Merganser Are Back

Hooded mergansers typically arrive in our wetlands in November, from the first to third week in November. A trio showed up today (10/20) at the end of the third week of October. The birds usually get right to the business of pair-bonding upon arrival. The bonds are formed here on the wintering grounds and reinforced throughout the season. When, sometime next March and April, the birds head back north to the breeding areas the pairs are already formed and theyRead more

Mergansers Are Back!

The first hooded merganser of the season arrived in our wetlands on Halloween. On November 1, there were four mergs. There are currently six, two males and four females, swimming and diving in the wetlands. Enjoy!Read more

A Frog First and a Lingering Duck

In the nine years that I’ve been walking the paths through the Wetlands here at the Museum, I’ve seen or heard 13 species of frogs and toads. Previous to March 24 I’d only heard southern leopard frog, I’d not seen one. Typically, I’ll hear one or two calling each year in late winter or early spring. Some years I don’t hear any leopard frogs. Leopard frogs are not uncommon in this area. In fact, they can be abundant. But hereRead more

Winter News

The temperatures have taken a nose dive. It’s a good twenty degrees colder today than it was yesterday—and will remain so for the next week or more. The high today will be near 50º which is average for this time of year. If you lived up north, close to the Canadian border, that’d be a shirtsleeve day for sure. But we’re here in North Carolina, and after a week or more of 60’s and 70’s (with lows around fifty), itRead more

Home Again

The hooded mergansers are back in our wetland. Typically, they arrive in November and stay till March. Occasionally a few turn up in October and I’ve seen one or two stay until mid-April. It won’t be long before the rest of the crew arrive.Read more

Spring!

I personally go with March first as the official arrival of spring, the so-called meteorological spring. Even so, some things are happening a bit ahead of time due to the unusually high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Just this past Monday I saw an eastern tiger swallowtail flying about. Around these parts, tiger swallowtails are butterflies of April, not March. The seventy and eighty degree weather accelerated the emergence of that butterfly, for sure. I thought I’d post a handful ofRead more

Waterfowl

In contrast to the cormorant in the previous two posts, the hooded mergansers are doing well in our Wetlands. When the water is not frozen, we consistently have 6 – 7 mergs floating, preening, and feeding. The six in the photo above appear to be three mated pairs. I sometimes hear and see them reinforcing their pair bonds during the day, the drakes croaking, primping, and strutting for the ducks’ attention. It’s a peaceful scene to see these handsome birds out onRead more

Hooded Mergansers

Since the arrival of the first of the season, lone male merg back at the end of October, their numbers have steadily increased. Over the past few weeks the congregation in our Wetlands has ranged from the twenties and thirties, into the forties. I counted 41 mergansers on 5 December. They have been very busy pair bonding and feeding. They show a preference for feeding under and around the Main Wetlands Overlook where many golden shiners have concentrated. But, as mentioned in a previous post, theRead more

Lepidoptera, Mantodea, and Anseriformes

There are still a few monarchs hanging about. I saw two of them on Sunday (11/15/15) in the garden on either side of the steps leading to the Butterfly House here at the Museum. I also saw an American lady and a cabbage white butterfly. All were nectaring on the asters on the west side of the steps.       Also in the garden was a Chinese mantid. It, was warming itself on a metal sculpture of the sun.Read more

Home

  There are now eight mergansers floating about the Wetlands. They looked a bit apprehensive as they cautiously swam around the water this morning. There were many high-energy school children making their various ways through Explore the Wild and the mergansers were keeping a wide eye focused on the activity. They will likely relax as the days roll along. Get ready for their pair bond displays as more females arrive on the scene.Read more