TACO Week

No, TACO Week doesn’t mean we here at the museum will be making, serving, or eating tacos, although you can eat tacos that week if you desire. TACO Week is short for Take A Child Outdoors Week. You should already be doing that, taking your kids out of doors, as often as you can. But, this is just a reminder, an excuse, in case it slipped your mind. This year, TACO Week is from 24 thru 30 September. Though we’reRead more

Potter Wasp

A hot, humid, and quiet day and a potter wasp has secured a looper caterpillar for its “pot” nest chamber. The wasp descended on the caterpillar as it was looping along the path in front of Into The Mist in Catch the Wind. I was lucky to be there when it happened. Potter wasps are solitary wasps, which means they nest alone, not in colonial gatherings as do some burrowing wasps or in collective hives as do yellowjackets, paper wasps, orRead more

The Earth Moves

This past Friday and Saturday the exhibits development team previewed a small sampling of our new full-sized exhibit Earth Moves which is scheduled to open in 2019, in Catch the Wind. And more. If you missed it, it was whispered to me that there may be more prototyping coming soon.Read more

August Has Gone By

August is over and we’re sliding into fall. Here’s a small sampling of sights I witnessed this past month above and beyond what I’ve previously posted. At the top and below are pictures of Bembix wasps. The various, rather gentle, non-aggressive wasp species in the Bembix genus burrow into sand to house and feed their young. They feed the larvae flies. They’re often called sand wasps. The picture above is of a Bembix wasp standing at the entrance to itsRead more

Colors of Green Tree Frogs

For the past several days I’ve seen a handful of green tree frogs on the horsetail growing in and around the Troodon Exhibit on our Dinosaur Trail. At least one of the frogs is brown. It’s not unusual to find dark green or even brown green tree frogs, although they’re typically bright green. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the dark green coloration is often associated with cold temperatures. Any green tree frogs I seen very late in the seasonRead more

Brief Wetland Look

There’s little doubt that the Wetlands is the most outstanding feature of the Explore the Wild section of our outdoor adventure loop. Fall’s approaching quickly so here’s a very brief glimpse of the summertime wetlands which includes a few subjects you may have to look more closely to see. The most abundant tree of the wetlands is the black willow. Here, it doesn’t reach a height of more than fifteen feet of so. Yellow-bellied sliders are the most common aquaticRead more

Night-heron Visit

A yellow-crowned night-heron showed up in the wetlands on Tuesday (8/7). One of the summer campers spotted it under the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild. It was in immature plumage. In other words, the bird was hatched this season. It may be somewhat local. This is the second time I’ve seen a yellow-crowned night-heron here at the museum. The first time was in May of 2011 following a heavy thunderstorm. Here’s a few shots of this year’s bird. LuckyRead more

July, gone but not forgotten

On its way to the ocean via the Eno River, Falls Lake and Neuse River, Ellerbe Creek runs through our 84 acre campus. Before it reaches us, it flows under an interstate highway (twice), through a golf course, through quiet neighborhoods and under and through a mall, mostly unseen by the local human population. There are a handful of preserves along its 20 mile meander through Durham but for the most part, I’d wager, most folks don’t know it exists.Read more

Nest Box Update 7.31.18 (the final count)

There has been no activity in any of the nest boxes for the past two weeks. A house wren nest had been started in the nest box at the Cow Pasture, but apparently the birds have moved on. Likewise, the bluebirds that started construction of a nest in the box at Woodlands Classroom have not been seen or heard from in two weeks. I’m calling it. The season is officially over! Here’s the totals for birds fledged this and previousRead more

Nest Box Update 7.17.18

We have two active nests. Of the six nest boxes on our modest bluebird trail, two have nests within. One nest is of house wrens, the other of bluebirds. The twigs were piled high when I looked into the nest box at the Cow Pasture on Tuesday (7/17). The house wren nest is complete but there are still no eggs in the nest. It was started on or around 7/3 (two weeks ago) so I would have expected more progressRead more