tree. Ours was taking while walking trails through Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

July 7th: A tree with compound leaves. this one I think is a black walnut.

July 8th: A stream with wildlife in it if possible. In order to get a close up of this bee as my photo with wildlife in it I had to crop out the actual stream...but I was happy to help this bee to the safety of the shore so he could dry off and fly away. He was hanging on for dear life when I found him.
The bee was in the same stream as the second picture I'm adding to just show you the stream with my own personal wildlife in it :)

July 9th: A forest animal...we saw this little chipmunk last Sunday as Aayla was picking wild blueberries. He busily scampered around the blueberries stuffing his face as fast as he could...even faster then Aayla!

July 10th: I Love the British Soldier lichen with their red dots
The Pixie Cup lichen are also fun...I can just imagine a group of little fairies sitting down for a tea party.


July 11th: A fern growing in the forest...you can see the new spores starting on these ferns as light green dots. By the fall they will be brown in colour.

July 12th: An acorn or chestnut in it's natural surroundings


WEEK 2 BONUS: Climb a tree

We had a great week exploring the forests and hope you did too. Who is ready to head out to the ponds to get on with the 3rd weeks tasks?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A quick walk in Springwater Park Provincial Park

I had a couple more photos to finish up for the Nature Scavenger Hunt for Families that I am hosting so we headed out to Springwater Park today to get the last of our photos.

Playing in the stream at Springwater Park
On our walk in we saw this butterfly. He was camera shy though and this is the best picture I could get.
The girls were shocked when they first put their feet in this little stream. It was sooOooo cold! My feet were frozen in a matter of minutes. they still had fun exploring in it and we ended up freezing out feet for about 45 minutes.
I found this poor little bee clinging onto this stick floating in the stream too. I carried him to land so he could dry out his wings, rest and hopefully fly away safe and sound.
 Here he is starting to dry out but still not ready to fly. We left the stream before he flew away but I am hopeful that in a bit of time he would regain some energy and make it home. I wished I had something sweet on me to give him for energy but I had nothing. I did what I could though and hope for the best.

Sierra found this little slug on a log that stretched over the river. When she picked it up it slimed her with an orange stain and she was NOT impressed! No matter how much water and sand rubbing we gave her fingers it would not come off...hopefully the tub tonight will get it all cleaned up.

 Some other wild life I captured near the small waterfall...

Next we headed to the playground for a bit and Sierra found a tree she wanted to climb. However the bark was extremely rough and it wasn't a very pleasant experience...poor girl is having a rough day.

 We walked over to the pond to see the baby ducks.
 Here by the pond I got a wonderful surprise. Can you see what is flying in this picture? It's a Cedar Waxwing and believe it or not I don't think I have ever seen one before.

Not only did I see one but there had to have been at least 12 flying around. I wished I had my other camera with me but with my phone this was the best shot I could get of one at least.
On our way out the girls found a better tree to climb.

 And Aayla discovered this weird hole. I have no idea what lives in here but she bent down down and yelled in, "Is anybody home"? there was no answer and nothing scurried out in a hurry so it remains a mystery.
 Last but not least we saw this thing on the side of a tree which someone told me a Cicada hatched from it. I've certainly never seen a cicada before so it was a neat surprise too. The Cedar Waxwings were the best though and I will need to go back again soon with my other camera and hope they are still around.