Three Birds

Top Photo: Gray catbird. If the catbird in the photos looks a bit disheveled, it’s because it’s molting. By the time it’s ready to migrate south it’ll be neat and trim. Catbirds arrive at the museum by mid April each year. By mid October, most are gone. I’ve seen catbirds on campus in mid winter, but it’s the exception, not the rule. In the photo below you can see the rust colored feathers under the tail which are often overlookedRead more

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

Around the Wetlands

Top Photo: Banded tussock moth caterpillar dangling from a silken thread as it lowers itself to the ground. On any random day in the Wetlands, if you keep your eyes opened wide, you’re likely to see many things. Here’s just a few of the sights that I witnessed during the second half of October.     I was standing near the Main Black Bear Overlook when I noticed a caterpillar on one of the leaves of a winged elm tree.Read 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

What’s up in the Wild

Here’s a little of what’s going on in the Wild at the Museum…a caterpillar. A damselfly. An assassin bug. A nest-building bird. A morphing frog. A tree frog who thinks it can’t be seen. And, a bird with a frog. And that’s some of what I’ve been seeing. How about you?Read more

The Rana Dilemma

Back in 2009, I noticed a large concentration of bullfrog tadpoles in the northwest corner of the Wetlands. The tadpoles were congregated around a pipe which drains the higher ground above, particularly the Red Wolf Enclosure. I didn’t know why the tadpoles were gathered in this location but speculated that it was due to either the concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, higher temperature, algal growth (their main source of food), or a combination of those things. Something hadRead more

More goings on

If you’ve been walking through Explore the Wild over the past several weeks you may have seen what looks like snow blowing along on the breeze. Of course, it’s been too warm to snow, so what is that white fluffy stuff floating through the air down by the Wetlands? It’s seed dispersal in action. Groundsel Tree has been spreading its seeds across the landscape via the wind. Like willow in the spring, milkweed in the late summer, and of courseRead more

Green Heron

There is a Green Heron in our Wetlands today (11/20/12). A Green Heron in our Wetlands at this time of year is unusual, in fact, it’s rare. Chances are, it won’t stick around for the winter, so come on out to see it now.Read more

Look Who’s in Town!

I haven’t seen a Pied-billed Grebe in the Wetlands here at the Museum since the fall of 2009, three years ago. I first noticed the current grebe on September 19, one week earlier than the first time I spied the 2009 grebe. That bird stayed with us into December of that year. Hope this one stays a while too! We usually lose our Green Herons to the migratory urge in late September, so we may not be seeing this one for muchRead more