We seem to be feast or famine when it comes to nature study, and I’ve come to accept that. When the opportunity to explore nature arises, we take it wholeheartedly. (Likewise, when the chances aren’t there, I refuse to feel guilt about it. ) So the weekly nature study hasn’t been our norm even though I love the concept. If we lived in a rural area, I think it would happen, but urban life honestly makes nature study more challenging.
During our overnight stay in the countryside, our friend took us to the river to find crabs. We didn’t find any crabs, but on our two hour walk each way, we had plenty of other nature finds!
We mostly walked through farmer’s fields like these.
But of course, we walked on the paths that keep you out of the paddies. We still ended up quite muddy, though. But that’s part of the charm of a nature walk.
Everywhere were ducks! And later we understood why.
We had seen these red balls at the riverbank near our home, but we couldn’t figure out what they were. Our friend told us they were snail eggs.
Once we started looking, we saw snails everywhere — small ones and huge ones.
After doing some research online, I realized why the ducks were in all the rice fields. They eat the snails! Too many snails can ruin the rice crop, but the ducks keep them at bay. (And people eat the large snails.)
A puppy followed us until we had to wade through water. Then he went back home.
We picked tangerines on the way for snacks. (Our friend told us which trees were his friends’ trees.)
We passed country homes and barns.
Finally we went down to the river bank and crossed over a grassy area with some pools of water. (It was basically a river’s equivalent of tide pools.) We ended up just taking off our socks and shoes and wading through the cold water. It was quite exhilarating.
This water buffalo chased us until it reached the end of its tether. Thank goodness we all got away! It was pretty scary, but of course made for lots of joking and brave stories later.
Wildlife was abundant — goats out to graze, a crayfish,
We stood watching this dredging operation for quite a long time. The machines were picking up river stones from the riverbed and sorting them by size.
We caught a tiny catfish and even managed to get him all the way home. After keeping him for two days, we set it free in the little pond area in our own apartment complex. The Handbook of Nature Study calls this fish a bullhead fish.
Here is the nature journal page about the snails and their eggs.