Our first stop: a morning at the lake with friends...and lots of waterbirds!
That "island" between the trees is covered in egrets and blue herons. It is so fun to watch them fly with their legs tucked behind them.
The birds near shore were coots, ducks, and geese.
Can you see that pair of ducks there in the middle? We were stumped as to what kind they were--the kids all had their field guides out and couldn't find a match. The male looked just like a mallard but was missing the white necklace and had in its place a clump of white chest feathers, and the female was all white. When we got home, we did some digging and it seems they're domestic mallards, whose plumage can look completely mallard-like or completely white or anywhere in between. We'll definitely be on the lookout for them next time!
We happily watched them for a while until these fellas came to chase us away. (They have a habit of aggression, and this morning was no exception!)
Big highlight: we got to check in on "our" trees. Vincent's was completely bare of leaves, but Gianna's had a few remaining leaves and lots of bright red berries.
A couple days later, we met with some friends from our nature study group for a morning at our favorite spot. The big kids got muddy on the creek banks, and the little kids crunched in the foot-deep sycamore and maple leaves that covered the ground above.
We found lots and lots of horse chestnut fruit and seeds, which are hanging solo from the buckeye trees now that they're bare of leaves. I promised the kids that next time we'll bring their rain boots, as they have grand plans.
And lots of nature journaling this week too!