Falling Into Winter

We’re on the back side of fall and sliding into winter. There’s still much going on out-of-doors with lots to see if you keep an eye open to it. Here’s some of what I’ve been seeing. Asters are late summer and fall blooming flowers. They’re still blooming in the garden in front of our Butterfly House. Red buckeye fruit have already burst open spilling their large brown seeds (buckeyes) to the ground. Several common snapping turtle hatchlings were spotted bothRead more

February

It’s February, and what happens in February besides the Super Bowl and, this year, the Olympics? Spring! Well, not quite, but we’re getting there. To prove it, hazel alder is blooming (happens here at the Museum in Feb.), brown-headed nuthatches are excavating nest holes, and the red wolves are feeling amorous (sort of). The wind-borne pollen of the long, pendulous male flowers of the alder are now attempting to pollinate the small reddish, upright female flowers of the wetland growingRead more

February Blooms

As happens each February, hazel alder is in bloom here at the Museum. Hazel alder (Alnus serrulata) is a small tree or large shrub which grows along ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers throughout the state. It’s deciduous, which as you know, means it loses its leaves each fall. The male catkins and female flower buds appear in fall. They bloom in early spring before the alder’s leaves appear. February is spring for this plant here in piedmont North Carolina. TheRead more

February Happenings

It’s February. What happens in February besides cold north winds, Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, and two of our past president’s birthdays? Why, our two seasonally local Canada Geese arrive in our Wetlands and hazel alder comes into bloom. That’s what happens in February. I do not know where these two geese spend the rest of their year, but they arrive here in our Wetlands each February. Unless the water freezes over they will remain here till late spring orRead more

Siskins and Catkins

  Pine siskins are finches. They are close in size and shape to American goldfinches, a common year-round bird here in the Piedmont. Siskins nest far to the north and west of our area in coniferous or mixed forests. Here, they are considered winter finches because they only show up in winter, although one or two may linger well into spring. Siskins are, however, sporadic in their visitations, some years they’re here, some years they’re not. The winter of 2012-2013Read more

Red, White, and Blue, sort of

The red I heard the call of the hawk before I saw it. As I turned, the bird came in to a Loblolly Pine over the Train Station here at the Museum. It was carrying something of weight and bulk in its talons though I couldn’t make out what it was. The bird began to call out, keee-eeeer, keee-eeeer, keee-eeeer! I could hear another bird calling as well, a whiny and slower keeeear…keeear…keear. As I looked up the other hawkRead more

Another winter update, w/wolf on the side

Hazel Alder, which grows on the north side of the Wetlands, typically blooms in February. It looks as though it’ll be right on time. There are both male catkins and female flowers (small reddish spikes at top of photo) forming on the plants. The fertilized flowers will become tiny “cones” which look very much like miniature pine cones. Over at Bird Viewing (the feeders) I saw a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches after not seeing them for several weeks. And, aRead more

Just a tad ahead of schedule

At least two Red Maples here at the Museum are in bloom. The trees are located in Explore the Wild on the north side of the Wetlands. Being out of the wind at the bottom of a former quarry, and on the north side of that quarry where they get direct sun the year-round, it’s typically warmer where these trees grow. In my opinion, they’re slightly ahead of schedule. But according to the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association the treesRead more