Turtle Logs

Top Photo: Three of five sets of new turtle perches in Wetlands. With our changing wetlands and growing turtle population, basking perches for our resident turtles are at a premium. As old snags and logs that used to be in the wetlands rotted and decayed it’s become tough for a turtle to find a place to sun itself. It’s sometimes a tight squeeze for our aquatic turtles. A half a dozen years ago, I tossed in a 10’ pine logRead more

A Toad and a Treefrog

Top Photo: Cope’s gray treefrog on cedar limb. March thru April is the peak breeding season for American toads here at the museum and they’ve been out calling and mating in numbers. American toads are one of two true toads found here on the Piedmont, the other is Fowler’s toad. I’ve only heard Fowler’s toad on one or two occasions on our campus. American toad is the one you’re most likely to see and hear. The warm weather of thisRead more

Dogwood and Other Flowering Plants

Top Photo: Flowering dogwood. Last month it was redbud. Now it’s dogwood’s turn, among other flowering shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants, to show off its color. We have a variety of flowering plants here at the museum, some native some not, but they all brighten up the landscape when they come into flower. Flowering dogwood is the state flower of North Carolina. It typically follows the blooming of the redbud’s magenta flowers, although sometimes they’re in bloom together. Currently, redbudRead more

Nest Box Update

Five of our six nest boxes contain nests. Four have eggs. Two contain chickadee eggs and two, bluebird eggs. Two nests had adults incubating, a bluebird and a chickadee. One nest box is empty. The nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek Railroad Tunnel has two bluebird eggs within. I expect there’ll be a few more by next week’s inspection of the box. The chickadees that started the nest in the nest box on the service roadRead more

Mallard Surprise

Top Photo: Six of 14 mallard ducklings in wetlands. I got a call on the radio telling me that there were, “a bunch of baby ducks swimming around in the wetlands,” specifically, the swampy area on the west side of the path near the Main Wetlands Overlook. I went to investigate. They were mallards, a female and at least thirteen ducklings (a later count totaled 14 ducklings). The ducklings were frantically feeding as the mother carefully swam along with them,Read more

Bloomers

Top photo: redbud blossoms There’s no doubt that a flowering redbud is a beautiful tree. It’s at its peek in March here in central North Carolina. It’s not the earliest of bloomers but it’s one of the most obvious. Most people think redbud a southeastern tree, and essentially it is. But it grows as far north as Canada, hence the scientific name Cercis canadensis. And, it’s the state tree of Oklahoma. Redbud’s small, magenta, pea-like flowers are edible. They canRead more

Nest Box Update 3.23.20

I hadn’t conducted a nest box inspection since 10 march. At that time there was a nearly complete chickadee nest in one nest box and a mere sprinkling of moss on the bottom of another nest box (chickadee). There are now five nests in our six nest boxes here at the museum. Three nest are chickadees. Two are bluebirds. One nest box is empty. There are no eggs. The nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek RailroadRead more

Nest Box Season

It’s nest box season. While that in itself is exciting, only two of our six nest boxes show activity. The nest box at the Butterfly House has an almost complete Carolina chickadee nest inside. A bit more moss, some fur and or feathers to top it off and it’ll be ready for eggs. The nest box on the east side of the parking deck has just a few small pieces of moss. This nest box typically starts off with chickadees,Read more

Early Spring

Neotropical migrants won’t begin arriving on the scene for a month or more. However, our local year-round resident birds have the jump on those mainly insectivorous migrants. Some of the locals like cardinals, towhees, brown thrashers, Carolina wrens and others are in full song and some are building or investigating nest sites. American robin numbers are increasing, and keep an eye out for cedar waxwings on any shrubs or trees that still have fruit, like holly or red cedar. NorthernRead more

Spring?

With snow in today’s forecast you might not think it’s spring. Meteorologically speaking, it’s only a little more than a week away. So, it’s no real surpise to see pickerel frogs and blue violets. The violet may be a bit early, but the local pickerel frogs begin their breeding in February. Listen for their soft snore-like calls as you wind through Explore the Wild, take a peek over the rail as you walk along the boardwalk, you may hear orRead more