More Summer Finds

Even though summer is fading into fall, there’s still plenty of flowers blooming and insects buzzy. In fact, insects are probably more numerous at this time of year than at any other time. Here’s a sample of what you may see on a leisurely walk through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, or any local park, nature preserve, or in your own backyard. Blue dashers are small dragonflies found at just about any pond, lake, marsh or ditch inRead more

Nest Box Update 8.8.17

There is one active nest and one nestling inside that nest. The nest box at the old site of the Bungee Jump started with five eggs (7/25). The following week it held 2 house wren nestlings (8/1). It now has one nestling (8/8). What happened to the other eggs or nestlings is a mystery. The fact is, there’s only one nestling left and I’m not sure I’ll be able to determine if it fledges or perishes in the nest. I’llRead more

Go Out and Take Some Photos

There are many photo opportunities here on our 84 acre campus. Here’s some of the things I ran into the past few weeks. While at “Bird Viewing” in Catch the Wind, I noticed a young brown thrasher picking up discarded or spilled sunflower seeds below the feeders. The inexperienced bird flew within ten feet of me and briefly posed for a photo (tip-sit quietly at the feeders). Along with the thrasher and squirrel, an American robin was picking off wormsRead more

Nest Box Update 8.1.17

We now have only one active nest, and it belongs to house wrens. Last week, there were 5 house wren eggs in the nest box at the old site of the Bungee Jump. Two of the eggs have hatched. Looking at the photo below there’s no evidence of the other eggs or nestlings, dead or alive. We have two nestlings in the nest box at Bungee and no other activity in any of the other five nest boxes. We’ll haveRead more


In September of 2015, I spotted a dark pelaged mammal running along the muddy wooded edge of the Wetlands. Too dark and slim for a muskrat, the only thing it could be was a mink. Camera ready, I followed the creature through the dense vegetation but couldn’t get a clear shot of the animal. In anticipation of its intended route I ran ahead to a path that leads to the water hoping to get a shot as the animal passed theRead more

Sand, Dust, Florescence, and Waxy Larvae

A hole in the sand. That’s what I was looking at, a hole in the sand. Ranger Ian had spotted a bee or wasp hovering around and entering a 1/2” hole near the “sandbox” in Gateway Park. I was there to put a name on the bee or wasp and to help determine if the nest would put any children in harm’s way. It’s a large sandbox where kids use mini backhoes to fill up Tonka trucks with sand andRead more

Nest Box Update 7.25.17

There is one active nest box. The nest box next to the old site of the Bungee Jump is the only nest box that is currently occupied. Two weeks ago there were 3 eggs in the nest box at the Bungee site. Last week there were 5 eggs. There are still 5 eggs and it seems the house wrens who built the nest are incubating. They are apparently done laying and waiting for the eggs to hatch. If all goesRead more

Nest Box Update 7.18.17

We have three active nest boxes. Last week, the Cow Pasture, Bungee, and Butterfly House nest boxes all contained house wren nest material and or eggs. They still contain those things. It seems, though, that the Bungee nest is the only one that has shown signs of further activity. The Cow Pasture nest looks the same this week as it did the previous week, a handful of twigs in the nest box. It doesn’t appear as though there’s been anyRead more

More Red Wolf Pictures

The red wolf pups are frequently out and about inside their spacious enclosure. They’re not always out in the open, but if you have patience and a water bottle (it’s been hot lately) you stand a very good chance at seeing at least one of the pups on your visit to their overlook. The banner across the top of this page and the photo above are of the male and female watching the animal keepers as they both clean theRead more

Things to Look for While Strolling the Outdoor Loop at the Museum of Life and Science

Yellow-bellied sliders are frequently seen out basking in the sun in our wetlands. Occasionally, and typically in spring and early summer, a snapping turtle partakes in the catching of rays. There are Colorado potato beetles and there are false potato beetles. Both eat plants in the nightshade (solanaceae) family, a group of plants of which both potato and tomato belong. This family includes many other species of plants including horsenettle or Carolina nettle (Solanum carolinense). We have much Carolina nettleRead more