Friday Fun Day!

Friday Fun Day, what a concept. So my daughter Leane is homeschooling her 3 boys. Known far and wide as “The Dudes”. In order to kind of break up the weekly routine, Leane decided that on Fridays the curriculum should be focused on having some fun as they are learning. And in order to give Leane a small break from being the teacher, housekeeper, cook, laundry technician, and about 100 other jobs, I would assist with some of the Friday Fun Day activities.

So, what better place to go for some outdoor adventures than good old Wylie Slough. I’d been seeing lots of images of the snow geese blanketing the sky, so I figured that would get everybody stoked up. I outlined our learning objectives for Leane and she approved. Suzie made us all a big lunch. We packed up our binoculars and camera gear and hit the road. Oh, and we dressed out in rubber boots and rain coats because it was pouring down rain. Ah, the Pacific Northwest in the fall. (Or spring, or winter, or even the summer).

We broke out the Moleskine notebook and a pen so the dudes could keep a list of the birds they saw. Now I’m not much of a bird “lister” but I thought it would be good for the dudes to take turns being in charge of maintaining the list as we went along. In addition to that, each dude would be picking one of the birds we saw during our excursion and doing some research on their chosen bird. Then they would write a short essay about their bird and complete a simple art project of their bird. Sketch, watercolor, whatever…

Here are some highlights from our day:

For starters, we hit the motherlode on snow geese.

Leane got this photo with her iPhone from the car window.
…and mixed in with the snow geese were plenty of trumpeter swans

As we pulled into the parking area we spotted two eagles. The dudes took turns snapping photos with the Sony a6000 and Tameron 70-300mm lens.

Duke, photographing a bald eagle
He actually captures two eagles in this image
We hiked down the dike trail in the rain and bunkered up in the tiny bird blind
Kingston scanning the slough for waterfowl
Here we see a coot, a bufflehead, a green-winged teal, and a pied-billed grebe… all in one shot.
Cade captured the photo above of the four different birds.

We had a marvelous day and really weren’t bothered too much by the steady rain. The dudes managed to compile a respectable list of birds. Everything from giant trumpeter swans to tiny golden-crowned kinglets.

Great Blue Heron hunting for little fish.

One of the joys of the day was our ability to watch all these different birds going about their daily activities, and us not interfering or altering their behavior at all. This great blue heron let us stand by and watch him spearing fish, the bald eagles were still in the same tree when we returned to the parking area, and all the little birds we saw while eating lunch were just carrying on with their day.

Lunch happened under this nice covered area.

Duke picked the Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove by Duke Danger

The Eurasian Collared-dove (by Duke)

The Eurasian Dove’s habitat is all through America and goes down into Mexico, a little bit of Canada, and in the Caribbean as well. They eat grains such as corn, wheat, sun flower, milo, and millet. They then lay 1-2 egg’s a clutch. Do not touch stray doves because they might have parasites.

Kingston picked the Trumpeter Swan

Kingston’s Trumpeter Swan

 The Trumpeter Swan (by Kingston)

North Americas largest waterfowl, the Trumpeter Swan. This bird lives in lakes and ponds. Its mating grounds are wetlands in remote Alaska, Canada and in Northwest U.S. then when winter starts they move to ice free coastal and inland waters.                                          

This Swan has a wingspan of 6 feet in length and it is over 25 pounds. This species was once endangered but now the the species is recovering population.

 In the 1600’s market hunters and feather collectors had decimated the Trumpeter Swan population. In the 2000s Canada and U.S government conserved land to recover the population.

Cade selected the Anna’s Hummingbird

Cade’s little Anna’s Hummingbird

           Anna’s Hummingbird (by Cade)

         Hummingbirds are one of the smallest families of birds there are. These specific hummingbirds are short and stocky. They have a straight, shortish bill and a large tail that goes past the wing-tips when perching.

        The male’s head and throat are covered in shining reddish-pink feathers that can look dull brown or gray without the sun hitting it. The females are mostly green and gray, without any rufous or orange marks on the body.         

        Anna’s Hummingbirds are the fastest living thing (if you are measuring by body lengths per second) and they are also faster than a rocket entering earth’s atmosphere. The male’s call has a scratchy metallic sound to it. You can look for him perched above head level in trees and shrubs. 


Ok, well that’s a wrap. Thanks for following along.


About Jeff Katzer

Welcome friends. I'm a cyclist, hiker, motorbike rider, kayaker, photographer, videographer, ukulele player, snowshoer, XC skier, and BEST of all - a grandpa. Somewhere in that list above you'll find the theme of the Adventure Journal.
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1 Response to Friday Fun Day!

  1. Timmer says:


    That was a brilliant way to engage the Dudes. Thanks for sharing.


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