A Trip Outdoors

Top Photo: Rudbeckia as part of the new “Prairie” in Catch the Wind. Life goes on along the outdoor loop through Catch the Wind, Explore the Wild, and the Dinosaur Trail. Here’s some of what’s happening out there. The tiny fruit of autumn olive is ripening. Though a non-native plant, the fruit is edible and has a sweet-tart taste. You should hold off on picking and eating until it ripens. When the fruit turns red with whitish speckles, that’s theRead more

Summertime

It’s June, and meteorologically speaking, it’s summer. Here’re some photos taken during May as a way of saying goodbye to spring and hello to summer. Since we started off with a green tree frog perched upon Equisetum, or horsetail, in the top photo, we’ll continue with amphibians. Hairstreak butterflies are named for the long, hair-like scales that extend from the hind wings. They are pseudo antennae intended to fool would be predators into thinking the hind wing area is the headRead 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

Where are the Frogs?

I’ve been meeting nearly every week with Summer Campers at the Museum as part of a behind the scenes program where the campers get a glimpse of what the staff here at the Museum does as part of their normal routine. When they meet with me we conduct a survey of the Green Treefrogs around the Wetlands. Each week I have the campers fill out a data sheet with information such as the current weather conditions (temp, humidity, pressure, andRead more

Hola, Hyla

Welcome the treefrogs. While I’ve heard an occasional call from both Cope’s Gray and Green Treefrogs over the past several weeks it was last week when they began to make themselves conspicuous to the average herp hunter. Two gray and a handful of green treefrogs were spotted on Thursday (3/29). Both frogs are expert at camouflage so I’m sure there were more in the area that escaped detection, if you see one or two, there’s probably many more around. AlthoughRead more

Hylidae are Active!

Northern Cricket Frogs, Green Treefrogs, and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are all active and calling. The daily showers that we’ve been experiencing lately have moved this family of small frogs to think of romance, or at least to mate. So, when you’re hiking around the trails listen for the “click-click-click” of the cricket frog, the “quonck-quonck-quonck” of the green treefrog, and the bird-like “berrrrrrilll, berrrrrilll” of the gray treefrog. Have fun!Read more

Time of the Frogs

We’re now entering the time of the year when there are more frogs in and around the Wetlands than at any other time. With the offspring of all of the frogs and toads that bred earlier in the season now becoming frogs, the numbers may be as high as they will be for the rest of the year. That’s good, because frogs make such good photographic subjects…We’ll start with a Bullfrog. As you have probably noticed, the three photos aboveRead more

Late Season Herps

The first couple of weeks in October were rather cloudy and wet. Whenever the sun did show itself, the turtles of the Wetlands took advantage of it by hauling out and basking in its warm rays. Young and old alike were out on all available perches. Mostly Yellow-bellied Turtles, but even a large snapper was spotted enjoying the brief bit of sun. The last few days of September and first couple of days of October brought many young treefrogs emergingRead more

Some Late July Insects

I spent part of the morning of July 22nd with the Museum’s Marsh Madness Summer Campers scooping up critters from the Wetlands. A goodly number of aquatic insects and other invertebrates were captured and studied, including a Water Scorpion, several Backswimmers, various water scavenger beetles, many dragonfly nymphs and a handful of leeches. (Leeches are always fun to catch –  everyone wants to see them but no one wants to touch them.) Two interesting creatures that actually have backbones wereRead more

Snappers bask and Water Snake appears

Green and Gray Treefrogs continue to call from the Wetlands and other locations around the Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind loop. The brief, lamb-like calls of Narrowmouth Toads have been heard at both the Wetlands and the pond at Flap the Wings in Catch the Wind. Good luck finding one of these tiny toads; they spend most of their time hidden under leaves or logs, and even when calling during the breeding season they are difficult to locate.Read more