Questionmark Pears

There are more than a few Bradford pear trees on our 84 acre campus. One, a volunteer that sprouted next to our north parking lot has been dropping fruit. The rotting fruit is attracting flies, bees, and butterflies. One butterfly in particular is the question mark. It belongs to a group of butterflies known as anglewings, referring to the angular edges of the wings. Question marks are named for small whitish markings on the underwings, a “c” and a dot.Read more

Monarch

While walking up the ramp leading away from the Butterfly House, I glanced over at the common milkweed that grows in the garden on either side of the ramp. It pays to keep an eye out while walking through this garden, many insects are attracted to milkweed, including monarch butterflies. Nearly everyone knows what a monarch is, if not their entire life cycle. The butterfly and its migrations are well known. But, in case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s aRead more

A Sphinx in Need, Busy Sulphurs, and a Tiger In-between

  The large green object that the smaller white objects are attached to in the above photo is a caterpillar, a hornworm, a rustic sphinx moth larva. The white objects are the pupae of a tiny parasitic wasp, a brachonid wasp, which lays its eggs under the skin of its host (like the unfortunate caterpillar above). The larvae that later hatch eat the caterpillar from within until ready to pupate. They then drill themselves out through the skin and form aRead more

It Just Keeps Rolling Along

More springtime happenings.     Although there is some habitat available here on our 84 acres at the Museum, eastern kingbirds are annual stopovers, I’ve yet to see them nest here. In actuality, they prefer somewhat more in the way of open spaces for their nesting.         There’s is so much for you to see outdoors. The one requirement, you have to be there to see it!Read more

Cabbage White and prone Great Blue

  I was standing at the Red Wolf Overlook talking with guests, and admiring the wolves who were actively moving about the enclosure, when I spotted a white butterfly wafting past and over the heads of the assembled crowd. It alighted in a red cedar. I walked over to take a few photos. I knew it was a cabbage white when I first saw the insect. The only other white butterflies of its size in our area are the whiteRead more

A Field Guide to Whatever it is You’re Looking at

There seems to be a guide to just about anything and everything. Whatever it is you happen to be looking at someone has put together a guide to help you figure out what it is, and often, how it relates to the world. There are field guides to birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians, plants and trees. Bird guides are further broken down into eastern birds, western birds, and even groups of birds: sparrows, shorebirds, raptors, warblers, owls. There areRead more

Lepidoptera

Good naturalists keep notes, extensive notes, on everything they see. I must admit that with things happening at such a fast pace this spring I’ve been derelict in my duties. I’ve been neglecting my note keeping and am not up to date on the Lepidoptera (among other things) which have been fluttering through the Museum’s outdoor areas. However, with camera always at the ready, I’m happy to announce that I’ve been able to get a few shots of some ofRead more

Red Admiral

On December 23rd a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) was seen flying about the Mahonia near the entrance to the Dinosaur Trail. The butterfly didn’t stand still for long, but when it did finally settle, it did so twenty some feet up on the trunk of a Loblolly Pine. It was a stretch, but I managed to get one shot of the butterfly. Red Admirals are just one of a handful of butterflies that can be seen in winter. Question Mark,Read more

A Common Thread

Each fall it seems that spiders appear from nowhere, crawling along the ground, stretching out their sticky webs across our favorite hiking trails, and even entering our living spaces. The truth is, they’re with us the entire summer, we simply may not notice them because they, along with their webs (if they construct them), are much smaller and less obvious than in fall. Above and below you will see some of those spiders, all of which were found along theRead more

Looking Back: Insects

With the closing of the year it’s perhaps time to look back and see what we’ve observed on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. Below, in the appropriate segments, I give totals for some of the species seen since January of last year. This past year I’ve tallied 27 species of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. To some that may seem like a large number. Considering that there are about 190 speciesRead more