On Friday, we took a nature day at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. The camas is in bloom.
The Wildflower Festival is next Sunday, May 18th, and the fields are purple with flowers. The fine young gents and I bemoaned the fact that we had forgotten our wildflower book, but the arboretum volunteers are prepared for wildflower lovers-- there was a laminated wildflower guide on a stand along the trail. (For an online wildflower identification guide, try here or here.)
Lovely lady had a day off from high school. We all heard a downy woodpecker, and our sharp-eyed girl spotted him first. The fine young birders also spotted European starlings, American crows, American robins, all of which we've spotted in our own backyard, and a spotted towhee, which we haven't. And some little flitty brown birds we couldn't identify.
Then we headed to the turtle pond. The fine young gents stopped several times on the way to explore an hollow stump, blow "wishes" (dandelions gone to seed), look in the ditch, examine new flowers, throw rocks in the river.
I took pictures with my new camera. You all with have to bear with me for a while as I experiment with all the buttons and what-not. Fine young gent above (with his hair brushed, I'd like to point out) is telling me to stop taking his picture so he can show me the owie on his finger.
We didn't see any turtles at the turtle pond, but the gents had a grand time searching. We've never seen turtles, though many of our friends have seen them basking.
Time for nature journals. Each child has a nature journal, colored pencils and a water bottle in his backpack. Littlest gent was quite indignant at the suggestion that I carry his water bottle in my backpack. He is big. He carried it all the way without complaining.
The fine young gents finally got to play by the creek, which is why they'd wanted to come to the park in the first place. The arboretum has a wonderful picnic area with tables, a covered enclosure and a sitting area in a small tent. Last week we visited the park with friends, planning on a hike, and the children spent the entire time splashing in the creek and playing house in the tent.
As we gathered our things to leave, one of the fine young gents found an injured Anna's hummingbird. It had flown into the skylight of the picnic shelter and fallen, and seemed to have an injured leg or foot. I gently scooped it right into my hands. It was so tiny and amazing, that little living creature sitting in my hands like a little jewel. It was serendipitous that we'd visited the Cascade Raptor Center just the week before, and I'd happened to ask what one does with an injured bird that is not a raptor. You put the bird in a shoebox or other bird-sized box if you can do so safely and call a wildlife rehab center. (What to Do If You Find An Injured Bird.) The park volunteer we found to help couldn't find a small box, so we made do with a pickle jar. We slid the hummingbird into the jar, put a paper towel over the top of the jar with a rubber band, and poked air holes in the paper towel. I wrapped it in my sweatshirt to keep it dark and so that it wouldn't be frightened of the big scary people. On the way home we took quite a detour to drop the bird off at Willamette Wildlife Rehabilitation.