Monday, March 23, 2009

Welcome Spring!

Reese & I welcomed in Spring Monday with our friends & took a hike!
It was a perfect morning with great buddies...
Reese checks out the map to find our trail...

Gotta have a good walking stick!

OK, so behind this picture is a really nasty story.
But you don't really want to know, right?
It's seriously gross.

OK, well...
We kept finding these great owl pellets along the path.
What is an owl pellet you ask?
Owls swallow their food but cannot process the fur & bones,
So they "vomit" these leftovers formed into tight pellets.

Science supply companies sell owl pellets, and as a middle school student I got to pick an owl pellet apart. Inside are tons of bones, teeth, a skull or two. It truly is fascinating stuff to see what the owl ate!

So imagine my excitement when WE found owl pellets on our hike!

I began picking at them with two sticks...
but that was hard to pick out the bones to show the kids.
Besides, what's a little regurgitated fur & bones on your fingers before your picnic, right?

So I started picking through them with my bare fingers.
We had antibacterial wipes. We had antibac gel.
I figured I'd be clean enough to eat later.

There were certainly neat things in the owl pellets.
We found part of a skull, perhaps a mouse? It had a row of tiny teeth along the jaw.
Really neat!
We also found front teeth that maybe belonged to a rat...
some vertebrae...

I had some extra ziplock baggies with us, so I started putting the owl pellets into the bag for us to take home and pull apart more.

I could not get over how many owl pellets we were finding!

When we got home, I emailed the educational director of our hike location to ask about what kinds of owls live in the area we were hiking.

The email I got back turned my stomach.

Apparently, while there are owls around the area, what I was digging through...
with my bare fingers, right before I ate lunch...

was

COYOTE SCAT!!!!!!!!

Yes, dear friends,
Yours truly was digging into coyote crap. And I carried a bag of coyote crap home, and I split said bag of coyote crap with our friends to take home!

Owl pellets really ARE cool,
Coyote scat looks a LOT like owl pellets and are certainly
NOT COOL.

Moving on....

There were tons of footprints along the path...
A raccoon (below), deer, coyote (duh), dogs....

There were also little bones scattered here & there,
Which I did not have to dig through feces to find...
Ribs...

Our keen-eyed buddy, ER, even found some beaver teeth!

About 2/3 through our hike, we stopped by the creek for lunch....
It was a spectacular day....
Except once we got home.
Then I was just completely GROSSED out...
I won't be leading any nature hikes any time soon!

9 comments:

iheartbowheads.blogspot.com said...

Ha that is a great story :) You are one devoted Mama!

Sandi said...

That is the best story ever! I live right here in coyoteville and I have never heard of such a thing. I love it!!

Now said...

these kinds of things is the reason why i try not to get too much information about things, anyways lovely post and great pics

blessedintexas said...

What an awesome hike! Now I'm even more sad that we missed it. I love it that you dug into the owl pellets/coyote scat! I just bought a book about animal scat for us to use on our little hikes. I would have definitely been digging into it with you :)

spinning in our own direction said...

HA HA HA ROFLMAO!!! That is just WAY WAY too funny!!! I would have been right there with you. WOW look what ms. Heather found!! ... I am so sad I missed digging in the poop with you.. So will there be anything interesting in the $$ store??

Stir Frequently said...

True to my word I did not utter a word of this :) You have done an exceptional job telling the story; any sane person would want to run right out there and check it out for themselves! Of course I can't tell you how happy I am that we got to expereince nature SO up close and personal with you! And dear Alpha Bud friends...you were so close to getting the expereince first hand from a zip lock baggy! The memories still give me a big ole' belly laugh!
Beware the woman with extra zip lock baggies!

Stir Frequently said...

Beware the woman with extra zip lock baggies!

I am SOOO glad we experience this awesome first day of Spring with you...it will be one that will give me the Big Laugh for years!

Heather said...

((GAG)) Too funny...gotta love nature and all of the fantastic animals in it...coyote crap and all! ((Double-GAG))

cbashara said...

What fun!!! When Izzy and I went to Yellowstone I got her the funniest book called 'Who Pooped in the Park'. We had so much dang fun with that book. The truth is that kids know poo and that makes nature so much more relevant for them!