Springing Forward

If you put any stock in what plants tell you, you’d have to agree that spring’s about to pop. Don’t take my word for it, look: incidentally, spring peepers and upland chorus frogs have been calling. So, it’s time to get out and experience these early manifestations of spring.Read more

‘Tis the Season – for Red Wolves

Alerted by animal keepers Autumn and Janine that mating behavior had been witnessed in the red wolves, I unleashed my camera and high-tailed it down to their enclosure. Sure enough, within minutes the wolves lived up to what the keepers had said (2/13/18). Unfortunately, after several attempts the wolves never tied or knotted which is necessary for a successful mating. Of course, the wolves have many hours in each day when no human is present to observe their behavior, who knows whatRead more

February

It’s February, and what happens in February besides the Super Bowl and, this year, the Olympics? Spring! Well, not quite, but we’re getting there. To prove it, hazel alder is blooming (happens here at the Museum in Feb.), brown-headed nuthatches are excavating nest holes, and the red wolves are feeling amorous (sort of). The wind-borne pollen of the long, pendulous male flowers of the alder are now attempting to pollinate the small reddish, upright female flowers of the wetland growingRead more

Purple Martin Migration

Purple martins, those large, iridescent purple, colonial nesting, flying insect eating swallows are on their way back home. They’ve spent the winter south of the border in places like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Scouts have already been seen in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansa, Louisiana, and Texas. In fact, the first reported sighting was in St. James City, Florida on New Years Day. Purple martins are our largest swallow. In the east, they nest, almost exclusively,Read more

Quiz Bird: answer

Thanks to all who responded to Quiz Bird. We have several correct answers/guesses. Some folks replied via comments on the post, some wrote in privately. The bird is obviously a large dark bird, black, in fact. Size is difficult to determine without something of known size with which to compare. But, you can tell from this photo that it’s not a robin-sized bird, far from it. Crows, ravens, turkey and black vultures, and even immature bald eagles are large darkRead more

Quiz Bird

Here’s a photo of a bird taken on 18 January, the day after our most recent snow event. The bird’s head and other parts of its anatomy are obscured by a branch as it soars above a tree. You can, however, see all you need to see to identify what species it is. By the way, it’s a common bird in our area (NC piedmont). Respond by sending a comment (below) with what bird you think it is. Though it’sRead more

Snow

In the case that some of you missed the snow this week, couldn’t get out in it, or don’t own a camera, here’s some photos of what you missed. We don’t often get a healthy snow here in the North Carolina Piedmont and it usually disappears within days of falling. It’s worth the effort to get out and enjoy it.  Read more

Bird Feeders

If you happen to be passing Bird Viewing while on your way to or from Catch the Wind on the Museum’s outdoor loop trail, stop and sit down for a few minutes. Grab one of the very comfortable Adirondack chairs (you won’t want to get up again) and set a while. You’re very likely to see Carolina chickadee, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, mourning dove, and pine warbler, among others, year round. InRead more

Winter Turtles

While most of the wetland’s water remained frozen-over on Thursday (1/11), there were many areas of open water. It was through one of these open areas of water that I spotted a roundish, dark object on the muddy bottom of the foot-and-a-half-deep water. The object was a mere 10 feet from the boardwalk so it was easy to determine that it was a turtle, a yellow-bellied slider. The slider remained motionless while I watched. Of the five species of aquaticRead more

Red Wolves and Sap-sucking Woodpeckers

Red wolves #1803 and #2062 seem to be getting along well. They’re frequently seen together with, so far, no observed conflicts. With mating season (Feb.) fast approaching, this behavior is promising. While standing and watching the wolves I noticed a cat-like meow and a gentle tap, tap, tap coming from high up in the trees inside the wolf enclosure, a yellow-bellied sapsucker at work. These rather small sized woodpeckers drill evenly spaced wells into the bark of trees. The wellsRead more