wetlands

You Won’t Egret It

You Won’t Egret It

We’re meeting a wonderful shore bird today. These bright white beauties are hard to miss and one of our favorites.

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GREAT EGRET FUN FACTS:

  • These wading birds are found on coasts, lakes and rivers. Like their cousins the heron, they can be found in fresh, brackish and salt water.
  • Great egrets are carnivores. They use their big pointy beaks to grab fish, crustaceans and amphibians.
  • During mating season, egrets grow extra plums on their backs to attract mates.
  • These majestic birds have a wingspan of up to 57 inches. They are large, but slow fliers.
  • Almost hunted to extinction for their feathers, the birds have made a strong comeback due to protection efforts.
  • They are also the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

We love these birds as much as we love the Great Blue Heron. Luckily they are easy to spot with their bright white feathers.

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, camp, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, rivers, science, Today's Post, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That is One Big Snake

That is One Big Snake

We are meeting another amazing animal of the Pantanal today! This reptile is largest snake by weight in the world. That’s why we are glad we saw it from a boat!

 

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Green anaconda fun facts: 

  • Green anacondas are giants! They can get up to 29 ft long and weigh over 500 lbs. Just to give you an idea of how long that is- a school bus is 45 ft- so they would take up 2/3 of it.
  • Females are larger than males!
  • The constrictors are carnivores. They eat small mammals, caiman and some reptiles.
  • Like other snakes, they have stretchy ligaments in their jaw that allow them to open wide and swallow large prey whole.
  • These reptiles can go weeks after eating a big meal.
  • They are mostly nocturnal!
  • Female anacondas give birth to live young, that hatch in her body! They are independent of their mothers immediately after being born.

These giants are amazing! We know people fear snakes, but we think they are awesome! These predators have been around for 100 million years, so maybe it’s time to take a new look at our legless friends and start appreciating how truly great they are!

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, reptiles, science, Today's Post, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FEATHERY FRIDAY # 63

FEATHERY FRIDAY #63

It’s Feathery Friday and we’re off to Eastern Asia to meet a colorful duck! Let’s grab a picnic lunch and head off to watch ducks all afternoon!

E & E lake

MEET THE MANDARIN DUCK!

mandarin     Range/Habitat: Northwestern Europe-Eastern Asia/ woods, wetlands,

lakes

    Diet: Omnivore: seeds, nuts, insects

    Length/Weight: 16-19”/ 22 oz

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Mandarin Ducks perch and nest in trees instead of the ground like most ducks.
  • Breeding male Mandarin ducks have some of the most brightly colored plumage of all ducks.
  • Female Mandarin ducks are brown.
  • They have long broad tails to help them fly.
  • Mandarin ducks have sharp claws to help them rest in trees.
  • Mandarin duck ducklings must jump from the nest when they are very young.

 

Mandarin ducks are so gorgeous with their bright colors and feathers. We could watch them all day. Do you like sitting by a pond and watching ducks?

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Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FEATHERY FRIDAY #57

FEATHERY FRIDAY #57

It’s Feathery Friday and we’re going to meet a little bird who calls the wetlands of Europe home. So let’s grab our binoculars and wellies and head off for some bird watching fun!

e & e wetlands

MEET THE SPOTTED CRAKE!

spotted crake   Range/Habitat: Europe-Asia-Africa/wetlands, marshes

   Diet: Omnivore: algae, insects, aquatic animals

   Length/Weight: 9-9 ½”/ 2-5 oz

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Spotted Crakes are small secretive bird.
  • Their feathers camouflage with the reeds and plants of the wetlands.
  • Spotted Crakes bob their heads while they walk.
  • Spotted crakes are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).
  • They are not very vocal.
  • Spotted crakes use their bills to find food in the mud.

Spotted Crakes are cute little birds. They fit in perfectly in their habitat. If you were a bird what habitat would you decide to live in?

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Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

MAMMAL MONDAY # 51

MAMMAL MONDAY #51

We’re going to West Africa today to meet a member of the cattle family who lives in marshes! That’s right everyone, these guys can swim! So let’s grab our wellies and head out into the marshland to meet…

MEET THE SITATUNGA!

   Range/Habitat: West-Central Africa/ wetlands-swamps

   Diet: Herbivore: aquatic plants

   Length/Weight: 4-5 ½ ft/ 110-280 lbs

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Sitatungas are also called the Marshbuck.
  • They have hooves that are made for walking on muddy ground.
  • Sitatungas are excellent swimmers.
  • Male Sitatungas have long pointed horns.
  • They are crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk).
  • Female Sitatungas live in small herds.

Sitatungas are really handsome! It is so cool that spend so much of their time in marshes. They have such neat feet that are built for living in a squishy habitat! Would you ever want to live in a marsh?

 

Categories: adventure, africa, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, mammals, nature, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FEATHERY FRIDAY # 48

FEATHERY FRIDAY #48

It’s Feathery Friday and we’re going to Africa to meet an inhabitant of the marshes! These colorful birds love wading through the mud to find a tasty meal. So let’s put on our waders and go meet…

MEET THE GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE!

   Range/Habitat: Africa-Southeast Asia-Australia/ wetlands, marshes

   Diet: Omnivore: invertebrates, seeds, grasses

   Length/Weight: 9-11”/ 3 ¼-7 oz

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Greater Painted-Snipes have white eye patches and colorful tan-cream feathers.
  • They use their long beaks to find prey in the mud.
  • Greater Painted-Snipes have long legs for wading.
  • They are not graceful or good fliers.
  • Greater Painted-Snipes are shy and are often hard to spot.
  • Male Greater Painted-Snipes incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.

These fun little birds are built to live in their marshy habitats. How cool is it that the dads do all the work raising the chicks? Way to go dads!

  

Categories: adventure, africa, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WATERY WEDNESDAY # 47

WATERY WENESDAY # 47

It’s Watery Wednesday and we’re going diving in a Pacific coral reef to meet a fish who can blow a mean horn! Ok, they can’t actually play the trumpet, but they are pretty cute! Let’s do this!

MEET THE TRUMPETFISH!

   Range/Habitat: Pacific-Indian Ocean/ coral reef

   Diet: Carnivore: small fish

   Length: up to 32”

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Trumpetfish have long slender bodies and long snouts.
  • They are ambush predators.
  • Trumpetfish are yellow or brown in color.
  • They camouflage among the coral by floating vertically head down.
  • Trumpetfish have small jaws and usually suck in their prey.

 

Trumpetfish are masters of camouflage! They just float around looking like coral til their prey swims by and grabs them! If you could camouflage in any habitat what would it be?

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, Children, conservation, education, Environment, fish, nature, oceans, science, wetlands | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FEATHERY FRIDAY # 46

FEATHERY FRIDAY #46

We’re staying in North America today to meet a bird who is a master at camouflage! They live near rivers and lakes, because that’s where their favorite prey lives. Grab your walking stick, best observation skills and binoculars and let’s go!

MEET THE AMERICAN BITTERN!

   Range/Habitat: North America-Central America/ wetlands, marshes, rivers

   Diet: Carnivore: fish, frogs

   Length/Weight: 23 ½-34”/ 18-32 oz

   Conservation Status: common

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • American Bitterns have mottled brown feathers that are perfect at helping them camouflage in their habitat.
  • They are members of the heron family.
  • American Bitterns use their dagger like bills to catch their prey.
  • They are solitary.
  • American Bitterns point their bills in the air and sway with the grass to avoid being detected by predators.
  • They have a loud booming call that sounds like a drum.

These small members of the heron family sure are neat! We love their funny call! Now all we need is a washboard and a banjo playing bird and we could have one awesome marsh bird band! Hahaha!

  

 

 

Categories: adventure, Animals, birds, Children, conservation, education, Environment, nature, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

REPTILIAN TUESDAY # 41

REPTILIAN TUESDAY # 41

Let’s pack our bags and head off to the Far East today to find a brightly colored lizard! Grab your wellies because we’re heading into the wetlands to locate these little reptiles! Are you ready?

MEET THE CHINESE CROCODILE LIZARD!

   Range/Habitat: East Asia (China)/ wetlands

   Diet: Carnivore: fish, tadpoles, insects

   Length: 15- 18”

   Conservation Status: vulnerable

 

 

Fun Facts:

  • Chinese crocodile lizards have enlarged scales down their tails, similar looking to crocodiles.
  • They live near or in watery habitats.
  • Chinese crocodile lizards are excellent swimmers and can stay submerged for long periods of time.
  • They will “freeze” or stay perfectly still for hours to defend themselves.
  • They can even shut down on extremely cold evenings.
  • Chinese crocodile lizards are called by local people “lizards of great sleepiness”.
  • Male Chinese crocodile lizards are more colorful than the females.

Wow! These lizards are amazing! They look a bit like little dinosaurs. Watching them has made us soooo sleepy. Who else needs a nap?

  

 

Categories: Animals, Children, education, Environment, lizards, nature, reptiles, science, wetlands, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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