Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Nature Walk

When my three youngest children were small we would often go on nature walks. One of our favourite places to go was Grohman Narrows, a small provincial park just ten minutes down the road from where we lived. We would amble along, looking for turtles, dragon and damselflies, wild ginger, interesting rocks, ant hills, and anything else that caught our attention. Sometimes when we returned home I would have them sketch something they had seen in their Nature Notebooks, but more often than not the walk itself was enough.

Grohman Narrows borders the Kootenay River, and just before the park entrance the highway goes by a tall pole, and on that pole was an osprey's nest. Right around this time every spring we would all guess what date we thought the ospreys would return to their nest. My children are all adults now, but they still talk about making their osprey guesses. It's nice to know this seemingly small thing has remained one of their fond childhood memories.

I was reminded of our nature walks when Rebekah was visiting. On her last day here we went to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, a place I have written about before. The last time I was there was on my birthday in February, long before the leaves were out, and well before the herons were nesting. What a contrast this visit was to the previous one.

There were new inhabitants at the pond.


The leaves were making an appearance on the trees along the Vedder River.


The warmer weather meant there were more people on the trail, and not all of them were walkers.


We continued on the path until it left the river and took us up on a dike. The river was to our right, and to the left was open farmland with the mountains in the distance.


Do you see the trees just beyond where the path curves? That's where the heron nests are located. Here's a closer view.


It was hard to get a good picture of a heron. Those nests are quite high up in the trees.


Just beyond the heron nesting area we spotted this pair of eagles. Did you know that eagles mate for life? I wonder how many years this pair have been together.


I hope you've enjoyed today's nature walk, and I would love to hear about any traditions you've done in your family to encourage a love of nature.


18 comments:

  1. I loved this nature walk. My children and I would go to a local park and search for mushrooms after a big rain, or head to Lynn Headwaters and see how much faster the water was running at different times of year - even swimming in the cold waters in the summer. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

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  2. What a wonderful place for a walk, and how lovely to see the nesting birds, especially the eagles, they're spectacular. We like to go and see the ducklings at our local wildlife and wetlands place every year. There are already some there, no doubt lots more to come. CJ xx

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  3. What a great walk! Those nests are just fascinating. We have blue herons in our area, but I don't know if I've ever identified the nest of one. Actually, I don't think I've ever thought that they lived in trees...so I have certainly learned something new today! I went out to one of our county parks today to get a hike in. We have warm weather (finally!) and sunshine again, so it was perfectly lovely.

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  4. That's a lot of nests! I spent a lot of time in the woods when I was growing up. I wanted to pass on my love of nature to my kids. The attempts essentially failed--something managed to go wrong almost every time we went into "nature". Their appreciation for nature is well...they're not against it in theory. :)

    PS - When people ask "what animal would you be?", I usually say "bear". But perhaps I'd be an eagle.

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  5. Wow impressive pics of nests and eagles ! Lot of nests !!!! Thanks for sharing and have a nice week ahead !

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  6. Such a lovely trail and river. I've never seen a Heron's nest, it's quite hard to even spot an Heron here. Aren't they high! Enjoy the warmer weather X

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  7. Absolutely loved this nature walk, Kristie, especially as it involves birds! The heron nests are really interesting, and the river and scenery are lovely. We did a lot of koala spotting with our children - they were the most exciting sighting, as they were rare then (almost extinct in that area now). Always when driving, someone would yell out 'Kangaroo" if we passed a mob of them in a paddock.

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  8. What a lovely walk! The heron nests look rather too small for the large birds, I hope they don't tumble out. For some reason I always thought they were ground nesting. We same a pair on our own walk yesterday, they are beautiful creatures. We do very similar things we our children, despite being city dwellers, there is plenty of nature nearby. We particularly like leisurely walks and paddles on the river beaches. Picnics are great for memories too ('remember when Sam poured his hot chocolate all over everybody, that was a fun day, wasn't it?'). Have a lovely week. xx

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  9. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk about. Just beautiful and what an excellent shot of the eagle!! I love being outside and walking and taking in nature.

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  10. You live in such a pretty area. I love seeing the trees with that early pale green on them. And how great to see a heron and a pair of eagles! I enjoyed those photos, thank you for sharing them. Spending time in nature and teaching our children to appreciate it is very important to us. We take lots of walks and hike on public trails. We also geocache sometimes. We live in the city but it's easy to get to more open spaces from here and we try to take advantage often.

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  11. That is very interesting that herons nest so high up in the trees. They look so unprotected from the weather up there! We'd always take a long weekend in October to go hiking somewhere in the Appalachian Mountain range. We have 4 states to choose from nearby: MD, VA, WV, PA. We have our own little acre of woods that the boys would play, but I never had a "formal" nature lesson. I think being in Cub Scouts must have given them their love for camping. My husband said sleeping in a tent for a year (in Vietnam) was enough camping for a lifetime for him so we never went as a family.

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  12. There is a heronry near here and my best memory is the view of the young herons flying - from underneath they are such an elegant shape with their feet trailing behind them... thanks for sharing you rnature walk.

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  13. It was so interesting hearing about your nature walks. The things you see are so different to what we would find here! It was fantastic to see the Eagles and Herons. Spring looks more advanced with you too, the buds on our trees are just starting to burst open. Sarah x

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  14. It was so interesting hearing about your nature walks. The things you see are so different to what we would find here! It was fantastic to see the Eagles and Herons. Spring looks more advanced with you too, the buds on our trees are just starting to burst open. Sarah x

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  15. I'm actually surprised to see how many and how high these heron nests are. When I did my photo shoot on the James River for the eagles, I learned about their mating for life and their territorial qualities. Each pair claims an area as theirs and they even have a buffer zone between territories. Absolutely fascinating.

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  16. What a fabulous place to visit. Eagles nests, wow. It looks like there's so much nature to be seen there. I think childhood traditions are wonderful, especially when they continue in to adulthood and on to the next generation.

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  17. My SIL has a blue heron nest in a tree very near her condo here in Florida. The parents have two babies and are trying to get the larger one to fly. I get updates about the progress almost everyday.
    Hugs,
    MEredith

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  18. Your landscape is spectacular, Kristie, and your spring is much more advanced than ours. I loved your photos of the heron nests and the eagles, both birds I very rarely manage to see. Like other commenters, I'm surprised how small and high the heron nests are for such large birds.
    Living in the country we used to encourage the children to be observant in our large, wild garden and it was amazing how much they saw and found.

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