Spring Studies and Salamanders

This spring we have finished most of our “formal” studies and have enjoyed shifting our learning to more relaxed pace of nature exploration and outdoor pursuits.

On our walks we have observed orchids, woodpeckers, owl pellets, dragonfly larvae, and one of our favorite, caddisfly larvae. These invertebrates are fascinating as they build their own homes with materials such as tree needles, shells or pebbles.

 

On a recent walk with friends we collected some eggs from a drying up ditch, and a few tadpoles that had already hatched. Over the next couple weeks we have been enthralled watching pond life in our aquarium.  We have observed a mosquito larvae change to a pupa. We have watched the caddisfly’s build onto their homes. There are many tiny tiny insects jumping up in down in the water. The most exciting find was noticing our tadpoles looked different. We had in fact gathered two different kinds. I was stumped as to what one of them was. They are a spotted brown color and have external gills. This is when after a quick google search we realized we have salamanders!

 

I’m quite excited to see all the changes in our “pond.” If anyone one has suggestions on how to keep our little ecosystem alive and happy, and any information on salamanders it would be greatly appreciated!