Spring Happenings

Top Photo: Increasing in number on the piedmont, green anoles are expanding their range. When I first started work here at the museum some 14 years ago, it was unheard of to see a green anole in the outdoor areas of the museum. It’s now a common sight. Even on warm, sunny, winter days you may run into one of these, largely arboreal lizards. So far this spring I’ve seen question mark, comma, mourning cloak, falcate orangetip, eastern tiger swallowtail,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

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

Falling Into Winter

We’re on the back side of fall and sliding into winter. There’s still much going on out-of-doors with lots to see if you keep an eye open to it. Here’s some of what I’ve been seeing. Asters are late summer and fall blooming flowers. They’re still blooming in the garden in front of our Butterfly House. Red buckeye fruit have already burst open spilling their large brown seeds (buckeyes) to the ground. Several common snapping turtle hatchlings were spotted bothRead more

Steamrolling Along

Spring just keeps on rollin’ along, and the pace is quickening. Many insects are emerging, flowers blooming, and birds migrating, whether returning to the local habitats or just passing through on their way further north. Here’s some of what’s been happening over the last week or so here at the Museum, in no particular order. An early season dragonfly. The blue corporal is named for the mature male’s blue color and the two stripes on the insect’s “shoulders,” one onRead more

Worms (caterpillars), Everywhere!

While walking along the paths and trails here at the Museum, you may have noticed tiny green, brown or even black, wiggly objects dangling down from the trees on silvery threads of silk. Indeed, you may have walked into a few of them, smack in the face. They seem to be everywhere. You may already be familiar with them, calling them inchworms, loopers, or cankerworms. You may even know that they are the caterpillars (larvae) of small unobtrusive brown moths.Read more