Ducks and a (dead) Mudpuppy :: (Unplanned) Nature Study!

It was so nice outside today that we decided to go on a picnic at our local park. Another homeschool family joined us and we had a wonderful time playing and chatting.

Without planning it, we ended up doing quite a bit of nature study.

First, we went to the little pond near the park and observed a family of Mallard ducks. The kids really enjoyed watching the ducklings swim around and listening to them.  I thought it was interesting to see the mom duck round up and direct her little ones. We counted 15 ducklings!

We then went over to the beach area and found some other interesting creatures to look at...even if they were dead!

There were quite a few dead fish washed up on the shore, which we didn't think was a good sign, but it made for interesting nature study. The beach is on Lake St. Clair.

We saw one that we couldn't identify while we were there. Andre thought it was a salamander, and after some research tonight, I think he was right. I am pretty sure it was a Mudpuppy.

They are from the salamander family but spend their lives underwater, which is why they never loose their red gills. You can see them in the photo that shows the underside of it. They are also nocturnal. The one we found was about 12 inches long, including the tail. You can see the four toes on each leg. It looks like this particular was injured on the top. I read somewhere that because of their size, mudpuppies make good canditates for dissection. My kids are really wanting to do this type of science activity, but we didn't think of bringing it home (or if that was even ok to do!).


  1. Great photos, and how interesting about the mudpuppy. We'll be dissecting a few things ourselves this coming school year, but I'll be going the route of specimens well-preserved. : )

  2. I love all the baby ducklings! So sweet and they make for great nature study observations....isn't it great to be on the lookout for subjects and then find something fun?

    Your mud puppy is so interesting....definitely great for a nature study. I know we would be coming home to look more up about him. :)

    Please make sure to submit this to the OHC Blog Carnival!

    Thanks for sharing your link.


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