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

Canada Geese Rising

Top Photo: Goslings resting at Sailboat Pond on May 15, two weeks after first being sighted in wetlands. I first saw the pair of geese with 5 goslings in tow on the first day of May. They were swimming across the open water of our wetlands. Waterfowl in general are precocious, that is, they’re ready to go the day of, or day after they hatch. The next time I saw them they had lost one their number. The four remainingRead more

A Few Butterflies, a Great Egret, and a Lifesaver.

Top Photo: Large milkweed bugs mate between milkweed seed pods. Butterfly sightings are increasing. The common buckeye pictured here is a fairly easy find in grass along road and path edges. The Joe-Pye-weed in Wander Away is in bloom. Its tiny blossoms attract a variety of insects including hairstreak butterflies. Though I wanted to show you a juniper hairstreak on the Joe-Pye-weed as well, the one I was in pursuit of kept itself just out of reach. You’ll have toRead more

Nest Box Update July 2021 (the final count)

We have six nest boxes on our bluebird trail. I inspect the nest boxes once per week following the same sequence each week; Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East, Parking Deck West, and Butterfly House. This is a compilation of the nest box inspections for the month of July. July 6 Though there are two nest boxes containing nest material, one with house wren twigs (Cow Pasture) the other with bluebird grass and pine needlesRead more

Cardinal and Pandora, Tortoise Beetle, and Annual Caterpillar Feast

Top Photo: Male cardinal wrestles with large green caterpillar. The cardinal flopped to the ground no more than a dozen feet from us on the Dinosaur Trail. It had a large green caterpillar under its control. Two months earlier, just feet away from where we now stood, I photographed a male cardinal tearing apart two luna moths. May was a busy month for luna moths, mating and laying eggs. Could this big caterpillar which was now committed to being eatenRead more

Red Tails Overhead

Top Photo: Immature plumaged red-tailed hawk soars over museum. If you’ve visited the museum in the past several months you’re probably aware of the red-shouldered hawks that have nested here this season, like just about every other year since I’ve been here. Their loud vocalizations as they soar above the outdoor loop make them quite noticeable to even casual observers. You may not have known, however, about the red-tailed hawks that nested alongside the parking lot on the south sideRead more

Bonus Features

Top Photo: A green heron contemplates its next move. While making the rounds on my weekly bluebird trail nest box inspections I often come across other creatures besides the bluebirds, chickadees, and wrens that use the nest boxes on the trail. Red-shouldered hawks nest in the woods next to the train tunnel as they have been off-and-on for years. The one pictured is a product of this year’s effort. I have to pass by the parking deck on the southRead more

Nest Box Update for June 2021

We have six nest boxes on our bluebird trail. I inspect the nest boxes once per week following the same sequence each week; Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East, Parking Deck West, and Butterfly House. This is a compilation of the nest box inspections for the month of June. June 9 There are two active nest, one with incubating house wrens and the other with hatchling bluebirds. The Cow Pasture nest box contains a houseRead more