Familiar Faces

If you’ve spent any time walking the paths at the Museum of Life and Science, the following faces may be familiar to you. All of them, save one, are residents in some form. Above (banner photo) is one of our ring-tailed lemurs (Satyrus). Snakes are always a possibilty, even in winter. If you do see a snake during winter it’s probably a brown snake or possibly a garter snake. Everyone has seen one or more of our four black bearsRead more

Handful of Herons

I’m sometimes asked how many species of bird I’ve seen here at the Museum. Currently, the list is over 130 species. Of those, five species have been herons, great blue heron, great egret, green heron, and black-crowned and yellow-crowned night-herons. A great blue heron, or two, can be seen in our wetlands year-round. Although some great blue herons migrate, they can be found in our area in any season. Great egrets are widespread in North Carolina but are essentially aRead more

Quick Update; Egrets and Toads.

Ranger Rock called me on the radio this morning about an egret in the Wetlands. We’ve only had a handful of egret visits over the years so I went down to the Wetlands to have a look.     The egret was obviously people shy, it didn’t stay long. After just a brief time it flew off to a tall loblolly pine, surveyed the situation from above, and took off for parts unknown.     Last week I mentioned seeingRead 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

Visitors

There’s a Great Egret dead center in the above photo. Great Egrets are infrequent visitors here at the Museum. I believe the last one that I saw here was in 2012 during the August heat. Most sightings are during the winter, however. The winter of 2011/2012 was busy with herons and egrets. A Great Egret and an “outsider” Great Blue Heron worried our local Great Blue to a frazzle for most of that winter until they nearly exhausted the supplyRead more

The Bounty

The bounty of fish is gone. The shiners that once lay within easy reach of all who munch fish in our little Wetlands have either dispersed or been dispatched. No more can the egret and herons pick off shiners at their leisure at the edge of the Wetlands. They now have to work for every fish, tadpole, frog, or crayfish that they catch, which is probably why egret and heron are nowhere to be seen. It’s been just about aRead more

What’s the last thing a fish sees…

before it’s snatched up by a heron? The heron in the above photo is actually looking down at me, not a fish, but you get the idea. The heron was in a pine tree above the path in Explore the Wild. What’s interesting about the photo is that it clearly illustrates the fact that herons have binocular vision and can see objects beyond and below their bills, helpful if you make your living plucking fish out of the water. AmongRead more

The Harrying of the Ardeidae

For the past several years we’ve had a Great Blue Heron (GBH) in the Wetlands on nearly a daily basis. It seems to be the same blue heron, or at least it behaves in the same manner each time that I see it, it’s people shy and stays on the far side of the Wetlands when people are present. Other GBHs come into our Wetlands from time to time, I’ve seen as many as three at a time foraging amongstRead more

The Ice Cometh and the Ice Goeth

The first few days of the year brought with them the first ice over of the Wetlands. The ice will soon be history, all gone. I, or we, know that the ice will be gone within a day or two since the TV, internet, and radio tells us these things ahead of time. But for some of the creatures that live in and depend on the Wetlands for food, ice is not a good thing and it can’t be predictedRead more