Nature Walks – December (Plus a Leaf Pop Quiz)

“So come, get ready. Don’t delay!  We’re on a nature trail today!”

~Maurice Pledger, from In The Forest

The weather fluctuated between warmer and colder this month, sometimes calling us out and other times making us want to stay in.  With all of the preparations for the holidays, we didn’t make it out as much on our nature walks as in other months, but Elizabeth and I did go out one day while Paul was sleeping and saw lots of interesting things.  As well, the pictures being produced by my camera just aren’t up to par anymore and I’m wondering if maybe I ought to invest in another one.  Even so, here are some pictures from around our garden and bird feeders on a cooler day, and a warmer one.

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Elizabeth found this leaf with ice crystals on it under the bird feeder.  Can you identify the leaf (A)?

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She also noticed these ice crystals in the dirt, and asked me what they were.  The picture is so neat to me that I made it the header on my other blog, Seedling.  Can you ID that leaf (B)?

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On a warmer day, while Brother was sleeping, we headed outside just the two of us for a little while.  Down by the garden we saw all sorts of neat things, like this black walnut half partially filled with water.  This of course came back to the house with us. 🙂

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I then showed Elizabeth the money-face leaf-scars that the leaves leave behind when they fall off in the fall.  Whew!  Say that three times quickly.  They are sideways in my picture, with the chin on the right-hand side.  You can also see some fuzzy leaf-buds forming during the tree’s winter dormancy.  (Actually, you can see the monkey face on the stick next to the walnut half above, but I like this picture too, so I’m gonna leave it.)

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Elizabeth also found a large leaf that she liked.  After drilling her on what kind of leaf it is, I took a close up of the texture of it’s back-side.  Can you guess what kind it is (C)?

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Lastly, we went into the garden and our boots got really, really, really muddy as we looked around.  I found some cotton-tailed rabbit scat, which was very interesting to Elizabeth.  She then spotted two more piles.  I wanted to take a picture for the sake of this post, but couldn’t locate the first pile, which was a little bit bigger and ‘neater’ (as in one spot), and she was the one who was able to find it again.  Future naturalist.  Do you know what kind of leaf is laying above the scat (D)?

Pop quiz: Identify the leaves in the pictures (A-D), and let me know your answers in the comments section.  Good luck!

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