Wednesday, 26 September 2012

September Nature Notebook

It's the first month of spring here in Australia and everywhere nature is coming alive after a short slumber. We noticed it firstly with the native animals. Living in a valley, our deciduous plants are usually a few weeks behind in their flowering compared to those up in the sun but we start to see the larger lizards early in September.

Our first real indication that the natives were stirring came on the weekend with the appearance of an Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii).

This is my 17 yr old son's journal entry - the extraordinary in the ordinary.....

Some of our best nature study happens unexpectantly. We were mulching the garden the other day & one of the boys flicked what he thought was a twig off his leg and then realised that it was a stick insect, (phasmids = phantomlike):

Another unexpected find: a possum hiding under the rubbish bin. Possums are marsupial mammals ie. they have pouches & their babies are born in a very undeveloped state.

The September Outdoor Hour newsletter suggested some ideas for nature study. The challenges we did were:

*  Draw an insect in your nature journal and label its parts.
*  Observe an insect and note its means of camouflage.
*  Visit a pond or creek and look for insects.

Below is my 12 yr old's journal entry for part of this challenge:

The notebook page below was my 15 yr old's journal entry after finding the possum above. The notebook pages are from the Outdoor Nature Challenge Blog freebie's page.

We used some ideas from the OHC and planted a few different coloured pansies. My 7 yr old daughter was taken with the idea of a pansy resembling a human face.

This is her brush painting entry in her journal:

This is my attempt below.

Wisteria (a deciduous vine which is a member of the pea-flower family) alive with bees - which my camera didn't pick up as far as I can see.

We went for a walk at the local creek just down the road and the younger ones did this scavenger hunt.

The Australian Museum is a place we've found to be very helpful for information on native creatures.
This Pinterest page has some great images for nature study inspiration.

Here are some more of our nature encounters this past month.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree.....

The 'bower' of a male Satin Bowerbird. Looks like one of our clothes pegs down on the left hand side. Some interesting facts & photos can be found here.

A rainbow lorikeet - Australian birds often look spectacular but sound terrible!

A couple of galahs feeding on the side of the road.

'Above all, it is hoped that the habit of open-air study will make life more satisfying to many. We have to forget ourselves in order to find ourselves; and an interest in Nature, aroused in youth, will not only save a man from much useless fretting, but will do much to awaken powers that add to the worth and dignity of life.'
W. Gillies.

Monday, 3 September 2012


We listen to our current folksong about once each day generally. My youngest son requested Drunken Sailor and he pumps it out on the piano with his little sister keeping time on the drums, sort of.

The chords are very simple if you have a piano or guitar - see here /text/lyrics/drunken_sailor_crd.txt and the song is so simple you'll probably only need to listen to it for a short time.

By the way, the reference to the 'Captain's daughter' in one of the verses is refering to the cat o' nine tails. If you want to skip that part it comes in at 1 min 25 seconds which is just over half way through the song so you'll still get a few verses which will be well and truly enough to get a feel for this rollicking version.

Have a look at