Mergansers, Kingfishers, Shiners, and Gambusia (mosquitofish)

Last week, I posted that hooded mergansers, annual visitors from the north, have arrived in our wetlands for the season. They’re busily forming pair-bonds as I write. Over the years I’ve counted as many as 41 mergs at one time floating on our wetland’s water here at the museum. Early in the season it’s not unusual to see larger numbers until the fish-eating diving birds disperse, pairs and small groups choosing their favorite ponds and lakes at which to rest,Read more

All in a Day’s Work

It was midday on a hot, muggy day in June. There were four juvenile raccoons on an island thirty or so feet from the boardwalk where I and two museum visitors stood watching them. An adult raccoon (I assume the mother) was in the lead. She was trying to coax the little ones into the water. What were the raccoons doing on the island? There’s a wood duck nest box on the island. It was installed about five years agoRead more

Waterfowl Update

The mergansers that had been occupying our Wetlands disappeared for four or five days, only one or two being seen on any given day. They now seem to come and go; one day they’re here, the next they’re not. However, I’ve not see their numbers approach the 30 plus of a several weeks ago. I now see anywhere from 10 to 12 at a time.     Another duck species which has returned is the bufflehead. One arrived last NovemberRead more

Old Friends and a New Arrival

Hooded mergansers are back in the Wetlands. A handful of the fish eating waterfowl showed up over the weekend. I counted three males and a female this morning (11/7). While taking photos of the mergs, and just plain watching the birds swim about this morning, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a small, dark duck come in for a landing. I assumed it was a female merg coming in to join the others and went back toRead more

Winter Visitors

I recently reported that at least two of our female mergansers have paired up with males. That’s certainly true, but there are still “singles” out there who have yet to make a commitment. And, the available males are not being shy about their intentions. One minute they’re swimming along peacefully, the next they shift into display mode. The mergansers are, for the most part, winter visitors here. And so are Hermit Thrushes. One of the best places to see aRead more

Photo Ops

There are many opportunities to capture interesting photogrpaphic images while on a walk around Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. Timing and luck play their parts, and of course the amount of time one spends on the outdoor loop here at the Museum helps expose one to more opportunities, but one thing is for sure, you have to be there in person to photographic whatever it is that’s happening. Here’s some of the images I captured last week. TheRead more

The Pellet

Back from the weekend and on my first walk around the Outdoor Exhibit Loop I noticed three gray masses of debris on one of the copper-topped posts of the boardwalk in Explore the Wild. It was obviously a pellet. What’s a pellet? Basically it’s a regurgitated mass of animal parts, bones, fur, or feathers which can not be digested by whatever it was that ate the animal, typically a hawk, owl, or perhaps a heron. These birds swallow small preyRead more

Out and About

Among other creatures out and about this past week were a late season dragonfly, basking turtles, basking bullfrogs, and basking mergansers. And finally… There’s much going on out in the Wild, come on out and see what you can find.  Read more

Early Winter Update

According to the calendar we’re still in the early stages of winter. While there’s always much going on outside at this time of year, here’s just a handful of images of what you might encounter on your walk around the outdoor areas of the Museum. Stop by the and sit at the bird feeders at Bird Viewing and you might get a peek at a bluebird. This female was waiting her turn as the male was busily attacking the suetRead more

What’s for dinner?

The small island that is directly off the boardwalk where that western red cedar structure makes a left hand turn on its way to the bear overlook is a hub of activity during at least part of each day. Fish are obviously congregated¬†among the roots and tangle of branches under the water there. There are often mergansers fishing in this spot and it is easily viewed from the boardwalk as you descend. It’s also far enough away from the boardwalkRead more