Our last day. Today is also the last day of KidSummer 2016 at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History! I really cannot believe it. What an inquisitive bunch of bird nerds this week! That being said, I wanted to mention what I sometimes do with local school kids in that we make an, "I Wonder" board. I asked everyone to think of a question related to birds that we could either answer immediately, or think about together, or research themselves. One of my favorite websites (which some of these bird nerds already were aware of) allaboutbirds.org, is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website and it is a wealth of information you'll find fascinating! It's great place to find out answers to their questions and learn more about what birds have to offer! See the photo of their questions below.
We were determined to make it to the beach today, and we sure did. It was hot, hazy & humid yet again...but we bird walked with plenty of water, took shade breaks and I just kept checking in on everyone to be sure all were A-OK. We made it! Wait until you see the photos tell the story of what we did, how we enjoyed the mudflats, and the water, and the creatures and the simple beauty of spending quality curious time at the edge of Cape Cod Bay. Feathers were found, as well as sea creature evidence, left behind in the sand, and have I got a story for you! One of the bird nerds, while exploring the tidal pools, discovered many hermit crabs, one of whom was SHELL-LESS! He needed a new shell! Or she... either way, this little hermit crab was desperate for a shell for shelter in the blazing sun and caught in the tidal pool, which would be a danger zone without the protection of a shell. We decided to help out! S/he was crawling around trying to fit into shells that already had residents... kinda hilarious to observe. Use your imagination! We found a selection of empty periwinkle shells for options and the second or third shell fit JUST RIGHT! What a moment on the shore! I have never seen this in many MANY years of scouring mudflats & tidal pools. It was a triumphant moment for the bird nerds, for me, but I think mostly for the hermit crab snuggling into her/his new home. I don't know why I've felt so many children's book references this week... I suppose it's been that wonderFUL. This experience reminded me of Eric Carle's A House for Hermit Crab - another precious children's book. It's been a fantastic week with this flock of bird nerds. I'll miss them & I look forward to hearing their bird stories and bird questions someday! Thank you bird nerds for your stories, your questions, your patience, your quiet, your creativity & most of all, your curiosity..(double click photos to enlarge)
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern (tough to ID from the distance we were at)
Great Blue Heron
American Goldfinch - male
Bayberry with the berries
Semipalmated Sandpiper (pretty sure - only had a moment to ID)
Spotting gull prints on the mudflats
Sharing Hermit Crabs
Great Black-backed Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls & Laughing Gull (lower middle)
vascularized...so part of some creature - when it was alive.
Notice the top Hermit Crab is shell-less
Home inspection underway
After trying it out... this shell was too big
Great Blue Heron - what a reward for the last major sighting of our week together!
Bird Nerd Salute!
Berd Nerd Salute... along with other poses, like unicorn pegasuses.
Poison Ivy with berries
The "I Wonder" questions