Season Changes and The Wolves

Migration has been underway for several months. Most of the northern insectivorous birds have passed us by for warmer climates. The majority of our local insect-eating birds have long since departed. Some still linger, like catbird, but they’re on their way out. Granivores like juncos, white-throated sparrows and others will arrive soon. It can’t be long before the butter-butts (yellow-rumped warblers) come in. I heard a yellow-bellied sapsucker the other day. Our winter visiting hooded mergansers should arrive next month.Read more

Copperhead Encounter

It’s no secret that copperheads occur in the Carolina Piedmont. In fact, they’re found throughout the state. To the dismay of some the non aggressive yet venomous snake can often be seen in suburban back yards. We have our own population here at the Museum of Life and Science. Here, they’re typically encountered during spring and fall as they move back and forth between their summer and winter quarters. I sometimes see them crossing paths following heavy rains. All ofRead more

Strange Goings On

The photos above and below are of glowworm beetles. The light colored areas of the beetle glow in the dark. They eat millipedes, which may explain why I’ve seen so many of these strange beetles. Millipedes are plentiful this year. So, whatever eats them should do well too. I’ve seen more glowworms this year than my previous nine seasons here at the museum. The beetles pictured are either adult females or larvae. The females carry certain larval characteristics into adulthoodRead more

Some Sights From the Wild

Hearts a bursting or strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) is showing off its namesake fruit. There are a dozen or so of these plants across the campus. The easiest to see and photograph is on the Dinosaur Trail, on the right side of the path just past the Albertosaurus. While on the Dino Trail, keep an eye out for a flatworm or land planarian, especially on warm, rainy days. Most people are familiar with planarian worms from biology lab back inRead more

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