Another Mocha Please

The photos here are of a mocha emerald (Somatochlora linearis). It’s a dragonfly of the forest, near small shady streams. They seem to be more common near streams which dry up during summer. That habitat does occur here at the museum. I’ve only encountered mocha emeralds here on two other occasions. The first was in July of 2008 when I found a partially eaten individual on the path in Catch the Wind. I saw a live mocha in June ofRead more

News from the Outdoor Loop

Many things have occurred over the last week, wildflowers blooming, ducks coming of age, insects emerging and mating, and warmer, more permanent weather has arrived. In a somewhat quiet out-of-the-way location here on our 84 acre campus native wildflowers, like dutchman’s breeches and bloodroot, from an old wildflower trail, have managed to survive amongst various non-natives like English ivy and Japanese honeysuckle. Toothwart’s clusters of white flowers, with a hint of pink or violet, are now blooming (top photo). It’sRead more

Summer Sights

The butterfly in the top photo is an eastern tailed-blue. It belongs to a group of small butterflies known as blues. They are typically blue on the upper surface of the wings. They like open spaces and generally fly low to the ground.   The eastern tailed-blue above is worn. Some of its markings are missing or obscured and one can barely make out a “tail” on the hind wing. Below is a more fresh individual, a male, displaying theRead more

Young Is In The Air

As you most surely have noticed it is spring and it seems there’s much work being devoted to procreation. There have been several sitings of juvenile turtles making their way towards water. Some of these youngster have been in the nest for 250, 260, 270 days or more, first as eggs and then as hatchlings to finally emerge from their underground chambers and hightail it for the wetlands. If turtles hatch late in the year they will remain in theRead more

A New Species?

When I spotted the damselfly I immediately thought it was new to the Museum, that I hadn’t previously seen this species here in our Wetlands. But I had seen it before. When I checked my odonata checklist I realized that I had first seen this species on May 21, two years prior. It was an azure bluet. Azure bluets are not uncommon. If you were to search for them in our wetlands or any other shallow pond in the state, you’d likelyRead 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

December?

  It’s December, for sure, but it’s been an unusually warm December, so far. We should enjoy it while we can. And, that’s just what Animal Keeper Autumn did the other day as she and Misha, our red-tailed hawk, went for a walk around the Museum’s outdoor campus. If you like turtles, this is a good time to see them. In fact, you may see some of our “light-sleeping” yellow-bellied sliders out and about on just about any warm, sunny winter’sRead more

Cow Killer and Wandering Gliders

  A cow killer (Dasymutilla occidentalis) is a wasp. The females are flightless. If you’ve seen one, you’ve surely remembered it for its velvety, bright red or orange and black coloration. It was probably racing around your backyard, a sandy patch of soil with sparse vegetation, or across the hiking trail you were trekking down.     If you were wondering what the insect was doing, dashing around as it was, it was looking for the underground nest of another wasp orRead more

Things To Look For

If you’ve been out strolling the outdoor areas of the Museum you may or may not have noticed some of the many creatures we have living here alongside our exhibits. Here’s some suggestions as to what to look for. If you’re down by the Wetlands in Explore the Wild or up near the Bungee in Catch the Wind you could possibly hear what may sound like the bleating of a lamb. Rather than a lamb, it’s probably a small amphibian that you’reRead more