Spring Happenings

Last week started cool, temperature-wise, but ended with a warmth that brought out all manner of creatures and plants that had been lying in wait for just that moment to arrive. There are a lot of photos to show and things to discuss, so let’s start with the snake above. It was pointed out to me that someone here at the museum had seen a water snake back at the end of February or in early March. We had someRead more

A Couple More Snakes

Here are photos of two snakes that are common to our area, one venomous the other non-venomous. I’ve discussed the difference between these two species in this blog on several occasions but this is simply a series of photos of the two, a copperhead and a northern water snake. Notice how variable northern water snakes are (below). Know what you’re looking at and watch your step as you go along.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

Copperhead vs Northern Water Snake

A slightly different version of this was posted in May of 2013. I know, it’s cold outside. Temps are in the mid-20s as I write and snakes are nowhere to be seen. Most of you are probably not going to spend a whole lot of time outdoors during the next few days, so why not sit back, grab a cup of joe (or cocoa), and brush up on your snake identification skills. Besides, we start seeing water snakes in our WetlandsRead more

Turtle Time

Top photo: Courtship display by male (foreground) yellow-bellied slider. By this time of year I should have seen six, eight, even a dozen female turtles walking along the paths here at the Museum. Each spring, our aquatic turtles leave the water in search of safe places to dig a nest and lay eggs. I’ve only seen three turtles out and about this season. Two of those were relayed to me by Animal Keepers Autumn and Sarah. One was an eastern musk turtle, theRead more

It Just Keeps Rolling Along

More springtime happenings.     Although there is some habitat available here on our 84 acres at the Museum, eastern kingbirds are annual stopovers, I’ve yet to see them nest here. In actuality, they prefer somewhat more in the way of open spaces for their nesting.         There’s is so much for you to see outdoors. The one requirement, you have to be there to see it!Read more

Spring Rolls Along

Spring continues to move along and the flora and fauna here at the Museum rolls along with it. Thousands, no, millions of neotropical migrant birds are moving through our area, flowers are inviting insects to pollinate themselves, tadpoles are becoming frogs, fish eggs have hatched, and an old friend showed up in the Wetlands. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, swallows, and many other birds are migrating north at this time. Most migrate at night (less likely to be seen by hungry hawkRead more

A Primrose, a Pea, and Snakes!

Pink evening primrose, or pink ladies, are just coming into bloom in Explore the Wild. There are two patches of these attractive flowers within fifty feet of one another in Explore the Wild, one on either side of the vending area.     Partridge pea, a plant that I try to cultivate in Catch the Wind here at the Museum has started to sprout. The seed leaves broke the surface last week and are starting to show the beginnings ofRead more

Some Spring Happenings

Top Photo: Immature plumaged hooded mergansers lingering in wetlands. I’ve been negligent in my duties and haven’t been reporting as often as I’d like to on the goings on in Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. So much is happening, as it does every spring, that it’s tough to keep up. Here’s just a couple of handfuls of things that we’ve seen in the Wild over the past few weeks (not necessarily in chronological order). During the first weekRead more

Some Old Familiar Faces

The fine weather of the past week has brought out some old friends. A large female northern water snake that likes to spend her spring days basking in the sun under the still bare branches of the dawn redwoods at the base of the boardwalk is back doing just that. Look for her on the right side of the boardwalk as you walk down the last descending portion of the boardwalk.       Although a few common snappers haveRead more