For three days, Calgary has enjoyed beautiful temperatures. It has been a long winter…lots of snow and bitter cold. In fact, this has been such a melt that on many intersections throughout the city, the drainage doesn’t seem to be sufficient or blocked, to the detriment to some homes.
Mike Drew of the Calgary Sun captured this image of a residence in Sunnyside.
In the morning, Max-walking is dangerous, given that this water freezes up and leaves the sidewalks, virtual skating rinks.
Apart from these symptoms of changing weather, there are some beautiful moments in nature. We just got home from our daily walk about Frank’s Flats and it is absolutely breath taking. Lately, I’ve noticed magpies flying with pieces of nesting material dangling haphazardly from their beaks as they instinctively prepare their nests.
I’m a huge fan of Duke Farm’s Live Eagle Cam. It was an awesome thing, this year, to witness the laying of three eggs. The notations from the site are as follows and a still photo I just saved a moment ago. I encourage my birder-readers to follow the progress of this family. What magic to witness male and female trading off places in the nest and sharing the responsibilities for the eggs. The history of Duke Farms can be read here.
Update 2/24/2014A 3rd egg was laid on 2/23/2014 in the afternoon. Thanks you viewers for your valuable observations throughout the nesting season.
A 2nd egg was laid the afternoon of 2/20/2014.
An egg was laid in the afternoon of 2/17/2014*. Snow in the nest should begin to dissipate as temps rise during the day over the next few days. The cam will remain zoomed close in on the nest bowl to aid in detection of additional eggs.
Soft grasses are being deposited in the nest bowl to act as cushioning and insulation, these signs are usually a prelude to egg laying behavior.
So, today…teaching grade one…while I was tempted to make art around St. Patrick’s Day, our Lenten Journey, the Stations of the Cross or Penguins!!! I ended up following my own muse, the nesting birds. And the children did NOT disappoint.
Where’s our teacher? Are you our teacher? Yeah! We get to paint!
Off with the coats there, buddies! On with the shoes!
Who is the engine? Who is the caboose? The caboose isn’t here! Oh, no! Pick a caboose, will you and take this attendance down, please.
Announcements. O’ Canada. Prayer.
I saw a magpie carrying a great big branch while it was flying the other day!
IT WAS BUILDING A NEST!
It’s so warm and the snow is melting.
IT’S GOING TO LAY A EGG!
A nest is like a bowl…do you remember what horizontal means?
WIDE!! (I notice, with this response, that the grade ones have been measuring things…they have a whole new vocabulary!)
Do you remember what vertical means? You’re right! Up and down!
Today you may choose to build a nest on vertical sky OR horizontal sky…whatever you wish. Remember that the nest will fall out if there are not enough branches. I’ll show you a bowl shape in some branches. (I demonstrate a BIG drawing on a vertical piece and then on a horizontal piece of blue construction paper). Three branches will work…or four…or five. The nest (to repeat) looks like a bowl.
Grab your chalk…you can do your sketch now. As I’m stirring up some earth tones of paint at the paint center I ask the children if they remember the THREE steps to painting…
Oops! We forgot a step!
Yes…please wipe your extra paint off of your brushes.
The students use the paint station with finesse, two hands on buckets…walking…taking turns. Let’s use the darkest brown for the inside of the nest. It will show that it is deep and dark…a good place to sleep. OF COURSE WE CAN PAINT LEAVES! I quickly mix up five different greens. Trading off begins and the paintings are set aside to dry.
We go to the reading corner to share in the rhyming poem, Five Little Penguins…yes, readers, you’ve got it…same as the Five Little Monkeys! We talk about visits to the Calgary Zoo.
After recess and recess snacks, we add our nesting materials into the mix…talk about birds collecting strings and grass…and talk about how penguins nest. We talk about how the Dad sits on the egg while Mama goes to eat fish…and how Mama sits on the egg while Dad goes to eat fish. We cut and paste and then add in the birds. BEAUTIFUL! Let’s set them aside so that the glue can dry. Hailey says out loud, as she’s placing her nest gently on the corner, “I love mine.” I think to myself, “This is what’s really important.”
Printing…letter w! Here we go!