It was a gorgeous day today – sunny, low 70’s.  The outdoors was beckoning to me even before I had my morning cup of chai tea.  So not long after we ate, we hopped in the van and drove to a rose garden in full bloom for some nature study.  I brought lunch for us to munch on while we scanned for potential animals to identify with our nature identification booklets and then we set off exploring.

Obviously, the sprinkler system is on but what you don’t see is that the boys have planted themselves literally within an inch of it reaching them as it rotates in a circle.

We started with tree identification.  We found an Eastern Redcedar and two kinds of oak trees – before we got permanently distracted by the wildlife in the park.

We were on the hunt for more plants when we came to a small fountain and found tadpoles.  There’s something about boys and water.  If there’s water, they will find it…and be mesmerized by it.

As soon as we realized how close the squirrels and birds would come in relation to us, we spent the rest of our time at the park identifying the animals.  The animals at this park seemed to want to pose for me.  I don’t often photograph animals but I have some amazing shots of squirrels from today.

It wasn’t long after this that we saw a lady on a park bench feeding the squirrels.  We wanted to feed the squirrels too.  So we all hopped back in the van and ran to the store to get squirrel and bird food and came back to the gardens.  Our mistake was scattering it all over the ground and then hoping they’d come to us for the peanuts.  They close though.  Very close.

I thought for sure this squirrel was going to come to Chris.  At the last second, he darted off.

I did not know, until today, that blackbirds and crows are not the same bird.  Blackbirds are significantly smaller than crows.  There was one crow at the park with us and a group of the blackbirds were consistently shooing it away from the bird food we put out.

This is the only animal we didn’t identify today.  It was too fast for us to figure out what it was.  I’ll have to show the boys tomorrow that I got a picture of it and we’ll look it up.

It was hard to get a picture of the blue jays.  They would swoop down from the trees, grab their food and fly back up.

There are five squirrels in this photo.  (One is very hard to see.)  At one point, I saw nine squirrels in the group.

Chris tried so hard for a blue jay to swoop down and grab food from his hand.  He stayed like this for a good 20 minutes.  (Be seriously impressed by this.)  When he finally gave up, he popped up his head and said, “I think it’s my clothes.  I need to wear green next time.”

As we were leaving we saw “Peter”.