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

Brief Report from the Wetlands

First, some ode news, odonata, that is. Great blue skimmers and slaty skimmers have emerged from their watery, pre-adult aquatic habitat.       Eastern amber wings have been with us for some time, although I never tire of looking at them.     Common whitetails are in the process of ovipositing (laying eggs) in the Wetlands.         On cooler days, yellow-bellied sliders stack up on any available perch. But, you probably won’t see many turtles out baskingRead more

Looking Down

Sometimes, it pays to look down. There are many creatures going about their lives at ground level. So, while you’re not looking up at the trees or the skies for birds or at the flowers for butterflies and other nectaring insects, keep at least one eye down where you walk, the ground, you might see something interesting.     At first, I wasn’t quite sure what the caterpillar in the above photo was. I thought it might be one of theRead more

Some Spring Happenings

I’ve been negligent in my duties and haven’t been reporting as often as I’d like to on the goings on in Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. So much is happening, as it does every spring, that it’s tough to keep up. Here’s just a couple of handfuls of things that we’ve seen in the Wild over the past few weeks (not necessarily in chronological order). During the first week of April, American toads were calling out, their high-pitchedRead more