Hot Chocolate Walk (Winter Nature Walk by Matt & Julie) at Arboretum on December 29, 2010

We joined Matt and Julie for the Hot Chocolate Walk (Winter Nature Walk) at Arboretum on December 29, 2010. About 50 people including quite a few small kids, came to the Walk. Matt delivered a very nice show-and-tell presentation on wildlife stuff with the help of Julie before the Walk as usual. For example, he showed a northern shrike
’s egg and two shrike’s prey examples; one was a shrew impaled on a twig (or a thorn) by a shrike and the other was a wood frog impaled on a twig (or a thorn). Those were really cool. We’ve never seen any real shrike’s prey examples. In addition, two house sparrows nests with eggs, a mourning dove’s egg and two carrier pigeon’s eggs, and a cowbird’s egg were shown. He brought a dead male house finch (window kills) and two dead Swainson’s thrushes for his presentation as well. As an example other than birds, an old huge giant puffball mushroom was shown and the attendees could touch the giant puffball (see our giant puffball photos).

Matt's Show-and-Tell, for example, Two Northern Shrike’s preys
Photo 1: A Shrew impaled on a twig (or a thorn) by a Northern Shrike  ---  Northern Shrike に木の枝(とげ)に串刺しにされた Shrew
Photo 2:  A Wood Frog impaled on a twig (or a thorn) by a Northern Shrike ---  Northern Shrike に木の枝(とげ)に串刺しにされた Wood Frog カエル

The Hot Chocolate Walk
It was a sunny and not so cold day. A good day for a nature walk. We saw many animal tracks in the snow such as
Squirrel Tracks, Mouse Tracks, Deer Trail, and Rabbit Tracks going toward the Rabbit Hole. We only saw several chickadees during our walk. But the Arboretum with lots of snow was beautiful. We were a little disappointed that we did not see barred owls since we hear people often spot them there. Matt always talks about many nature stuff based upon his experience during his nature walk; for example, “What is the difference between a gray squirrel’s nest and a red squirrel’s nest?*” during the walk. Accordingly, we can learn lots of stuff during Matt & Julie's walk. The walk was awesome.

Photo: 3 Walk Begins | 4 Walk Continues | 5 Winter Wonderland:  a  |  b  
Photo: 6 Squirrel Tracks  リスの足跡 | 7 Mouse Tracks マウスの足跡 | 8 Deer Trail 鹿 | 9 Rabbit Tracks & Hole  野うさぎの足跡と巣穴

* We've learned from naturalist Matt of Arboretum that gray squirrels tend to make nests near the tips of branches using leaves and twigs while red squirrels tend to build nests near trunks using shredded bark. To our surprise, Matt adds, "More Flying Squirrels live in Arboretum than gray squirrels. Flying squirrels often share nests with other squirrels like gray squirrels because flying squirrels are nocturnal (only active at night) while gray squirrels are active during the day. Flying squirrels visit bird feeders at night." That's why we've never seen flying squirrels.     Squirrel's Nest photo

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