Saturday, October 27, 2018

Term Four: Week Two ~ Aussie Bird Count and Homeschool Excursion

This was a VERY busy week for us. Not only did we take part in the Aussie Bird Count, but we also attended an excursion with our homeschool group to visit the new Return and Earn bottle and can recycling depot. In between all that excitement, we did a LOT of reading and kept working hard on our assigned written work.

I started Monkey on a new unit in our writing curriculum (narratives) so we did one together. I used the whiteboard and the two boys brainstormed a collaborative key word outline together before writing their own separate paragraphs. 

Thursday we enjoyed a massive afternoon out. We went to the library (per our usual schedule) and also visited four parks to participate in the Aussie Bird Count. At each park we spent 20 minutes observing and recording what kinds of birds were in the area. 

 Munchkin is a bit young to participate in the bird count, and Monkey also chose to opt out, so they played in the playground while Monster observed the birds and documented the species he saw.

Ibis are always EVERYWHERE!  They are scavengers so are a frequent guest at parks, playgrounds and school yards. 

Noisy Miner 

The water feature is always fun, even when the weather isn't all that warm. Sadly part of it is broken and we're not sure when, or if, the council is going to fix it. 

At our next park we were greeted with a flock of Little Corellas, commonly known as Bare Eyed Cockatoos because there are no feathers around their eyes. 

I took this photo especially for my uncle (though the bird wasn't very cooperative) as he is amazed at cockatoos ability to grasp food in their claws while they eat. 

There are always heaps of pigeons and ducks near this water as MANY people feed them. 

Dusky Moorhens 

Pacific Black Ducks (including 11 babies) 

We were super excited to see the baby ducks!! 

Blue-Billed Duck 

These are some kind of hybrid geese, and this isn't a great photo because they were on the opposite side of the water to us. I used my telephoto lens but this was the best I could get. 

Little Black Cormorant 

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo 

We are helping my cousin's son out with his Flat Stanley project, so I took this photo of Monster with Flat Stanley to show that he accompanied us on our Aussie Bird Count Excursion. 

Friday morning we met with our homeschool group at another nearby suburb to tour the Return and Earn Recycling Depot.  NSW just recently started a program for the public to receive 10c for every plastic bottle, can, and some glass bottles they return. It was neat to tour the facility and see how they sort and deal with all our rubbish. 

Of course, the irony is that as soon as the refund came into effect, the sale of the drinks whose bottles are part of the scheme, went up. So people are actually spending MORE money on the drinks, purely because they get a refund on the bottles. The cost of the average 1.25 litre drink bottle is about $1 (if you buy generic brand soft drink) so just think that one through...  

All the cans and bottles that people bring in are dumped into this giant rotating machine... 

It lines them up to go single file down a conveyor belt (left hand side of the photo) and into a scanning machine (grey box at the top left hand side of the photo). That machine scans the label and tells the next machine if it is glass, plastic or can, so that they get sorted into the proper container. 

When those containers get full... the staff at the centre use a fork lift... 

to lift the container... 

high into the air... 

and into this HUGE container!! This was the highlight of the day for many of the children - though the noise was deafening!!  Once this giant container is full it is shipped off to another recycling centre.  It was an interesting morning and I'm glad we were able to attend. 

Once we finished there we headed off to a park nearby (a new one we had never been to) for lunch and a play with our friends. Again, Monster participated in some Aussie Bird counts - one near the playground area, and one near the water which was quite a ways away. 

If you look closely in the above photo you can see that I drew a black circle in the middle of the photo. There is a bird's nest there. Monster was thrilled to find the bird (see photos below for the name) and the nest. He took these pictures. The tree was across the park from our picnic table and I needed to keep an eye on Munchkin, so he took my camera and did his own photography. 

Australasian Fig Bird 

 Monkey's turn to be photographed with Flat Stanley... I wanted a photo of Flat Stanley in the recycling centre as well, but it was too busy and crowded.

The second Aussie Bird count near the water yielded mostly ducks, geese and pigeons. We didn't complete the full 20 minutes because there were some magpies around. They are very territorial when they are nesting so we decided to give them their space rather than risk being swooped. 

We did LOTS of reading this week... the two older boys LOVE these Jedi Academy books. 

 Picture book selections for Munchkin... and you'll notice an Elmer theme as you scroll through!!

 Australian history read alouds for Monkey!  I loved the Great Explorers book - especially since it had much more accurate information about Christopher Columbus than what I was taught in school.

 Science and Geography read aloud selections for the older boys...

Munchkin is doing REALLY well with these early readers... time to put the next level on reserve at the library. 

Munchkin's other favourite series at the moment is Splat the Cat! 

 Easy independent reading selections for Monster.

Monkey and I continue to work through the Our Australian Girl series as part of his Australian History unit. 

 We borrowed EVERY Elmer book the library system has!!

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