Have you ever seen a Platypus in the wild?
Our mission for our nature study this month was to search for the Platypus. We knew that it was not going to be easy to spot this elusive creature, so forward planning was in order to give us a better chance. I also thought that it would be a great opportunity to add some “TIME” math into our day.
The first step we took was to research what time of year they would be most active. We talked about the different seasons and when it might be easier to spot one. We deduced that in Summer, when the rivers are low and separate into pools, the smaller area might be helpful. Also, we reasoned that during the mating season, the males might travel and so be spotted. As we are now in their mating season (June-Oct), we thought that a trip to a known sighting spot would be fun.
The next step was to find out if there were any local spots known for Platypus sightings. Here were some web pages that helped us identify where we wanted to search:
Next, we needed to decide what time of day would give us the best chance of actually seeing what we had ventured out to see. The Platypus is most active at Dawn or Dusk, so that is when we needed to be at our chosen location.
More TIME math. How long will it take us to get to where we want to watch? What time does the sun rise? What time do we want to arrive at our watch spot? What time will we need to leave home? What time will we need to be ready to leave on time?
This discussion all took place the day before our trip. On the morning of our adventure, all the children were up and ready to go, and I was a bleary-eyed mum, trying to drink a cup of tea and motivate myself to head out the door before the sun had risen! The children looking at the clock, impatiently reminded me that if I want to be ready at our watch spot when the sun came up, we needed to leave NOW!
Did we see a platypus? No. Was it worth it? Yes, it was so beautiful to sit by a river as the sun came up. To hear the birds and the frogs while witnessing the world waking up. We haven’t given up, we will go again next week… (and bring our breakfast with us this time). A morning picnic by the river will be a memory the children will have for life!
Before we go again, we will be enjoying some Platypus stories.
And learning more by watching this video.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Platypus, you can find a lesson in the Volume 3 Nature Guide.
Also, don’t forget to include your Platypus investigation when working towards your Nature Club badges.