Spring (almost)

The theme and mood here is decidedly spring-like. The red maple is in bloom, Canada geese are staking out nesting locations, and the wolves, well, our resident female is in estrus and the male is behaving the way he should at this time of year, following the female’s every move, keeping his two ten-month old sons at a distance from his mate, and it’s raining, not snowing. Red maple is one of the earliest trees to bloom. Its tiny redRead more

Hunting in Winter

Can you see the bird in the above photo? It’s a red-shouldered hawk. As mentioned in the previous post, Herps (reptiles and amphibians), there’s been lizard, snake, and frog activity lately. This red shoulder is hunting those creatures. It’s also keeping an eye out for any incautious bird, shrew or rodent. Looking high and low, left and right, the hawk keeps a sharp eye on it’s environment for the slightest movement, ready to pounce. After many minutes (at least anRead more

Herps (reptiles and amphibians)

The seventies and eighties are behind us, for now. It’s back to more normal temps, forties and fifties. But, while the atypically high temps lasted, I was able to find some out and about reptiles and amphibians. It’s not unusual to see a brown snake in winter unless the temps are extreme, on the low side. I saw the northern brown snake, or Dekay’s brown snake, pictured here slowly making its way across the path just uphill from the LemurRead more

Turtles!

If you like turtles, aquatic turtles, you’ll like our wetlands right about now! Turtles galore are out basking in this crazy warm February sunshine! But you better hurry, this 70, and yes, 80 degree weather won’t last long. Highs are expected to be in the forties on Saturday.Read more

February

Despite the 70 degree temps we’re experiencing, it’s February. And, what happens every February here at the Museum of Life and Science? Hazel alder blooms. The golden flecks of wind-borne pollen sail through the air from the male catkins to the upright reddish female flowers (photo above). Look for the alders on the north side of the wetlands in Explore the Wild. Each February, brown-headed nuthatches pound away on the soft wood of some recently expired black willow in ourRead more

Red Wolf Update

In the above photo, the wolves anxiously await the departure of the animal keepers. The keepers enter the enclosure to do a daily poop-scoop followed by a distribution of food which usually consists of meatballs and or dead rats. Today it looks like all meatballs. (Top photo, left to right; Female 2062, Juv 2246, M 1803, Juv 2247, notice how the female is the lead) While in the enclosure, the keepers (always two or more keepers) keep a watch onRead more

Mystery Tree

Always on the lookout for new or unusual flora and fauna here at the museum, Ranger Martha spotted a small tree or shrub growing along the path across from the Farmyard. What caught her eye were the numerous pink buds and flowers (about 1”) on the plant. Not knowing what the plant was she took several photos and started asking questions. Martha showed the photos to me. I was of little help, even after examining the plant in person. It seemed,Read more

Winter Continues

We’ve had both warm and cold weather so far this season, mostly warm. Regardless of the temperature, things are rolling along as always; sunny days bring out turtles to bask, ducks feed, court, and rest in our wetland, and Mahonia blooms as it always does this time of year on the Dinosaur Trail and elsewhere around the campus. There seems to have been an unusual amount of fungi this fall and winter, perhaps due to the significant rain we’ve experienced.Read more

Reddish

When asked to describe a male cardinal, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind what color the bird is, red. It’s not so clear-cut when describing some of our other local fauna. The red-bellied woodpecker in the above (and below) photos certainly has red on its head, but the red on it’s belly, the derivation of its common name, is not often seen. The bird, more often than not, perches with its belly against a tree trunk or branch making itRead more