Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Nature Drive for Science Sunday - Signs of Spring

We were so encouraged by our robin sighting, earlier this week, that as soon as the sun came out, and melted away the snow, we decided to take to the road, and look for signs of spring in the animal kingdom. And, yes I know most people take nature walks, but...

...I was just not feeling that adventurous. Besides which, I've heard the bears are awake! And, while that is a sign of spring, it's also one I prefer to see from the comforts of a moving minivan.

So anyway, back to what we found. Starting in town, the first animals we checked out were the ground squirrels. We observed that they are awake, and no longer hibernating. We also observed their cute, little, fuzzy faces. I had to keep reminding myself what destructive pests these guys can be. It was really easy to be seduced by their charms - they're soooo cute.

From the ground squirrels we moved on to a local duck pond, where we didn't see any ducklings, or goslings (there were quite a few angry, hissing, threatening geese around the pond, too - I was ready to head back to the ground squirrels). But, we did spot one hen sitting with an egg. We found it interesting that the egg was just there on the side of the pond, and not in any kind of a nest.

Next, we moved on to a small flock of sheep. Which, I am happy to say, had several lambs with them. You've got to love small town zoning. These are right in the middle of a neighborhood - which is why we took the picture from the van, as we were rolling by. People in Montana get jumpy when you start taking pictures of their homes.

Looking at the lambs, made us wonder about the big horn sheep, so we went in search of those. We spotted a flock of ewes, some of whom were very fat (suspiciously fat), but no lambs, yet.

The same was true for the deer we spotted along the way, both white tail, and mule deer. Lots of fat does, but no fawns. Though, with the deer we did notice more signs of change. We spotted several groups of yearlings (not pictured below) grouped together, which means they've been recently chased away from their mothers. So, the new fawns must be expected soon.

We didn't spot any bears, but on our way back into town, we did see some wild rabbits (they are all over town). The suckers move pretty fast, so I only got one sad, blurry picture of a couple, and totally missed the baby bunny - but it was very exciting to see.

So, from our expedition, we learned there are signs of early spring in the animal kingdom around our house, but we're not completely there, yet.

And, the children informed me, that while they might like to go back to feed the ducks, they have pretty well had enough nature, and would like to return to the exploding, fizzing, or gooing type of Science Sunday experiments we normally do. If you feel the same way, be sure to come back next week.

Or, check out the science going on around the blogosphere, at this week's Science Sunday link up hosted by Adventures in Mommydom.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


sleeplessnights04 said...

ahhh the downfalls to living in city :o( I miss the mountains :o)) We have jack rabbits in our neighbourhood all year long which we always think is the spirit of my huband's father watching out for us :oP Our home away from home is in Jasper National Park, be it camping or staying in a cabin, ohh how I miss the mountain air and the signs of spring. Spring was here last week for a few days, and then it snowed again...officially the snow doesn't stay away permanently until May. Who gets April showers? We get April snow storms :oP In like a lion out like a lamb right? Have a great week!

Kelly said...

What a beautiful Sunday drive. Your signs of spring are so diffent from ours on the East Coast. Thanks for posting.

Debbie said...

Nothing better then to get out and drive to see what you can find. We love to do that here too.

Ticia said...

Nice, I guess since my kids haven't gotten to do lots of fizzing and exploding experiments they don't know to ask for it.
So, in theory you should be able to copy the code to your post and thus it becomes a blog hop, but the code isn't working all that well today...... I'm looking into it.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

It's amazing to see how late spring comes to Montana. I always thought of it as the true "last frontier". Hopefully, warmer days will come soon.

Marcee said...

What, no famous Moose!!??? I can't believe you saw all those in one day!!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Marcee - I was keeping an eye out for Moose, but they're a little more elusive! I'm hoping to spot one before summer is out, though.