Homeschool Pond Study – Mid-April

swan - homeschool pond study

Life at our pond is hotting up. We’ve noticed new signs of spring each week since our first trip. One of the most welcome is the temperature – so mild, we were actually able to sit on our blanket and quietly watch the pond for a while, which was heavenly!

Nesting and Mating

This week’s big excitement was a swan nesting on the island.  At least it looked like it was sitting on a nest.  When it briefly got off the nest we didn’t see any eggs, but we supposed they were buried within the nest to stay warm? (Or was it practising??! We’re all learning around here!)

nesting swan - homeschool pond study
Nesting swan


homeschool pond study
C(9) sketching the nesting swan


swan sketch - homeschool pond study
C(9)’s nature journal

C(9) sketched the nesting swan in her nature journal while J(8) got busy with our new gadget, a digital aquarium thermometer.

Testing pond water temperature
J(8) tries out the gadget


child's nature journal
J(8)’s nature journal

We saw a coot swoop low over the pond with a short willow branch in its beak.  It landed near the base of a willow tree where we later spotted it on its nest.

Some of the mallard ducks had found mates – we counted at least two pairs – but the male mallards still heavily outnumber the females.

Mallard ducks - homeschool pond study
The males seemed to go round in gangs!


Identifying Our Birds

We’ve seen one pair of geese at our pond with very unusual markings.  When we got home we used the excellent online RSPB bird identifier to work out that they are Egyptian Geese (how exotic!). Apparently these geese were introduced to ornamental ponds and have now begun to breed in the wild.

egyptian geese - homeschool pond study.JPG
Egyptian Geese

This very sweet little thing was dabbling around the “moat” by the island on its own. It was very tame, and quite talkative. The RSPB bird identifier wasn’t able to help us with this one.  Our best guess is that it’s a juvenile of some sort.  If you have any idea what it is, please do let me know!

Mystery duck collage
Sweet little mystery duck

We also saw a pair of jackdaws and – far off in the distance – a  pied wagtail (thank you, RSPB identifier!).

jackdaw - homeschool pond study.JPG
Jackdaw – one of a pair


pied wagtail - homeschool pond study
Pied wagtail – a bit blurry in the distance


identifying birds - homeschool pond study
Using the RSPB bird identifier


The willow tree that J(8) has chosen to study has begun to grow leaves.

new willow leaves - homeschool pond study
New willow leaves

We brought a bit home to sketch. I love how when you draw something you see it in a totally new way. Mixing up watercolours helped us focus on the leaf colours, too.

Nature study watercolour


watercolour willow branch - homeschool pond study
J(8)’s watercolour willow branch


watercolour willow branch - homeschool pond study
My watercolour willow branch


Homeschool pond study
(I was there too …)


For more outdoor fun, visit Country Kids from Coombe Mill.



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26 thoughts on “Homeschool Pond Study – Mid-April

  1. Gary and I keep looking at your pond, convinced we’ve been there before!! It’s a stunning pond, with such a variety of wildlife. We occasionally get swans but they never stay longer than a month or so, simply because our pond is too small to support them. Lucky you- I think they would be one of my favourite birds. We’ll have to do a field trip to each other’s ponds at the end of the year!!

    1. I will email you where we are! Wouldn’t that be fun?! Yes it will be lovely if our swans to have cygnets. I was getting so excited yesterday about the prospect of all the fluffy chickie things waddling around soon 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂 I always considered myself completely unartistic but homeschooling is giving me the chance to do it alongside the children and I’m loving it. Funny how school is like that – if you’re academic, it’s hard to be artistic too, isn’t it? You really have opened up a new world to us with this pond study idea. This morning I found myself gathering branches to draw as I walked the dog on my own! (managed to save most of them from being chewed as sticks!)

  2. I’m enjoying your pond study as well. It’s lovely just to be able to sit outside now that the weather is better and observe. Your activities are fantastic!

    1. Thank you! I was amazed by J(8)’s willow drawing. Normally he enjoys “hurling paint at the canvas” as he likes to describe it (quoting Horrid Henry) so this was quite a change of style! 😀

    1. Hi Tara – I loved your rain cloud – so simple and effective. Yes you’re right, learning alongside the children is one of the huge bonuses of homeschooling, isn’t it?

  3. Oh wow, you are a homeschooler extraordinaire! I would love to homeschool my son but our circumstances don’t allow for it. I love the way they’re learning far more practically than the children in the school I teach in do. Beautiful watercolours!

    Nipping over from the Country Kids linky.

    1. Love it! I’ll remember that compliment for the days when I feel like banging my head against the wall LOL 😀 Thanks for popping over. I’ll be checking out your blog in future for more nice pics of some of my favourite S Wales places 🙂

  4. Looks like a nice day out. I love the Jackdaw picture. We also have Egyptian Geese near us in Germany. I was fascinated by them when we saw them for the first time two years ago and went home and identified them.

    1. Thank you. Our Egyptian Geese were obviously stopping off at our pond en route to somewhere more in keeping with their exotic nature – they weren’t there next time we visited. They were exciting to see and identify the once, though 🙂

  5. What a great environment for the kids. I have friends who bought land outside town, so their kids have their own catfish pond, barns, fields, trees. Enjoy it, most people don’t have these natural luxuries at their fingertips!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Elizabeth. Yes, we are very lucky to have such natural beauty so close by. I hope you have access to the joy of nature, too. 🙂

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