Three Quick Photos

Top Photo: Common checkered-skipper ready to spread it wings. Although this small butterfly, the common checkered-skipper, is flying from March to November somewhere in North Carolina, they’re most often seen here at the museum in September and October. They’re swift flyers. Seconds after perching they tend to open their wings to reveal the checkered pattern for which they’re named. If you see one silvery checkerspot (below), you may see another since they tend to be somewhat colonial. I look forRead more

Hummingbird Bird and Moth

Top Photo: Juvenile male ruby-throated hummingbird, rapidly beating wings blurred to near invisibility, hovers in front of trumpet vine’s tubular flowers. There are 16 species of hummingbird that breed in the United States. There’s only one species in the eastern states, ruby-throated hummingbird. If you see a hummingbird in North Carolina in summer, it’s a ruby-throated. From October into winter it’s most likely a different species that you see at your feeder, unless you’re on the Gulf Coast or ourRead more

Bees, Leaf-footed Bugs, Luna Moths and More

Top Photo: Eastern tiger swallowtail nectars on coreopsis. Though they’re more obvious during spring when the white-faced males emerge to patrol areas around suitable nest sites for females, carpenter bees are active all season long. Spring, though, is when you’re most likely to run into one and perhaps be buzzed by the harmless males. Later in the summer they’re much less noticeable, but still around. You’ll probably see more females at this time of year and they’ll be more passiveRead more

Secret Spot

Top Photo: The view from the Secondary Wetlands Overlook. When you find a nice quiet “secret” spot to sit and rest, think, or meditate, it’s a good idea not to tell all of your friends, it will soon become a not-so-secret spot. I feel compelled, though, to tell you about this one. You’ll find out on your own anyway, sooner or later. It’s the Secondary Wetlands Overlook. It’s been “done-over” and remade into a shady rest stop for weary walkers.Read more

Molt

  Each year, adult birds need to molt their flight feathers (the wing and tail feathers). The feathers wear out, become frayed, twisted, and in general less efficient. Some birds, like ducks and geese, lose all of their flight feathers at once, they can’t fly. Ducks and geese can afford to do this because they can spend their flightless days out on open water away from potential land-based predators. Most birds, though, need to fly every day, at a moments notice,Read more

Hummbird Minute.

As I stood near the service road across from Into the Mist I noticed a small bird at the top of a very large mimosa tree alongside the road. It was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It’s always a thrill to see a hummingbird, and certainly many people get really close looks at them at their backyard feeders. But it’s always a special thrill to see one away from the feeders, even if it is in a mimosa tree (non-native). You canRead more

Hovering Hermit Thrush!

Hermit Thrushes are not especially adept at clinging to the sides of things the way a nuthatch, titmouse, chickadee, or even a bluebird is. Nor are they adept at hovering like a hummingbird, or perhaps a kinglet, who do quite a bit of hovering in case you didn’t know. No, Hermit Thrushes spend much of their time on the ground foraging among the leaf litter or foraging in fruit laden trees and vines. I often see a Hermit Thrush feeding onRead more