Just came back from a fabulous walk in one of Barnstable’s many lovely conservation areas. This one was the Otis Atwood area in Marstons Mills and on a lovely sunny spring afternoon the mayflower was in bloom all over, the chickadees were phoebe-phoebe-ing like crazy and we got a great look at a Cooper’s hawk that tried to stare us down but gave up and flew off. My favorite part of the walk was seeing my very first spring azures, the tiny little blue butterflies that seem to arrive just in time for the blooming of the mayflowers!
It’s got everything kids love. It is goopy, slimy, mucky, muddy, dirty, wet, creepy, crawly and even a little scary because you just never know what might jump, pop, slither, or crawl your way without warning.
It is a place to look under rocks and logs, to jump and splash, to find frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles and snakes. Yep, perfect kid place.
This swamp is in Wellfleet on Cape Cod.
You might spy a painted turtle on a rock.
You could stop at a bird blind along the way to see what you could see.
You might see a red-winged blackbird singing and showing off his red epaulets.
You could find a caterpillar like this wooly bear crossing the path. Notice how it curls up to protect itself.
Or a box turtle. This lady was the first to be found on the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary this season. She was brought in to the center to be weighed and measured and checked to see if she was a sanctuary regular. The sanctuary has been keeping records of the box turtle population there for many years and kids love to be part of gathering the data.
Or some Fowler’s toads. These gentlemen had taken a wrong turn and were found in a damp stairwell when we went outside to play some games after lunch. Their black chins and release noise told us they were males. Toads often can’t seem to tell the difference between males and females if they are excited about mating and the males have a special noise they make to let other males know they are not females. The kids were very excited to touch and hold these little toads before we released them far from the stairwell.