Winter Continues

We’ve had both warm and cold weather so far this season, mostly warm. Regardless of the temperature, things are rolling along as always; sunny days bring out turtles to bask, ducks feed, court, and rest in our wetland, and Mahonia blooms as it always does this time of year on the Dinosaur Trail and elsewhere around the campus. There seems to have been an unusual amount of fungi this fall and winter, perhaps due to the significant rain we’ve experienced.Read more

Black Duck

  Three American black ducks showed up in the Wetlands on the Fourth of July. I’d not previously recorded black ducks here at the Museum, so it’s noteworthy that the ducks appeared today. They all appear to be males. Wood duck, mallard, blue-winged teal, hooded merganser, redhead and bufflehead are the members of the duck family on my list of duck visitors. Black ducks become number 7 on the list.     Happy Fourth!Read more

Mallards, sort of

Besides the hooded mergansers and buffleheads swimming around our Wetlands, an old familiar male mallard has stopped in, with a different female than I’d seen him with previously.       I know this is the same drake mallard because of his plumage, he is not pure mallard. This drake has some domestic duck mixed in. The fact is, there are probably few pure mallards in our area although their plumage may or may not appear to be purebred mallard.Read more

Spring Too

Spring progresses, interupted occassionally by sleet, snow and freezing rain, but still progresses. In between the bouts of the above mentioned weather I’ve photographed proof that spring is here and that it can’t be reversed. And finally, not necessarily a sign of spring but just a nice portrait of Red Wolf 1414 as he surveys his limited domain. Spring forth!    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

Seasonal Firsts and other Exciting News

For the last month we’ve had a trio of mallards staying with us. Mallards are nothing unusual anywhere in North America but we haven’t attracted many here in our wetland over the past several years. The current trio, two drakes and a duck, have been foraging heavily. One day I noticed them intently digging and mucky around in the swamp across from the Main Wetlands Overlook, between the overlook and the Black Bear Compound. The mallards were probing the mud and leavesRead more

Two Birds and Three Insects

On November 2, I mentioned that I had seen the first of the season Hooded Merganser. It was a single bird (alone) and appeared to be a female. On Thursday (11/10) there were three mergs in the Wetlands, a male and two females. Yesterday (11/15) there were ten birds in the water. There was also a male Mallard in the Wetlands. There’s nothing unusual about a Mallard, but we don’t get many here in our Wetlands, at least not theRead more

Mergs and other Birds

On Wednesday (11/3) there were four Hooded Mergansers in the Wetlands, two males and two females. A group of 8-9 Canada Geese dropped in for a few hours on Wednesday as well. Although these geese are of a non-migratory population, they’re usually absent during the summer months, returning in November. And, speaking of mutt ducks… There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets working over the Mimosas next to the mid-way landing on the boardwalk Wednesday (11/3). Seen this pastRead more

Mergansers!

I usually see the Hooded Mergansers for the first time of the season somewhere during the first or second week in November, depending on the weather. The last cold front that came through our area apparently hurried the waterfowl along, bringing cold weather to their summer ranges and shoeing them southward. I got an email from Michele Kloda (exhibits) on Monday saying that she spied the mergs in the Wetlands (11/1). I went down to have a look myself todayRead more

Ducks return, Hawks and Heron hunt

Five Mallards showed up during this period. They appear to be a family group since there are both males and females present and all are in fresh brown plumage (adult males would be showing at least some green on the head, if not a completely green head at this time). Did Mallards once again secretly nest back amongst the willows on the far side of the Wetlands, unseen until the middle of July (see Mallards, June 30, 2008)? My notesRead more