Turtle Logs

Top Photo: Three of five sets of new turtle perches in Wetlands. With our changing wetlands and growing turtle population, basking perches for our resident turtles are at a premium. As old snags and logs that used to be in the wetlands rotted and decayed it’s become tough for a turtle to find a place to sun itself. It’s sometimes a tight squeeze for our aquatic turtles. A half a dozen years ago, I tossed in a 10’ pine logRead more

A Toad and a Treefrog

Top Photo: Cope’s gray treefrog on cedar limb. March thru April is the peak breeding season for American toads here at the museum and they’ve been out calling and mating in numbers. American toads are one of two true toads found here on the Piedmont, the other is Fowler’s toad. I’ve only heard Fowler’s toad on one or two occasions on our campus. American toad is the one you’re most likely to see and hear. The warm weather of thisRead more

Nest Box Update 3.23.20

I hadn’t conducted a nest box inspection since 10 march. At that time there was a nearly complete chickadee nest in one nest box and a mere sprinkling of moss on the bottom of another nest box (chickadee). There are now five nests in our six nest boxes here at the museum. Three nest are chickadees. Two are bluebirds. One nest box is empty. There are no eggs. The nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek RailroadRead more

Sharing

Our two sibling red wolves, Eno and Ellerbe, share the same enclosure. As you might expect, each wolf has its own personality. Eno often seems to desire, what appears to be, playful interaction between himself and his brother. From my observations, Ellerbe prefers to be left alone and does not share his brother’s enthusiasm for “playfulness.” It’s part of the captive animal experience to be offered enrichment. Environmental Enrichment, in the case here, is the placement of objects inside theRead more

Purple Martin Update

North America’s largest and probably most familiar swallow is the purple martin. The birds spend the winter in South America and return to eastern North America to nest. They’re almost entirely dependent on manmade structures to nest in, plastic or hollowed out natural gourds, large multi-room bird houses and other structures. The first arrivals from South America usually make it back to North Carolina by the first couple of weeks in March. One was spotted in Durham on February 12th.Read more

Snow

It doesn’t snow often in our locale (Central North Carolina). And, when it does, it melts quickly. You better get out and enjoy it while it lasts. In case you missed it, I took some photos for you. (all photos 2.21.20) See you next time!Read more

Just a Few Tree Thoughts

While this post is mostly pictures of trees along our paths here at the museum, there is some news to impart and to perhaps think about. Most of our elms and red cedars are only recently past blooming, but other trees still have their seeds attached from last year’s growing season and are far from flowering anew. Try to catch the trees backlit against a severe clear blue sky. Just a week ago male red cedar flowers were sending off theirRead more

Fish Crows

It’s usually the middle of March when I first hear and see fish crows each year. Oh, I sometimes hear the single calls of one or two of the somewhat migratory crows in the first couple of weeks of March, but it’s mid March when bands of the crows start moving through. Groups of the birds come bouncing through the sky, their nasal calls filling the air. They seem to be having fun, happy to be back from wherever itRead more

Waterfowl Update

The mergansers that had been occupying our Wetlands disappeared for four or five days, only one or two being seen on any given day. They now seem to come and go; one day they’re here, the next they’re not. However, I’ve not see their numbers approach the 30 plus of a several weeks ago. I now see anywhere from 10 to 12 at a time.     Another duck species which has returned is the bufflehead. One arrived last NovemberRead more