Herps (reptiles and amphibians)

The seventies and eighties are behind us, for now. It’s back to more normal temps, forties and fifties. But, while the atypically high temps lasted, I was able to find some out and about reptiles and amphibians. It’s not unusual to see a brown snake in winter unless the temps are extreme, on the low side. I saw the northern brown snake, or Dekay’s brown snake, pictured here slowly making its way across the path just uphill from the LemurRead more

Familiar Faces

If you’ve spent any time walking the paths at the Museum of Life and Science, the following faces may be familiar to you. All of them, save one, are residents in some form. Above (banner photo) is one of our ring-tailed lemurs (Satyrus). Snakes are always a possibilty, even in winter. If you do see a snake during winter it’s probably a brown snake or possibly a garter snake. Everyone has seen one or more of our four black bearsRead more

TACO Week

No, TACO Week doesn’t mean we here at the museum will be making, serving, or eating tacos, although you can eat tacos that week if you desire. TACO Week is short for Take A Child Outdoors Week. You should already be doing that, taking your kids out of doors, as often as you can. But, this is just a reminder, an excuse, in case it slipped your mind. This year, TACO Week is from 24 thru 30 September. Though we’reRead more

Spring Happenings

Last week started cool, temperature-wise, but ended with a warmth that brought out all manner of creatures and plants that had been lying in wait for just that moment to arrive. There are a lot of photos to show and things to discuss, so let’s start with the snake above. It was pointed out to me that someone here at the museum had seen a water snake back at the end of February or in early March. We had someRead more

More Summer Finds

Even though summer is fading into fall, there’s still plenty of flowers blooming and insects buzzy. In fact, insects are probably more numerous at this time of year than at any other time. Here’s a sample of what you may see on a leisurely walk through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, or any local park, nature preserve, or in your own backyard. Blue dashers are small dragonflies found at just about any pond, lake, marsh or ditch inRead more

Autumn Meadowhawks and Other Fall Things

Every year around this time I begin to see the first autumn meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum). These small red dragonflies are late season fliers, not emerging from their nymphal aquatic habitats until October. I saw the first one this year on October 27 perched upon smartweed in our wetland. Elsewhere, the leaves are rapidly turning. Many have already fallen. Not necessarily a sign of fall… Enjoy the view.Read more

Summertime!

Despite what the calendar says, it’s summer.  And, as what happens every summer, birds that had been caring for and feeding their young in the nest are now out and about with their families teaching the youngsters how to survive on their own. Warm weather frogs, like treefrogs, stimulated by the heat and thunderstorms, are breeding on cue. And plants, that can, like-wise, take the heat, have set blooms. Insects that have been less obvious to us the rest of the yearRead more

All Is As It Should Be

It is now May. Insects that we haven’t seen for months are back among us. Reptiles and amphibians are active as if winter had never happened. Many birds that have been far away in Central and South America have returned to the Museum grounds to make nests and raise families. It’s as if they never left. Keep your eyes and ears open for these creatures as you walk the paths and trails here at the Museum. I’ve gathered more thanRead more

Spring!

I personally go with March first as the official arrival of spring, the so-called meteorological spring. Even so, some things are happening a bit ahead of time due to the unusually high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Just this past Monday I saw an eastern tiger swallowtail flying about. Around these parts, tiger swallowtails are butterflies of April, not March. The seventy and eighty degree weather accelerated the emergence of that butterfly, for sure. I thought I’d post a handful ofRead more

Spring Rolls Along

Spring continues to move along and the flora and fauna here at the Museum rolls along with it. Thousands, no, millions of neotropical migrant birds are moving through our area, flowers are inviting insects to pollinate themselves, tadpoles are becoming frogs, fish eggs have hatched, and an old friend showed up in the Wetlands. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, swallows, and many other birds are migrating north at this time. Most migrate at night (less likely to be seen by hungry hawkRead more