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

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

Common Whitetail (female) on Black-eyed Susan

This dragonfly species, common whitetail (Plathemis lydia), is probably the most often encountered of all the 188 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the entire state. It’s found at or near just about any slow or still body of water in the state and often far from the lake, pond, or puddle of origin. The picture above was taken in Wander Away in Catch the Wind here at the museum. The dragonfly, as the title of this post states, isRead more

Invasive

Top Photo: Autumn olive berries. Autumn olive is considered an extremely invasive shrub. It can overwhelm the forest understory, fields and openings where it grows, crowding out native species. Here at the museum it flowers in March-April. The tart, red fruit is ripe by July-August. It spreads across the landscape largely through the action of birds. Birds eat the fruit, fly off and deposit the undigested seeds in their droppings. The seeds germinate where they fall. The fruit is tasty,Read 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

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

Something to Look At

Top Photo: Bumble bee takes nectar and transfers pollen in the process. Here, I have a quick list of photos of what you might see on a walk around the outdoor trails here at the museum. Last year we had at least three bald-faced hornet hives on the campus. One was in a dawn redwood tree over the boardwalk, another in a pine along one of the service roads, and the third was in a small maple hanging over EllerbeRead more

Have a Look Around

Top Photo: American robin on privet. Here’s some things to look for while you stroll around our Outdoor Loop Trail. American robins flock together in winter searching for food sources such as berry laden trees and shrubs. By this date last year Japanese apricot, or Chinese plum (Prunus mume) had been in bloom for two weeks. At this time in 2019 it had blossoms a week prior. It’s just now starting to come into flower this year. Hermit thrushes areRead more

The Hermit and The Hole

Top Photo: Hermit thrush perches on vine in Explore the Wild. There are three thrushes which regularly spend the winter at the museum, eastern bluebird, American robin, and hermit thrush. All are migratory to some extent, though our local robins and bluebirds stay put. Only one is exclusively a winter visitor. Hermit thrushes arrive in our area late September to October. By the middle of May they’re gone. Mostly insectivorous, they consume many berries during the colder, insect deficient winterRead more