Mrs. Aitch's File Cabinet of Ideas for Nature Study Lessons

Sunday, September 11

September Afternoon

Cardinalis cardinalis    "Pretty girl!  Pretty girl!"
We've been living in our new (to us) home for about a month now.   When I first drove into this property (back in January) I was captivated by the cardinals flitting between the shrubs at the front of the house.   They seemed like a Welcome sign--blinking red:  "Hello, come on in!"

The cardinals have occasionally dropped in since we moved in about a  month ago, but mostly I've only heard them in the woods "Pretty girl!"  Pretty girl!"   I guess they've been busy raising their family--I've caught a few quick red flashes in the woods.     

Other birds live in the woods behind our home:   loud, raucous crows cawing during the day--pestering the bluejays who shriek shrilly protecting their territory.   I like bluejays even though they're bullies at the winter bird-feeders.  Their blue and white feathers seem cheerful as they bound here and there along the edge of the woods.

However, our evenings lately have yielded another autumn-y bird song:  geese honking.   Every time I hear them, I dash out to the deck and best I'm able with the trees shielding them, spy out the small skein of geese.   Seven of 'em.    Figure that's probably Mom and Pop with their now-nearly-full-size brood of five goslings.    What a racket they can make!  

Geese remind me of autumn because where I grew up in Wisconsin we saw them in early spring as they were heading back to Canada, and then again in fall as they were rallying up for their long trip back south to their winter grounds.    Geese would scavenge through the fields where corn had been picked--they'd nibble up all the kernels that had fallen out of the reapers.    I've always enjoyed seeing geese flying overhead, in those long skeins, wings flapping majestically as they make their way to or fro.

Right now, Mom and Poppa Goose are getting their goslings fattened up and trained for the long-long flight to Florida or South America where they'll spend the winter.    It is a pretty amazing thought--to consider the long trip they make--without the aid of a GPS to find their destination--no hotels to bed down in each night--not even a McDonalds for a quick snack along the way!

Branta canadensis
If you'd like to learn more about Canada Goose, click this!

Nature Hike

Take a walk outside your own home. Look around at all the signs of Spring in your own backyard! What do you smell? What do you see? What do you hear? Fresh earth, budding plants and trees, birds chirping? How does the wind feel against your cheek?

Keep your nature journal handy....summer is a busy time in the natural world! Jot the occasion, date, time, weather, and anything unusual. Make a simple sketch to help you remember. Doesn't have to look like da Vinci! Just your sketch.

Take note of a special tree in your yard. Keep track of it during each season. Sketch one or two branches right now. Take note of the buds or twigs. Date the sketch, add the time of day, something about the weather. Yeah! That wasn't so hard!!