Go Out and Take Some Photos

There are many photo opportunities here on our 84 acre campus. Here’s some of the things I ran into the past few weeks. While at “Bird Viewing” in Catch the Wind, I noticed a young brown thrasher picking up discarded or spilled sunflower seeds below the feeders. The inexperienced bird flew within ten feet of me and briefly posed for a photo (tip-sit quietly at the feeders). Along with the thrasher and squirrel, an American robin was picking off wormsRead more

Ode #40

Up until May 27th of this year I had seen 39 species of odes (odonata – dragonflies and damselflies) here at the Museum. There are now 40 species on the list. Common sanddragons (Progomphus obscurus) are not rare. In fact, as the name implies, they are quite common, although they’re probably more common on the coastal plain than here on the piedmont. These dragons prefer sandy bottomed streams and rivers. Sandy bottomed streams are more prevelant east and south ofRead 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

Odes Around Us

Top Photo: Carolina saddlebags. Dragonflies and damselflies belong to an order of insect called Odonata. Dragonflies are in the suborder Anisoptera, the damsels in the suborder Zygoptera. Dragonflies usually hold their wings out to their sides when at rest. They are typically larger and bulkier than damselfies. Dragons have large compound eyes which, in many species, cover most of the head. Some species eyes only just meet at the top of the head, but still cover a large portion ofRead more

Just some odes

Each year I post some pictures of odes (usually the same species) that can easily be found in our Wetlands. Here’s this year’s group. These are all very common species which can be seen just about anywhere that there’s water. Their abundance, however, does nothing to diminish their allure. And finally, a close shot of… Enjoy!Read more

Autumn Meadowhawks

There are still dragonflies to be seen. Your best bet to see one of these little odes is on the descent into the Wetlands, perched on the handrail or zipping up to catch a passing aerial insect, down near the main Wetlands Overlook, or on the north side of the Wetlands. Those locations are best when the sun is shinning down on them, giving the dragonflies a warm spot to perch. Besides the males, I’ve only seen a few females,Read more

31 Odes

During June, the list of dragonflies (odes) seen by me at the Museum grew to 31 species. Two new species of dragonfly were seen on the same day (6/17). One of those odes was alive, the other had expired. The living ode was a Swift Setwing (Dythemis velox), a species that’s common enough in our area but not so common as to be seen on every outing in every location. I usually run into them at a woodland pond orRead more

Butterflies, Dragons, Tent Dwellers, a Forester, and a Tiger

Fragile Forktails continue to emerge from the Wetlands (see Fragile Forktail, Explore the Wild Journal, March 16-31, 2009), although I’m now seeing females as well as males. Among the other odes observed during the first half of April were Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Common Baskettail, and Common Whitetail. Butterflies seen this period were Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, Olive Hairstreak (4/9), Eastern Tailed-blue (4/3), Mourning Cloak (4/3), Silver-spotted Skipper (4/9), and Juvenal’s Duskywing. Now bivouacked on atRead 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

Dragonflies, Butterflies and a Big-eyed beetle

Top Photo: Carolina saddlebags waits for wind-borne prey. Dragonflies continue to be the main attraction on the Wetlands insect list. Green Darners, Carolina Saddlebags, Baskettails, and Common Whitetails were out in force. Variable Dancers, Skimming Bluets, and Southern Spreadwings were the most often observed damselflies from the Wetlands Overlook. Orange Bluets were seen as well. These tiny, bright orange damselflies deserve a close look. I recommend that anyone visiting our outdoor exhibits bring along binoculars. If you see me outRead more