Thursday, April 08, 2010

Creek Walking

William and I walked along our creek yesterday, he in his rubber boots and with a fish net and bucket. I had a large coffee can to collect the broken glass that washes down the creek and gets lodged in the mud. Occasionally, I'll find horn coral to add to our "natural history museum". Water skippers were observed and formed a basis for discussion about habitats and why the skippers were only found around water.  Bent over the clear water, William called out that he'd found a fish.

Now, our creek is several feet deep in places where natural dams are formed, but mostly, it is a quickly running shallow stream. Sure enough, however, he'd netted a Etheostoma spectabile or Orangethroat darter. He put this in his bucket with some water. A little while later, he brought his net over, showing me with remorse that he'd found another - and accidentally stepped on it in trying to find it.  It was dead. William felt so bad about it, he was still hanging his head at dinner when we discussed our finds with the rest of the family. Still, the fact that the fish was now dead and could be closely inspected helped in our identification.

We learned that these fish need insects to live, so back down to the creek we went to dump the live one back where it belonged.  Science class in action.

"Aunt Mary", a bantam hen, had so many eggs under her that she had to spread out like a jet plane to cover them all.  "Aunt Rita", her sister, thought she could help by stealing a few of her eggs. Actually, Aunt Rita wanted to steal ALL of the eggs one day when I lifted Mary to check on how many eggs remained, and if any were cracked. She had no reservation about sneaking right in there to settle on the nest.  Later, I noticed that Mary had ousted Rita and reclaimed her babies, but Rita had somehow stolen away four eggs and now lay peaceably next to Mary. The two sisters are "due" in two weekends. The babies are promised upon "weaning" to a friend.

William and I painted some of our black board fence yesterday.


pita-woman said...

horn coral??
Loved wading in a creek when I was a kid looking for crawdads, always barefoot though. Nowadays, considering the crud that's found in the waterways, I don't know if I'd brave it.

Junosmom said...

There is a photo here of the type I often find, though of course not as big. I have found a few that I thought were large - four inches long or so - but according to this website, they can be 6 feet long!

whitetr6 said...

The very fact that he felt badly about the little fish is a rare quality of caring that I believe will stay with him the rest of his life. Too many kids just don't care. And we all know where that comes from.

Cloudia said...

Wish I could attend your class!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Junosmom said...

Whitetr6: He saw the photo of the fish on my blog. "Read it to me" he said. "You didn't tell them I killed the fish, did you?" Such a good heart he has.

Cloudia: I'm sure we could do some science at your place. We were just reading in biology that there are species in Hawaii that exist nowhere else.


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