Treefrog Encounter

Top Photo: Freshly morphed green treefrog clings to rush stem at edge of wetlands. While making the first round of the day through the Outdoor Loop at the museum, we rangers discovered a group of juvenile green and gray treefrogs in Explore the Wild. The frogs were clinging to the vegetation next to the sandstone steps at Water’s Edge. Most of the treefrogs were green treefrogs, a few were Cope’s gray. The frogs are clearly making use of the duckRead more

Hummingbird Moth Caterpillar

Top Photo: Can you find the caterpillar amongst the leaves? The literature states that hummingbird clearwings (Hemaris thysbe) lay their eggs on honeysuckle and viburnum, less frequently on a few other tree species. The moths have been documented laying eggs on viburnums here on campus and their caterpillars have been spotted on two different varieties of viburnum. The caterpillars reach a length of about 2 inches, a little less than half the size of some of the more familiar sphinxRead more

Brown Snake Babies

Top Photo: Juvenile northern, or DeKay’s, brown snake. Brown snakes are common here at the museum. They can be seen in any month of the year but are most frequently observed in late winter to early spring. They’re most often seen crossing the open pavement from one favored habitat to another, forest floor or grassy areas. It’s not uncommon to see one hanging from the talons or bill of a red-shouldered hawk during that period when the hawk’s nesting isRead more

Acadian

Top Photo: Acadian flycatcher nest on Dinosaur Trail. Acadian flycatchers are common enough in our area. Walk a mile or two along a local watercourse in spring and early summer and you’re likely to hear their emphatic PEE-chip call at several locations along the way. They prefer rather undisturbed forest habitat and typically choose riparian sites for nesting. They nest here at the museum. From below, the nest looks a mess, too flimsy to hold the maker let alone aRead more

Bullfrog Offal

Top Photo: American bullfrog. It’s a well known fact that red-shouldered hawks take crawfish from our wetlands. Besides actually being observed eating the crawfish, the hawks leave the claws of the arthropods on the railings of the boardwalk when they’re done. The evidence is clear. Frogs are also on the menu. The hawks, though, don’t typically leave frog parts on the boardwalk as a record of their passing. Last week, I was confronted by a mystery while walking down the boardwalkRead more

Nest Box Update 7.19.22 (The Final Count)

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird nest with eggs. There has been no activity in any of our six nest boxes. Though there are partial bluebird nests in the nest boxes at Explore the Wild and the east side of the parking deck, they haven’t be tended to for over a month. Likewise, the house wren nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck hasn’t been touched since June. I tallied the total birds fledged for eachRead more

Nest Box Update 7.12.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. There has been no activity in either of the six nest boxes on campus. The Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East and West, and Butterfly house nest boxes are all inactive. Though there is a complete house wren nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck, it too is inactive. We will give the nest boxes one more inspection before calling it quits for theRead more

Mid July Check-in

Top Photo: Eastern rat snake, or black rat snake, smells its way across the path in Explore the Wild. Black rat snakes are known by many different names, chicken snake, alleghany snake, pilot snake with variations on those names and more. Though it may be confusing to consider the various names of the snake, the only other snake you’d likely mistake it for is the black racer. But, racers have smooth scales, all black undersides (except for the chin andRead more

Sunning

Top Photo: Male northern cardinal catching some rays on the boardwalk. While it may calm and warm the cardinal in the above photo to expose itself to the sun’s rays, research suggests that there’s more going on than just relaxing in the sun. When a bird turns its side to the sun, spreads out its flight feathers and exposes as much of its body as it can to the direct rays of the sun it may be trying to ridRead more

Nest Box Update 7.5.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. Three of our six nest boxes have nest material in them. Only one of those has been worked in the past week. A house wren has completed the long dormant nest in the nest box on the west side of the parking deck. There’s an empty nest box at the Cow pasture, no activity. Explore the Wild has been quiet since March. The Into the Mist nest box is empty. The nest inside the boxRead more