I hesitate to say this in the face of the terrible weather people are enduring all over the country...but wow, we have had such gorgeous sunny weather for January! We are trying to enjoy it while it lasts--and it's really hard NOT to enjoy days like these.
At our outing last week, we were surprised upon arriving at the lake (one of our regular spots) to see how very low the water level was. This isn't a lake in any real sense--it's a man-made recreational lake that has its level controlled by the flow of a nearby creek. Still, we have never seen it quite this low before.
|the water usually reaches up to the middle of those reeds|
In the large areas usually covered by lake water, we found lots of tiny clam shells, old roots and driftwood, and mud--lots of mud! Most of it was dry, but there were still some quite mucky areas, and of course, the kids found those straight away. ;) They also found that the rocky walls that usually slow the flow of the creek water into the lake area are perfect for climbing.
And the big sighting of the day: a Green Heron! My girls flew to me to share their discovery--they had never seen a green heron before, but they had seen enough field guides to identify at first sight. I checked online when we got home, and sure enough, green herons are less common than egrets and blue herons here, but they do frequent this lake. The kids were very happy to add it to their nature journals, as well as a sampling of the two-toned shells and the ever-present geese, coots, and mallards. Will they ever tire of drawing our local waterbirds? It seems not. :)
Before leaving, we made sure to stop by "our trees" to take a look.
Both are completely bare now but for a few clumps of red berries on the branch tips. The children are looking forward to seeing their spring changes when they come.
And come they will--we noticed when we got home that the daffodil shoots are peeking out in our yard already!
According to our Calendar of Firsts, they have arrived only a week earlier than last year, so I'd say they're just about right on time! Last year they were blooming by mid-February, so we're looking forward to sunny blooms a month from now...in what will likely be our rainiest season of the year by far.