A Poke, a Grab, and a Click

Top Photo: pokeweed raceme with flowers and unripe fruit. Pokeweed is a native, eastern North American plant. It grows in undisturbed areas. Its main stalk, stems and even flower racemes are shades of purple-red, boysenberry to magenta in color. It can grow more than six feet in height. It’s one of my favorite weeds. The entire plant is listed as toxic. But, I’ve read where the deep purple berries can be made into jam after the seeds are removed. InRead more

Some Early Summer Sights

Top Photo: Purple coneflower in front of Picnic Dome at Museum of Life & Science. Purple coneflower is in full bloom. This flower attracts many insects. It’s a rewarding experience to visit a planting of coneflower. Lots of different butterfly species come to coneflower for its nectar, and goldfinches can’t resist the seeds. Coneflower likes sun, can handle the heat and will tolerate a forgetful gardener’s lack of watering, so you can’t lose by planting these 3 foot tall flowersRead more

What’s Happening on the Outdoor Loop

Top Photo: The Wetlands in summer. If you’re familiar with the museum’s outdoor loop through Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild, you may be happy to know that life goes on as it always has in the past. There are, though, a few changes around the bend. Here, a few familiar sights and a few behind the scenes sneak previews. Shrubby St. John’s wort is in bloom, as it is each year at this time. The 4 foot tallRead more

Nest Box Update 6.9.20

An easy accounting of the nest boxes this week, there’s only one active nest. The nest box on the west side of the parking deck held four bluebird eggs last week. An adult male flew out of the box as I opened the side access door this morning. Presumably, the male had been incubating. There should be chicks by next week’s inspection. This may be a good time to clean out the old nests in the inactive nest boxes andRead more

Nest Box Update 6.1.20

It’s been just about nine weeks since I last reported on the progress of the bluebird trail at the museum. I haven’t had access to the trail. I don’t know what transpired during that time period. A full tally of successful nestlings fledged won’t be possible this year. The Nest Box Update from nine weeks ago, March 31 I did, however, visit all of our six nest boxes on Monday, the first day of June. Here’s what I saw. When IRead 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

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