I had begun to plan a series of nature study trips when I stumbled across Angelic Scalliwags, who have recently begun a year long study of their local pond.
Bingo!!! Brilliant idea. That, my friends is absolutely perfect for our nature study time too. We jumped on it and chose the closest pond (that I knew had a fair amount of wildlife) near us. It's a rather large pond and may even come close to being a lake but this is where we will be spending a considerable amount of our time over the year to come.
Angelic Scallywags are visiting their pond weekly, however I knew this would be a challenge for us. We have to drive a good 10 minutes to our pond, which I know isn't far but in amongst our already busy schedules I was concerned that weekly would simply become overwhelming. I opted for roughly fortnightly visits, knowing that monthly (just 12 visits in a year) was no where near enough.
I will also put to use some of the ideas shared over at Angelic Scallywags and I have found a few really nice guides to help us navigate our way around our pond.
And so we begin our "Year Long Pond Study" friends.
Finding a visual marker that we could use to watch the water level was tricky indeed. It took us quite awhile and some discussion until we settled on this concrete.....not even sure what it is. I guess it has a purpose, we will have to investigate.
I know that we will never be short on wildlife around this pond. Taking a closer look at the reeds and the far bank may be a challenge though, again another spot of investigating on a future visit.
For our first trip to the pond, it was simply a time of getting acquainted with the area, the wildlife both on and around the pond and the vegetation growing nearby.
We have taken note of several areas of interest where we can focus our study time across the visits we will make during the year. Various fungi species can be found along the banks of the pond.
I asked the children to choose a tree, one tree that would be our focus for the year. We will look more closely at all of the vegetation in the area, but this tree in particular will have more of a focus. They all easily agreed on this. It was so easy to identify also, the fruit growing on it gave it away very quickly. A Mulberry tree! I'm thinking silkworms here.......
Moss covers areas of the bank near the waters edge. The children think these are animal tracks of some description....I'm not so sure ;-)
Whilst quite hard to see in this image, one area of the bank is covered in tiny little red growth of some description. Very fascinating and we will take a closer look at this down the track.
No doubt a weed, but very pretty purple flowers regardless.
Plenty more moss here.
I'm guessing another weed, we will attempt to identify all of these as we go along.
The berries from this large tree covered the ground underneath.
Looking back across the pond.
Ducks in a row, sunning themselves before they jumped back in.
I have a feeling these are Magpie Geese, but need to get a closer look with our field guide in hand.
After spending time getting to know the pond area we settled at a picnic table to draw and paint images of the pond.
Just as we were getting ready to pack up an enormous flock of cockatoo's came screeching across overhead.
Back and forth, back and forth they flew, a noisy but impressive sight that's for sure.
I love the Wildlife Guide to Greater Brisbane, contains most everything a local nature observer needs.
My dear friend was lucky enough to spot this fabulous bird field guide at our recent Lifeline Bookfest. We've already put it to good use.
If you haven't visited the Gould League website yet, be sure to take a look. They have some treasures for us Aussies. Ponding, is full of activities and ideas to use to explore your local pond.
Whilst I want our time at the pond to be fun, relaxed and enjoyable I do also have some plans and so to keep us on track I put together this simple one page idea list for our first pond visit, which as you saw from the images above was all about getting acquainted with our pond.
I will share a pdf version of this shortly, for now though this is jpeg and you should be able to click on it to see a larger image.
I hope to continue sharing our visits to the pond!
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