One Year Pond Study Week 4: A Spring Fauna and Flower Count

Today was freezing.  So cold.  Too cold for being outside too much!
Today was freezing. So cold. Too cold for being outside too much!

Today, week four of our year-long pond study, we concentrated on the fauna of the area.  Plans for this Monday were as follows:

  • Count the number of Mallards, Moor Hens, Seagulls, Geese and any other birds we happened to see.
  • We intend to do this every season for comparisons

Although this week was probably our least hands on so far, I think when we come back throughout the year, it will be this section which will show the most difference and that excites me.  (Did I actually say that?  Where on earth has the REAL Claire gone?  I can’t believe I’m getting excited about the possibility of more ducks!)

The aforementioned ducks must have felt the love because they were surprisingly friendly.  Either that or simply freezing and starving, hoping we’d brought food.  We hadn’t.

This male Mallard was pecking distance from my feet.  Look at those colours.  Stunning!
This male Mallard was pecking distance from my feet. Look at those colours. Stunning!
And his mate
And his mate

The girls were in charge of counting the mallards.  There were in all 23, 14 males and 9 females.  A4 counted the Canada Geese of which there were 2:

Our resident pair of geese
Our resident pair of geese

She also counted the Moor hens, just one pair, who were feeling very timid today:

I didn't see the two together which is unusual, and wasn't close enough to get a good photo.  This a cropped one from a distance, unusual in that the bird was out of the water.
I didn’t see the two together which is unusual, and wasn’t close enough to get a good photo. This a cropped one from a distance, again unusual in that the bird was out of the water.

T11 counted the gulls, there were many (26):

Lots and lots of gulls
Lots and lots of gulls
Easy to count.  Just the one Mandarin duck
Easy to count. Just the one Mandarin duck
And as a surprise this week we saw a raven!
And as a surprise this week we saw a raven!

And we finished our very first nature journal page:

Lots of fun seeing everything we had collected over the month
Lots of fun seeing everything we had collected over the month
We collected up all the bark rubbings we had taken and cut them into the shape of our Ash tree.  We had dried and pressed the ivy we had collected from the bark of the actual tree and stuck it so it was climbing up the bark rubbing tree.  Clever, no?!
We collected up all the bark rubbings we had taken and cut them into the shape of our Ash tree. We had dried and pressed the ivy we had collected from the bark of the actual tree and stuck it so it was climbing up the bark rubbing tree. Clever, no?!
We made a note book from card and the children chose some thing to jot down during each week.  This I want to develop.  I cut out cloud shapes and wrote about the weather and focus of week 1 & 2
We made a note-book from card and the children chose some thing to jot down during each week. This I want to develop. I cut out cloud shapes and wrote about the weather and focus of week 1 & 2
We cut out some crocus' and jotted down weather and focus of weeks 3 & 4
We cut out some crocus’ and jotted down weather and focus of weeks 3 & 4.  The children also glued some of the leaves we had collected week 2 and dried and pressed at home.  C10 had drawn some ducks which she stuck onto the pond.
I made a couple of envelopes stuck together to hold all the bits and pieces we had collected
I made a couple of envelopes stuck together to hold all the bits and pieces we had collected

It was so wonderful to create a note page which our whole family contributed to.  I’m sure it will bring back very special memories to look back on over the years.

 Highhill Homeschool

Science Sunday

31 comments

  1. Love it, love it, love it. I had made plans to do nature study on a nearby bicycle path and around the adjoining block at the beginning of March. Since then, we have had snow, snow, snow. So, our plans have been on hold. No signs of spring yet on the trees. No plants such as grass and/or flowers visible (under a metre of snow still). Nature study will start in April – maybe.
    Myra, from Canada

    1. Wow Myra where are you in Canada with a meter of snow still? I know some places just north of us here in Ontario still have much as well! Your time will come soon! J9;)

    1. Thanks Phyllis. I was really pleased because it is so personal to us. I’m hoping the little girls can do a bit more next month, but I’m unsure how to involve them- any ideas??

  2. I LOVE the Nature Journal page! Honestly… you guys have so much fun, I wish I could do school all over again in your Home School… 😉 And I am sure I am not the only one! I am halfway around the world in sunny South Africa and I too, am getting all excited about a Pond somewhere in the UK! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Liezel! Thanks so much for commenting, I really love it when people leave a message. I giggled at this one, I love the thought that someone in South Africa is getting all excited about a pond in the UK!! You are very encouraging!

  3. I’ll get up close and personal with those trees over the weekend and identify them for you sweetheart. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer!!!

      1. Oh, and your eldest twin is making a chocolate cake ”specially for daddy’, something for you to look forward to after a hard days work getting up close and personal to all those trees!

  4. I really like your nature journal page. It’s very beautiful and interesting. Concentrating on the changes you’re observing on this one pond throughout the year is a very good idea. There’s so much to learn!

    1. Thanks Hwee. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think I might manage to actually keep this up for a year. I’m learning loads (made easy by the fact I had no knowledge before!) and we’re all really enjoying it!

  5. perfect! amazing! a+ for you making it through the freezing cold and brave hands on, fishing out the watercress! I got cold just reading! amazing work! great lessons in play and a colourful presentation at the end–all around an excellent day by the looks of it! great stuff and thanks again for sharing! Jeanine, Canada as well…

  6. I absolutely love the journal page! So great that you could incorporate your tree rubbings and all the little treasures you’ve collected. I have full faith that you will keep it up. It looks like you guys are having too much fun!!

  7. Hi – new to your blog! Found you linked up at HOmegrown Learners. Love your post. We are outdoor homeschoolers also…love to be out, camping, nature etc…would love for you to stop by sometime! melissa at The Joys of Home Educating

    1. Hi Julie, Yes we’ll be visiting each week on a Monday and creating graphs, charts and pictures of changes throughout the year. Nature study the Scalliwag way!!
      In the summer we also have a pair of swans which visit, so hopefully they’ll be back this year.

  8. I love your journal pages! Much more fun than just jotting down a few facts. Your photos of the wildlife are gorgeous! I have a picture of a mandarin duck that comes up on my desktop background every once in awhile. Just tonight my husband was saying that it doesn’t even look real. I’d love to see one in person.

  9. Home schooling is so much fun! Sometimes I wish my children were little so I could do it all over again. I learn something new every day. In case you were wondering, I am trying to squeeze in some time to go over every part of your blog. It is so very interesting.

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