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We were at Hartje, second graders and me.  We saw no snakes but we did see a cat prowling in the pumpkin patch.  Earlier, before school started, I was looking for worms and found a nest of mice--very cute little ones and so I am guessing there are lots out there.  Also, the other day one of the students picked out a pumpkin, we cut it and he found that it was completely hollowed out except for the seeds.  We think it was mice.
Also today I was with first graders at the Girl Scout woods.  We did not see any deer nor did we find and Bald Faced Hornets bedded down for the winter but we did find worms, centipeded, and millipedes.
Both were great trips.

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posted May 7, 2018, 6:24 PM by soac@rucls.net

Necedah National wildlife refuge was the destination today. the children learned about birds, water bugs--we saw water scorpions, scuds, mites, leeches and a tadpole, But we also saw Swans.  One of the more interesting things for me was very large scat, with bones--Bear? Wolf? bobcat? Lynx?  I don't know but I have never seen scat like that around here.

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posted May 6, 2018, 3:09 PM by soac@rucls.net

It has been a long, long time.  My trail cam on the Decomposition site is only capturing people observing and some Turkey Vultures--no coyotes, foxes or raccoons!
Friday on a trip with 4th graders from St. Peters to Mirror Lake we saw a bunch of broken turtle shells.  We suspected they had been eaten by raccoons but then we found 4 baby painted turtles!  The kids (and me) we loved it.
Frogs are croaking but I have not heard the toads yet.  I am expecting to hear them this coming week.
I am also hoping to  do some gardening at Hartje this week with Loganville School.

4/4/15

posted Apr 4, 2015, 2:22 PM by soac@rucls.net

The Frogs are back!  I have heard, loud and clear, Spring Peepers, Chorus Frogs and Wood Frogs.  The Cranes have also been back for about two weeks.  It is great to have all these Friends back

9/29/14

posted Sep 29, 2014, 6:31 PM by soac@rucls.net

Went canoeing today at Mirror lake State Park with 2nd graders.  It was warm, calm and beautiful with the changing colors.  We saw on turtle, Bryazoans on the dock posts, lots of ducks, a heron and lilly pads.
  It was great to be canoeing.  By the end of the day it was much colder and rainy.
Gary

7/31/14

posted Jul 31, 2014, 9:32 AM by soac@rucls.net

It has been a long time.  Four SOAC Trips:  Loons at Turtle and Big Bay, Cormorants at Big Bay, some of the kids say they saw bears on our way up north,  a huge rabbit at Amnicon,  lots of larvae in the Amnicon River (looked like leeches).
Yesterday at Mirror Lake we found lots of Bryazoans in the water.  It made us wonder why Mirror Lake is the home to so many and we wished we could find more information about them.
Gary

5/25/14

posted May 30, 2014, 6:10 AM by Jessica Gross

There have been seven Leopard frogs in the yard this past weekend.  Six of them have been sitting on the island in the pond and one was hopping toward the pond from the garden.  My best guess is that the tadpoles that I put in the pond turned into these frogs and they have come back after a long cold winter.
This is great.
Gary

5/29/14

posted May 29, 2014, 3:01 PM by soac@rucls.net

What a day!  The big find today--one of the moms, Heather Whitter, found a baby soft shelled turtle.  What a beautiful little animal--she showed it to the group and then let it go.
She also found a nice sized Crayfish.
Finally, I caught a water snake and showed it off to all those interested.
Gary

5/23/14

posted May 23, 2014, 5:46 PM by soac@rucls.net

It has been a great week for snakes!  Cool nights and warm days.  Yesterday we saw three water snakes at Popple nature Center--the most that I have seen in a couple years.  They were all out in the water so no one was trying to touch them.  Today,  a big day,  We were at Hartje Pond and while I was waiting for the kindergarten class to come I was looking for snakes and then I saw a big brown mottled snake--very heavy.  I looked closer and realized it was a hognose.  I have never caught one barehanded without the help of a stick or something.  I reached for it and grabbed it by the tail,  it did not rear back and try to bite me but held up his head and pretended to be a cobra--very impressive.  After this he buried his head in the grass and I chose to grab him as close to his head as I could see and then just move my fingers closer to his head--it worked.  I brought him out and the kindergartners were approaching.  they were excited about seeing the snake but not nearly as excited as I was about it being a hognose.
Gary

5/4/14

posted May 4, 2014, 4:26 PM by soac@rucls.net

5/4/14
It has been a while since I noted anything.  I sort of missed the winter.
Now that it is spring, or at least according to the calendar, I can start noting things again.
so far we have seen a red belly snake and two garter snakes.  At Mirror Lake the other day we say an Osprey, an Eagle,  lots of swallows, a couple muskrats, Mergansers, Blue Winged teals and Mallards.
The Spring Flowers were not yet up at Mirror lake.

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posted Feb 1, 2014, 4:14 PM by soac@rucls.net

2/1/14
It was close to 32 degrees today and great for a walk in the woods.  More and more bird sounds are being
heard.  Today I recognized an owl, doves (but they have been around all winter) and after listening to my bird tapes, a Harris Sparrow.  It is so good to hear the birds again.
Gary

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