A Few Fall Encounters

Top Photo: Eastern Phoebe. Eastern phoebes can be seen in every month of the year in central North Carolina. Here at the museum, they nest under the boardwalk each spring/summer and are present in all but the coldest months of the year, although some years I see them regularly throughout the four seasons. The phoebe above is in fresh fall plumage. You can see the distinctive greenish belly and chin on this newly molted bird. The green tint will soonRead more

Spring!

I personally go with March first as the official arrival of spring, the so-called meteorological spring. Even so, some things are happening a bit ahead of time due to the unusually high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Just this past Monday I saw an eastern tiger swallowtail flying about. Around these parts, tiger swallowtails are butterflies of April, not March. The seventy and eighty degree weather accelerated the emergence of that butterfly, for sure. I thought I’d post a handful ofRead more

Waxwings and Mulberries

I was cruising Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind for turtles that might have been looking for nest sites when I noticed that the branches of the mulberry tree that hangs over the path near the Sail Boat Pond were drooping very low. There were also many purple stains on the pavement below the branches. The mulberries were ripe. It was time to keep an eye out for berry loving birds raiding the trees in search of that ohRead more

Spring Too

Spring progresses, interupted occassionally by sleet, snow and freezing rain, but still progresses. In between the bouts of the above mentioned weather I’ve photographed proof that spring is here and that it can’t be reversed. And finally, not necessarily a sign of spring but just a nice portrait of Red Wolf 1414 as he surveys his limited domain. Spring forth!    Read more

Phoebes, Coming and Going

Sometime in March I noticed an Eastern Phoebe frequenting the vending area in Explore the Wild. Knowing that phoebes readily nest on ledges (rock ledges, wood ledges, block ledges, any kind of ledges) I hoped for a nest within easy viewing distance. There are plenty of ledges on the building that houses the restrooms and vending area. A nest there would be very convenient for anyone wanting to spy on a bird’s nest. Phoebes have nested below the boardwalk each year since I’veRead more

Turtles, Phoebes, and Wood Ducks

I typically start seeing turtle hatchlings in March, those nestlings that have overwintered in the nest. This year it was April that brought out the nestlings. The nestlings were discovered in a variety of locations from the Butterfly House to Into the Mist, and of course, on the path next to the Wetlands. All hatchlings were sliders, either yellow-bellied or possible yellow-bellied x red-eared hybrids. This is always an exciting time of year, and many kids had an opportunity toRead more

Nuthatch Landlords? Hollies under Assault?

There are still two pairs of Hooded Mergansers present in the Wetlands. There is one pair of Canada Geese present. Red-tailed Hawks continue to be seen daily and Cooper’s Hawks have been noticed flying and perching in the vicinity of the previous year’s nest site. And, as mentioned above, Red-shouldered Hawks are once again showing up in the Wetlands. Eastern Phoebes are calling regularly in and around the Wetlands. Phoebes nest on ledges. I’ve witnessed the birds investigating potential nestRead more

The Urge to Nest, Martins on the Way

A Canada Goose was observed moving nesting material around on the small island in front of the Wetlands Overlook. The bird was apparently just going through the motions spurred on by the warm weather. The goose momentarily shuffled a few pieces of grass and leaves about on the island, then swam off to feed. Thinking that I was looking at an Osprey (unusual for this time of year), it was not a disappointment when the raptor that I saw glidingRead more

There’s Always the Birds…

With the low temperatures of the 15th-18th of this month, the Wetlands iced over enough to force the Hooded Mergansers to take flight and seek bigger water where they could swim and dive for fish. One merganser returned on January 24 and four were in attendance on the 29th of the month. Canada Geese remained as long as there were small pockets of open water. They too finally departed as snow and more cold weather moved in on the 21stRead more

Where Are the Insects?

Few insects have been reported over the past several weeks — it’s cold outside! But, even with the colder weather there are still insects among us. If you look hard enough you can find a few crickets under the grass alongside the path on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop, perhaps a grasshopper, or a few beetles. But there’s more than just a few crickets, a grasshopper and a beetle or two around. Consider all the dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers,Read more