Some Old Familiar Faces

The fine weather of the past week has brought out some old friends. A large female northern water snake that likes to spend her spring days basking in the sun under the still bare branches of the dawn redwoods at the base of the boardwalk is back doing just that. Look for her on the right side of the boardwalk as you walk down the last descending portion of the boardwalk.       Although a few common snappers haveRead more

Other September Sights

Top Photo: Magnolia warbler gleans insects from black willow tree. As many of you know, birds are on the move. The other day I ran into a group of neotropical migrants out on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. In attendance were common yellowthroat, American redstart, Blackburnian, magnolia, northern parula, and prairie warblers, and red-eyed and white-eyed vireos to name just a handful. I’m sure I missed seeing many of the birds that were around that day, but there’sRead more

Warblers continue

With the cloud cover and drizzle sticking around overnight and all the next day, many of the passerine birds that were here on Friday remained in the area. These small birds migrate at night and if conditions aren’t right (clear skies and favorable winds) they won’t continue their southbound journeys until more suitable conditions prevail. They may, however, move slowly south as they feed from tree to tree or from woodlot to woodlot. So with that in mind, Ranger Kristin andRead more

A flurry of activity

It’s 58 degrees outside, about thirty degrees cooler than yesterday. It was bright and sunny yesterday, complete cloud cover today. But, along with the cold front, clouds and drizzle came some birds and a surprise herp. Nothing overwhelming, but a flurry of activity, just enough to keep the casual birder and herper happy. For the birder, I saw 6 species of warbler this morning including Common Yellowthroat, Prairie Warbler, Black & White Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart, andRead more

Spring Happenings

There’s been much excitement over the past few days about the Red Wolves and the expected new residents here at the Museum. In the next few days many of you will hike out to the Red Wolf Exhibit to check on our female (1287) to see how she’s doing. I don’t blame you, I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the wolves my self lately. There’s been many changes in our female’s behavior and appearance of late. So, by allRead more

Golden-crowned Kinglet and more

I saw the first Golden-crowned Kinglet of the season on October 9 while it was foraging in a Mimosa Tree. There were several of the frenetic little birds working over the branches and leaves of the non-native silk trees on the back side of the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Trail. The birds spent quite a bit of time gleaning insects from these trees. On the 13th of the month there were plenty of other migrants around, mostly butter buttsRead more

Flowers, Butterflies, Odes, Birds, Snappers, and the Fox

Dame’s Rocket and Blackberry are in bloom. Butterflies find the early blooming blackberries rather tempting. More species of dragonflies and damselflies have been emerging recently. A first-of-the-season Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) was seen on 29 April as was a new species for the Museum, a Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps). I had thought that I spied one of these Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) relatives last year, but couldn’t be certain. The sighting on the 29th confirmed it. On April 23, I witnessed the matingRead more

Cooper’s Hawks and a Stop-over Kingbird

Cooper’s Hawks are nesting nearby but I’ve not found a nest. Red-shouldered Hawks are a daily sight overhead around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop. An Eastern Kingbird (pictured) and a Common Yellowthroat were seen or heard for the first time this season on the first day of May.Read more

A Harrier, an Owl, and a Big Fish

Hooded Merganser numbers in the Wetlands have fluctuated between 4 and 11 birds. The males can sometimes be seen bobbing their heads, rearing up in the water and, with their bills pointed skyward, emitting a low-pitched snore-like staccato. They’re vying for the attention of the females. It often seems that all of the males are perusing one female, who, by the way, appears little impressed with all of their strutting and showing off. Cooper’s Hawks and, since the second weekRead more

Sapsuckers and Other Migrants

Northern Flickers continue to be observed as they filter through the area. The first-of-the-season Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen on October 11 during the Wild About Animals Event. Don’t look for a bright yellow belly on these guys, most of them are rather dingy looking. The white vertical line on the wing (when the bird is perched as in the image at right) is a dead giveaway as to this woodpecker’s identity. They make a catlike meow sound (Gray Catbirds, whichRead more