Year Long Studies: Trees, Egrets, Herons, Osprey


My younger son came in to grab the camera, his face and voice showing excitement due to an  Osprey on the Boathouse!  We have had quite a few Osprey and Eagles this late summer. I hope we get to watch them all winter. Most months they move a couple of miles south to the other side of the lake. This guy spent the whole day just observing – not really eating. He might be a new baby. I hope he likes the neighborhood.


Speaking of observing – we had a spectacular morning on Friday. It was still dusky dark when I woke up, and the twilight was just starting it’s dimmer switch over the lake. The moon was on FIRE. The photo below, surely doesn’t show what my eye saw. Zooming in, the photo above shows more detail. My eye made the moon look even larger than the photo above. I like looking month to month at where the full moon position is, and the time that it crosses the lake in the morning of the fullest full moon period. I’ve yet to grab a great photo of the full moon over the ocean, it usually drops into the fog.


But since I was looking at the moon, I was outside and heard a peculiar sound. One thing I love about bird study was the challenge to listen to bird calls. It is similar to being at a party with 5-10 people that you know, or are familiar with. You don’t have to keep turning around in the room to know who is telling their story in the various circles. For birds – it is the same thing. Starting with the longest 60 seconds of your life – be totally silent and listening in your yard. Now be silent for 3 more minutes. There is a strange thing that happens with the wildlife in my yard. They have one sentinel. He is usually out on a particular bush, always the same one. He alerts the crowd when something or someone new comes outside. It takes him 1-4 minutes to decide if everyone is still safe, and then he calls a different call and the chatter in the room begins again. Reminds me of my Coast Guard days when someone of an officer’s rank would enter the room and the first one to spot him would yell At -teeeen-Tion. Carry On. All that to say – I heard the Carry On call from my lil bird, and then I heard this crazy Crack Pot on the beach that I knew must have been a visitor.


A Green Heron! He looks like a small football, about that size, all tucked in. He is rare to see as he likes to pretend he is a sand piper and keep seriously close to the shoreline, away from our eyes.


Unlike his show off friend the Blue Heron – which likes to be a flamboyant as possible. They have returned to the lake this week as well. Yesterday, I kid you not, while talking to a friend in our yard, we almost got hit by two of them fighting over the territory of our yard. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then, we watched a whole group of 10-15 move. Cray-zie!


Squawk. This guy is LOUD.



So as I was watching him, and the moon, I took note of our year long tree study tree to remember what it looks like the end of August, the end of growth season, still all green but some leaves turning yellow, and noticed that some brown leaves were on the grass. He had a hard winter as half of his root structure got ripped out in the storm that lasted from November til July. Kidding. Not kidding.


Hello Moon. Hello Moon Reflection


Dimmer switch is lighting up.


I took pictures of the hole where the roots are. We’ve been dumping lawn debris here to help fill it up.


Honeysuckle. I never noticed until this photo how many individual parts there are. I couldn’t yesterday nor today articulate why or what each part is. So you know what’s coming on this week? Honeysuckle study. Oh ya.  Saturday Vacation Joy.


Joy is still having your children be able to tell when something is out of place. When a sound is new. When a plant looks different. When the water level is out of whack. When the ocean is behaving differently. When a bird is not acting normally. When the temperatures have changed. When the wind has shifted. (East wind yesterday bringing in record highs.)


Observational Science.
It will be something that they can take with them everywhere they go, for the rest of their lives.


Speaking of which, it took an hour and a half lying on a cold deck not making a sound, following this green heron with my lens, to capture this shot. I’ve been waiting for 7 years. Joy.

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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