Great Egret

Great egrets are not rare in our area, a trip to one of the nearby reservoirs should turn up several. Green herons and great blue herons nest locally. Great egrets do not. Any great egret you see in this area is probably part of a post breeding dispersal from further south. In fact, that’s true for most of the other species of heron or egret seen here in summer like, little blue heron, reddish egret, snowy egret, tri-colored heron, orRead more

Fall Goings On

Top Photo: Bald-faced hornet hive. It’s been drizzling, raining, and downright pouring over the past week or more here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. But, life goes on, herons gotta eat, snakes too, and wasps have to keep building additions to their hives as their numbers increase, you can’t stop progress. If, over the last week or so, you’ve happened to make it out past Hideaway Woods, our new outdoor playscape full of tree houses, woodland stream, nature trails, stick built “castles” and hammocks hungRead more

Great Blue and Other Interesting Sightings

  Great blue heron (GBH) has been a common sight here at the Museum for the past eight years. Most of that time there was one present on a daily basis in the Wetlands. I’m afraid, though, our long time resident GBH has left us. I don’t know why our local GBH has moved on or whether or not it has expired, but I have not seen it. I keep a weekly checklist of all the birds I see here at the Museum, check it offRead more


If you’ve been down to the Wetlands within the last several months you may have seen a great blue heron (GBH) standing by a rock (boulder) out in the water some eighty or ninety feet from the Main Wetlands Overlook. You would have been looking at our current resident GBH.     I say current resident because I don’t know if it’s the same heron that I’ve been seeing, just about daily, for nearly seven years now. Without physically markingRead more

Summertime Sightings

Top Photo: Gray hairstreak. With the summer just about gone (for me, fall starts around mid August), I thought I’d give you a pictorial update on some of what’s being seen on our 84 acre campus here at the Museum. Last month I mentioned that there were again woolly aphids enjoying the sap of one of our alders in the Wetlands in Explore the Wild. The colonies are growing considerably and many bees and wasps are visiting the sight, includingRead more

Out You Go!

It didn’t take long for our Great Blue Heron (GBH) to roust out our visiting Great Egret. The heron had been absent for most of the day. Upon returning in the evening he circled the Wetlands once, spotted the intruder and made a direct assault on the unsuspecting egret. The GBH came in and landed within six feet of the egret, who, thinking everything was on the up-and-up, kept right on fishing the way it had been before the GBH droppedRead more

Coping with the heat?

If you’re wondering how the wildlife is coping with this 100+ weather, here’s how our GBH is behaving. I’ve seen Great Blue Herons in this pose before, but I always thought it was a way of gaining heat, not cooling oneself off. I think, however, it also serves to help straighten curled feathers, but still a strange behavior in this heat. The bird was facing the sun so it seems the wings would to act as a parabolic reflector. If that strange posture wasn’tRead more

The Big Gray Bird Nesting on the Island!

If you happen to be walking down the boardwalk into the Wetlands and see a large gray bird sitting on what looks like a nest… look closely at the bird. The bird is a Great Blue Heron, and it’s resting, not nesting. The resident heron sometimes retires to the island to rest during the day. It does most of its hunting for fish, tadpoles, frogs, and crayfish within the cover of the willows on the north side of the Wetlands,Read more