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

In Disguise

Top Photo: Camouflage looper on right side of seed head. It’s time to start looking for camouflaged loopers. If you’re not familair with camouflaged loopers, they’re the small larvae of the small green moths in the family of moths known as Geometridae, geometrids or geometer moths. The adult moth of the camouflaged looper is called a wavy-lined emerald (Picture Here). These caterpillars (about 1/2” – 5/8”) are well known for covering themselves with the plant they feed on. The caterpillarRead more

Bald-faced Hornet

Smack in the middle of the photo above is a hornet’s nest, a bald-faced hornet hive. It’s in a small red maple just off the end of the boardwalk in Explore the Wild. The hive’s dimensions are approximately 12″ x 8″ (H x W). Bald faced hornets are part of a sub-family of wasps known as yellowjackets. Their markings are white instead of yellow as in the local eastern yellowjacket. They’re also larger than the more familiar yellowjackets. While easternRead more

Nest Box Update 4.23.19

There’ve been additional eggs, hatchlings and a change in occupancy since the last nest box inspection. Bluebirds, chickadees and house wrens are all involved. Yes, house wrens have returned from their winter quarters and have very loudly made their presence known. I heard the rolling warble of a house wren as I approached the nest box at the Cow Pasture and immediately started to wonder, ”Had the wrens taken over the chickadee nest inside the box, the chickadee nest whichRead more

Due to the Revolution…

Frogs and toads are breeding, butterflies flying, groundhogs foraging, birds migrating and early season flowers are blooming. The white common blue violet in the above picture has been blooming for over a week on the path leading away from the Lemur House. There are also many of the blue form of violet along the same stretch of path. American toads and pickerel frogs were vigorously calling and mating on the warm afternoons of the second full week of March. ManyRead more

Red Wolf Update

In the above photo, the wolves anxiously await the departure of the animal keepers. The keepers enter the enclosure to do a daily poop-scoop followed by a distribution of food which usually consists of meatballs and or dead rats. Today it looks like all meatballs. (Top photo, left to right; Female 2062, Juv 2246, M 1803, Juv 2247, notice how the female is the lead) While in the enclosure, the keepers (always two or more keepers) keep a watch onRead more

Winter

Hiking around the outdoor loops here at the museum can be rewarding, you never know what you’ll come across. Even though I’ve walked these trails for some eleven years now I and my fellow rangers are still finding new things to discover. A few weeks ago, Ranger Martha discovered a group of earthstar mushrooms on the Dinosaur Trail. Initially, earthstars look like onions. Eventually the outer “onion” layer splits open creating a star-shaped platform on which sits a small ball-shapedRead more

Nest Box Update 4.3.18

There’s been a few additions and changes made to our 6 nest boxes.  While last week we had three bluebird nests and two chickadee nests, we now have the reverse. One nest which was started by bluebirds has been topped off by chickadees, with the deposition of two eggs! There’s a total of 5 eggs on the trail, and the one nest that had remained untouched for several weeks has seen activity. Last week the nest box in the CowRead more

Winter Turtles

While most of the wetland’s water remained frozen-over on Thursday (1/11), there were many areas of open water. It was through one of these open areas of water that I spotted a roundish, dark object on the muddy bottom of the foot-and-a-half-deep water. The object was a mere 10 feet from the boardwalk so it was easy to determine that it was a turtle, a yellow-bellied slider. The slider remained motionless while I watched. Of the five species of aquaticRead more