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

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

Another Mocha Please

The photos here are of a mocha emerald (Somatochlora linearis). It’s a dragonfly of the forest, near small shady streams. They seem to be more common near streams which dry up during summer. That habitat does occur here at the museum. I’ve only encountered mocha emeralds here on two other occasions. The first was in July of 2008 when I found a partially eaten individual on the path in Catch the Wind. I saw a live mocha in June ofRead more

Nest Box Update 8.6.19 (the final count)

All of our nest boxes are empty. Most have some sort of nest material inside of them, but they’ve not been utilized, added to or occupied in several weeks or longer. One nest box had four young bluebirds fledge today (8/6). The nest box at the Cow Pasture started out the season with chickadees. The little gray, black and white parids laid 2 eggs in the nest before house wrens took it over. The wrens raised two broods in theRead more

Run Wolf Run

We have here at the museum, one adult breeding pair of red wolves, two yearling male red wolves, and six three-month old pup red wolves. Every now and then, the year-old wolves get frisky and chase each other around their enclosure. It’s often a vigorous jaunt with more than just a few circuits around the yard. The parents sometimes join in but usually don’t make it past the first lap. After all, the male is 9 years old and theRead more

Nest Box Update 7.23.19

We currently have 8 nestlings in two of our six nest boxes. Four of those are house wrens, the remainder bluebirds. Four bluebirds have fledged and a new nest started atop that nest. There are, as best as I can tell, four house wrens nestlings in the nest box at the Cow Pasture near the Ellerbe Creek Railway Tunnel. There had been five eggs in the nest but as you can see from the photo, it appears only four hatched.Read more

What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more

Nest Box Update 6.4.19

So far this season we’ve fledged 9 bluebirds and 8 chickadees from the 6 nest boxes on our bluebird trail. We currently have 5 house wren nestlings in one nest box and a new nest started for what may be a second brood of bluebirds. Though the house wren nest at the Cow Pasture originally held 6 eggs, only five have hatched. The nestlings look to be healthy but probably won’t fledge til after next week’s inspection. The nest boxesRead more