co-op field biology class, I have another group of middle schoolers that will be coming to my house on Friday mornings for the same class. The first of the Friday morning classes was today.
Because it is shady in the morning, I set up for class on my back deck. Seven students gathered around the long table for an hour and a half. We talked about setting up our naturalist's notebooks, the Beaufort Land Scale, observation and note taking, binomial nomenclature and taxonomic ranks. We looked at white and black oak leaves and acorns and then walked to examine the bark of both.
About halfway through the class, one of the girls looked toward the back woods and cried, "There's a really BIG bird that just landed in that tree." We stopped, got up, looked toward the woods, moved to where we could see, and tried to identify the big bird. At first someone said it was probably a hawk. And then, as everyone saw it more clearly, we realized it was an owl! A beautiful barred owl that must live back in my woods and there it was perched on the tree, 40 yards away. As one of the boys slowly made his way down the steps to get a little closer, the owl flew across the woods on silent wings. Oh, my!
I've lived in this house for almost 8 years. I hear the owls almost every night. But today was the first time, I've seen one here! It felt like a little blessing on our class. Welcome to field biology. It's going to be a GREAT year.
Photo from here.