Friday, May 27, 2011

Some Cool Finds at the Park

Another great day with lots of cool finds in the park. Today, Miranda and I were visited by the first graders from Indianapolis Public School 90. These energetic students were eager to learn and had very sharp eyes! One of our finds is in the following pictures. See if you can spot it!

Okay, I will give you a hint, it is right in the middle of the photo below, circled in red. :)

 Here is a closer shot, you might be able to make it out in the next photo.

Now I am quite confident you will be able to see it in this next photo. Don't feel bad if you couldn't spot it in the other photos. I couldn't find it at first when Miranda showed it to me.

Mama robin sitting on her nest! She was well-camouflaged. Most of the children were able to see the male robin busily harvesting juicy worms from the dirt in the turf grass below the nest.

One of the students spied this male Luna Moth, Actias luna, fluttering its wings in this Spicebush shrub. This was a special treat because you don't get to see Luna Moths everyday. Seeing the moth was many of the students favorite part of the trip. You can see a better shot of its wings in this post.

Here is a closer view of the moth. The feathery antennae of the male help it locate the female by detecting pheromones she emits from her abdomen. He can pick up her scent from miles away. The Luna Moths have a short life-cycle, and only live up to seven days. Because they live for such a short time, they do not have mouthparts and do not feed. 

Since we have had a few storms in the last couple of days, some of the American Tulip Trees, Liriodendron tulipifera, had lost a few of their blossoms. The children were fascinated with the beautiful flowers. You can see the leaf of the tree in this photo, which I think looks a little like a cat's face. (Use your imagination, people. :) )The ears are the two pointed lobes on the top part of the leaf and the two lobes on the side of the leaf resemble the cat's whiskers.

This is a closeup of one of my favorite flowers with its pale yellow petals accented with brilliant orange. The trees are so tall and stately and produce tons of gorgeous blossoms. And the scientific name is very fitting-Liriodendron means "lily tree".

Another great day out! Look for Luna Moths, Tulip Tree blossoms and robin nests on your outdoor adventures this weekend!

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