December?

Animal Keeper Autumn and Misha out for a walk.
Animal Keeper Autumn and Misha out for a walk.

 

It’s December, for sure, but it’s been an unusually warm December, so far. We should enjoy it while we can. And, that’s just what Animal Keeper Autumn did the other day as she and Misha, our red-tailed hawk, went for a walk around the Museum’s outdoor campus.

If you like turtles, this is a good time to see them. In fact, you may see some of our “light-sleeping” yellow-bellied sliders out and about on just about any warm, sunny winter’s day. While our eastern painted, musk, and snapping turtles are usually down for the count when cold weather comes to town, the sliders apparently “sleep light.” They make their way out of the water and onto logs and rocks whenever warm sunshine finds its way to the pond’s bottom.

 

Catching some rays on a fine December day.
Catching some rays on a fine December day.

 

Something I didn’t expect to see in mid December, was a damselfly. I occasionally see autumn meadowhawks in December, they’re late season dragonflies. But I was surprised to see a spreadwing damselfly in our Wetlands on the very late date of 14 December.

 

Autumn pondhawk (Sympetrum vicinum). I most often see these small dragons form October to November, but have seen them in December.
Autumn meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum). I most often see these small dragons from October to November, but have seen them in December.

 

Spreadwing damselfly (12/14/15).
Spreadwing damselfly (12/14/15).

 

Leon, Insectarium Manager at the Museum, spotted the damsel as he and I stood on the north side of the Wetlands. The damselfly looks to be a Carolina spreadwing (Lestes vidua). This is the latest date I’ve seen a damselfly (of any species) here at the Museum.

I wonder what’s going to show up tomorrow?

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