Nest Box Update 3.18.19

I conducted the first nest box inspection of the season on March 18, and found two chickadee nests well on the way to completion and one just begun. Blue birds have yet to make a claim on any of our 6 nest boxes. One nest box was moved due to impending construction at its former site. Our nest boxes are located as follows: Cow Pasture (near train tunnel) Explore the Wild (service road on back side of outdoor loop) IntoRead more

Another Mystery Tree

It was a rainy day, a very rainy day (we’ve had many rainy days this past winter, but this was a particularly cold and miserably rainy day). There were few visitors in the outdoor areas of the museum, none, in fact. Several rangers, including myself, were standing in the rain discussing the identities of different plants here on campus and how and why they’re growing here, whether or not they were purposely planted here or “volunteered.” The identity of theRead more

Blue Bird Season

Meteorologically speaking, it’s spring and the local birds are feeling the urge to nest. Blue birds and chickadees are already checking out the nest boxes. In fact, two of our six nest boxes had nesting material in them as I made the rounds this morning (3/2/19) in preparation for the coming season. Last year we had 33 birds fledged on our modest blue bird trail, 16 eastern blue birds, 12 Carolina Chickadees, and 5 house wrens. The purists among youRead more

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