A New Ode

Top Photo: Male roseate skimmer sallies forth from its perch on twig. There’s been another species added to the list of odonata seen at the museum. With the addition of roseate skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) seen on Saturday, September 18, I’ve recorded 42 species out of 188 listed for the state. There are many species that will never be recorded here at the museum due to their specific habitat requirements and range. I didn’t expect to see this species. It’s aRead more

The Littlest Lizard

Top Photo: Ground skink with regenerated tail. Ground skinks are the smallest lizard found on the museum’s grounds. In fact, they’re the smallest lizard found anywhere in the state (about 3” – 6” of mostly tail). The tail is as long as, or longer than, the body. They have short legs. They tend to wriggle snake-like, more than run, when fleeing. Perhaps more often heard slithering off through the dried leaf liter than seen, they were, until this past year,Read more

More Fall

Top Photo: Juvenile northern mockingbird perched in rain garden shrubbery. The juvenile northern mockingbird pictured here is perched on the white-berried variety of the native American beautyberry. The bird’s parent was in the next shrub loudly calling schek, schek, schek as it watched the younger bird pick through the berries of the shrub. The overall brownish hue and spots on its breast, and the light colored gape (corner of mouth or bill) easily mark this bird as a juvenile. CertainRead more

Garden Watch

Top Photo: Goldenrod in bloom at Wander Away. Visiting a garden at this time of year can be very rewarding. Goldenrod likes to wait until September or later to bloom, and like boneset mentioned in the previous post, has tiny blossoms which attract big crowds. Butterflies, bees and wasps are too busy sucking up nectar to pay much attention to naturalists who stare at them while they refuel. If you’re patient, and you’re taking pictures, you may end up withRead more

Solitary Sandpiper

Top Photo: Solitary sandpiper feeds on north side of wetlands. The only shorebirds I’ve seen here at the museum are spotted sandpiper, killdeer and solitary sandpiper. Both spotted and solitary drop in on their respective ways north and south while migrating. I don’t see them every year. They’re more likely to stop in when the water’s low enough to expose mud along the edges of the pond. Though I have viewed them each briefly when the only thing above waterRead more

Fall

Top Photo: A female monarch butterfly sips nectar from sunflower. Fall is here. It’s September and fall is all around us. Birds and butterflies are migrating, late season flowers are blooming, seeds are nearly ready to cut loose into the wind, and fruit is on the vine. It’s even a bit cooler outside than it’s been the past few weeks. Here’s a group of photos of what’s going on outside, in case you missed it because of the heat. AnRead more

Misty Morning

Top Photo: Misty morning over wetlands. On a cool morning last week as I walked through the wetlands there was a fog or mist hovering over the water. The fog was already “burning off” as I could imagine it must have been much more dense just an hour earlier. It was a still and quiet morning, as foggy mornings tend to be. Among other things, fog brings to mind the low bellow of distant foghorns, the clang of buoy bells,Read more

Eight Lobe-leaved Plant of Japan

Top Photo: Fatsia japonica on Dinosaur Trail. An evergreen shrub, Fatsia japonica is native to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Here, it’s a common and popular landscape plant which does well in full and partial shade. At the museum, its white umbel flowers bloom in November when it attracts many late season insects. Everything from ants to butterflies come to the flowers for their nectar. But there are other posts about the insects that are attracted to the fall blooming flowerRead more

A Hooded Surprise

Top Photo: A whir of wings and slap, slap, slap of webbed feet on the water as the birds take off. If you’re the first person of the day to descend the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild you may see the mergansers in close to or under the boardwalk rousting out any mosquitofish, aquatic insects or crayfish that may be hanging out in the shadows. The birds are shy. If the birds see you coming they may simply swimRead more

Bees, Butterflies et al. of the Day

Top Photo: Honeybees at Fatsia Japonica on the Dino Trail. Today’s unusually mild temperatures have activated insects like it was a day in May. Look in the the vicinity of blooming flowers, you’ll see them. The honeybees above were very busy taking nectar and whatever pollen they could from the simple umbel flowers of fatsia. Everywhere I turned today I saw insects going about their business. Fly species, wasps, and of course, bees and butterflies were literally buzzing about anyRead more