The Results

Top Photo: A very fresh narrow-mouthed toad. Back in July when rainy days and nights reigned over the wetlands I would hear the bleating, lamb-like call of narrow-mouthed toads calling from in and around the wet areas of our campus. The toads were here to mate. The results are in. Ranger Tim, on duty in Hideaway Woods, spotted a freshly morphed narrow-mouthed toad along the path there. They are very small. Newly morphed toads are about 10 mm, give orRead more

What’s Out There

Top Photo: Mushrooms rise up through fresh mulch. The small, gilled mushrooms pictured here all emerged from mulch in Explore the Wild on the same day. The following day, they had disappeared. All that remained were a few stragglers. I’m not sure of the identity of these fungi. If you have an opinion, it’s welcomed. If you’re headed out to Earth Moves in Catch the Wind, you’ll probably run into a cloud of mist on your way. We’ve installed mistersRead more

Bathe and Graze

Top Photo: Adult robin attempts to coax one of its offspring (left) to bathe in the water below waterfall at Red Wolf Enclosure. There are numerous bird families flying and foraging about our campus. Fledglings need to learn to cope with life before they go out on their own and the adults are doing their best to show them how. Finding food, bird song, and even bathing are all on the list. I came upon a group of American robinsRead more

Out and About

Top Photo: Green heron perches on willow branch near water’s edge. Green herons are a fairly common sight in the wetlands during summer. They’ve nested at the museum more than a few times. I’ve previously mentioned in this blog the benefits for the naturalist who follows the eye of the bird. If you see a bird stare skyward it’s often worth your while to look up and see what the bird’s looking at. It may be a predator worthy ofRead more

No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by. If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness. While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting fromRead more

What’s Out There?

Top Photo: Great blue skimmer with prey. In one rather quick trip around the outdoor loop here at the museum I came upon a good bunch of interesting sights. In no particular order, here’s some of them. There are banana trees planted at several locations throughout the museum’s outdoor areas. The one pictured is in the garden next to Sprouts Cafe. Pomegranate is growing next to the bananas. Along the edge of that same garden I spotted a banded longhornRead more

Northen Watersnake vs Copperhead (Revisited)

It’s summertime and snakes are active. This is a repeat of a previous post from May of 2013 to refresh your memory on the identification of two common snakes in our area, both residents here at the museum. It’s almost a daily occurrence, I’d be watching a water snake coiled up and snoozing in the grass on the north side of the Wetlands, point the snake out to someone passing by and they’d say, “That looks like a Copperhead,” or, “IsRead 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

Mayapples

Top photo: Mayapple patch in early April. It’s June and mayapples are ripe, or soon will be. Warning, the whole plant is toxic. Just touching the leaves may cause dermatitis. But, like many toxic native plants mayapple has medicinal uses. A topical treatment for certain skin conditions, as well as other ailments, is derived from the plant. Mayapples begin to emerge from the moist earth of alluvial woodlands and meadows in March. By April they’re obvious, a big patch ofRead more

Box Turtle

I don’t see many box turtles at the museum. The habitat’s right but I can remember seeing only one or two of these terrestrial turtles in the twelve plus years I’ve walked the outdoor loop at the museum. Perhaps their scarcity is due to the fact that our 84 acre campus is surrounded by suburbia and ever increasing traffic on the roads around and through the area. These turtles have a bad track record in face-to-face encounters with cars. BoxRead more