More Cicadas & More Parks

I love this time of year!  The dragonflies, cicadas & butterflies are all out in full force.  The weather is still pretty bearable and the parks aren't packed with summer crowds yet.  We've been spending most of our time outside exploring.  I've got yet another new park in Southern Maryland that is officially on my top five favorites list now: Flag Ponds Nature Park.  The beach here is amazing!!  That's not all, though.  There are the woods packed with gigantic old sweetgum, oak, pine, and maple trees that you can tell have been alive for centuries.  The trails wound their way through ponds and swamps as we crept closer towards the Chesapeake Bay.  To me, it resembled scenes from Lord of the Rings.

We arrived with the intent of hiking and flying our kites, and we did that indeed.  We had such an amazing adventure!  We found a cactus that Tristan and Brennan tried to pick up and bring home, which resulted in a lot of pain and tears.  We saw some skinks (it's a type of lizard) and fish.  Charlie got to slosh around in the water and sniff plenty of other dogs.

I recently returned with my friend Claire and we saw even more amazing creatures like crabs, herons, tadpoles, and leaping shrimp.  Did you know shrimp could jump?  They can :)  We had a little picnic on the beach and gathered seashells.  We even got our feet wet (and wicked sunburns)!

Back at home we're still having a great time with the Magicicada Septidecim.  We went on a nature walk to collect skins and ended up with well over 100.  Noah was counting, but his claim of 208 I think was a little high ;)  I also took some videos so anyone interested could hear their chorus.

Our buddy Rolando came out for a quick visit and we brought him to Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum.  I never tire of this place.  We found a lot of dead crabs, mostly blue crabs, and one big ol' horseshoe crab.  For someone who grew up in Ohio this was pretty dang exciting for me, even if they were all dead.  I also got my first sunburn of the year, which I perfected the following day at Flag Ponds with Claire :P  I now own sunscreen haha.

We've also made a couple trips back to the Battle Creek and Cypress Swamp, which is also always fascinating.  We're anxiously awaiting the new owl they acquired to be acclimated to humans and placed in her new cage for all to see.  She's a gorgeous bird!  We're also looking forward to seeing the honeybees' return.  Yesterday the boys got to see the tiny screech owl up close and personal, feed the albino snapping turtle (very exciting), and take a look at the live snakes atop the spiral staircase.  The staff and volunteers at all our parks are awesome!  Noah and I also got to look up our new discovery in the reptile & amphibian handbook they had on hand while nestled in a gigantic hollowed out cypress tree.  It was a rough green snake, by the way.  Never did get a picture of him, but he was really thin and about 2ft long.  Very cool little guy to find hanging around the yard.

So, as you can see, we've had an action-packed fun-filled month.  Also of note: my garden is producing a family-sized bowl of salad every 3 days or so.  Yay!! :)

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