Discovering the Wonders of Nature With Children...Better Bring Bandages & Bug Spray
I recently took the kids on their first trip to Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. No alligators! I so wanted to show the kids some real gators, but I guess it was still too cold. Considering what happened when I introduced the kids to a harmless Red-eared Slider, maybe we were lucky not to encounter any bigger toothier reptiles. Bryce learned the hard way that when a turtle pulls its head in you don't stick your fingers in after, and I learned that children do impulsive things you would never expect them to do. Of course the turtle locked on his finger and gave him a good hard bite.
Afterward I tried to calm down a traumatized Bryce, and to use this little incident as what our President would call a "teachable moment." I'm hoping Bryce learned more than just to be afraid of turtles.
On Saturday I took Bryce to Claiborne West Park in Vidor. Again it was the full nature experience - no turtle attacks, but I did pull ticks off both of us. The swamp was lovely. Leaves are already budding on the trees, and I heard my first Northern Parula of the spring. Bryce was nonplussed, and preferred the playground action.
Today I went to Bear Creek Park in Houston with the intention of seeing the resident flock of Rusty Blackbirds. Figured if I was going to see this species in Texas I had better do so soon, before they dwindle to extinction, which is what they seem to be doing. Apparently I was too late, and they had already dwindled. Or moved on. Anyway I couldn't find one - let alone a whole flock (I know there must be Rusties somewhere closer to home, but in the absence of good information I tried the one place I knew of). But it was a nice day. This Red-headed Woodpecker was my consolation prize: