|different kinds of turkey feathers|
- more about feathers: one tends to see white birds with black wingtips. it's because black wingtips are stronger than white ones due to melanin pigmentation.
- oak galls. i didn't know anything about, or even heard of, galls. this is an excellent example of coevolution between valley oaks and the specific wasp that triggers the growth of a gall to incubate its young.
|valley oak galls in various stages of growth. sometimes called "oak apples," these are too tough to crack, but the wasps are able to bore their way out from the inside. disturbing yet fascinating.|
- scat (otherwise known as animal poo). most of what i'd known about scat was from inspecting owl pellets. we saw so many different kinds of scat today - from racoons, coyotes, bobcats, and birds. turkey hens and turkey toms have differently shaped scat. go figure. i know from the book everyone poops that different kinds of animals have different kinds of poop, but learning there's a difference between males and females of the same species, well, that blew me away.
|owl pellet. yes, i took pictures of vomit. it's valuable data to a naturalist.|
|if you want to investigate, you need to use the right equipment! some of us could have benefited from hip waders, though, given the depth of the water in some areas.|
|the deep water here was ideal for catching fish specimens|
|shallow pans and magnifiers in place, ready to receive specimens for inspection|
|one explorer in our group was an expert at finding and catching lizards. this one was by the creek.|
|blue damselfly. we saw dragonflies, too. i didn't know what the difference was, or even if there was a difference at all. this trip inspired me to do some research at home about them. they are different!|
|an ideal day for creek exploration: warm air, cool water, sunny skies|
|evidence of beaver presence in the area|
|turkey tail feather|
|on the way to visit a heritage oak|
|determining the age of a tree by counting its rings on a cross-section of trunk|
|woodpecker holes in tree bark are the perfect size to fit acorns inside for later consumption|
|another lizard, this time in the oaks, too high to reach|
|milkweed plant with an unidentified insect preying on the aphids|
|what's inside the dead tree?|
|plenty of tules along the water's edge. great for basket weaving when cut, dried, and soaked in water to soften.|
awesome, unexpected bonus: we heard splashing amongst the tules in the water. we saw movement and expected to perhaps see an otter. it was a jackrabbit, sloshing his way to dry land!
we have the chance to come back again two more times over the year so we can see the changes in the environment over the seasons. i'm so glad we will.