A Pair of Wasps?

Top Photo: A mating pair of insects The pair drifted down to the ground from a nearby shrub. Superficially, they looked like wasps, paper wasps. But I could see right away there was something different about them which wasn’t quite wasp-like. But as it so often happens when you’re trying to capture a fleeting moment on camera, the eye stays on the viewfinder, positive IDs can wait till later. The two were locked into mating and appeared to be tryingRead more

TACO Week

No, TACO Week doesn’t mean we here at the museum will be making, serving, or eating tacos, although you can eat tacos that week if you desire. TACO Week is short for Take A Child Outdoors Week. You should already be doing that, taking your kids out of doors, as often as you can. But, this is just a reminder, an excuse, in case it slipped your mind. This year, TACO Week is from 24 thru 30 September. Though we’reRead more

Bluebird Update 7.14.15

The last of the active nests has been vacated. The three bluebirds that have been fed and protected by their parents for the past several weeks in the nest box at the Butterfly House, have fledged. They are out in the real world learning how to secure food for themselves, find shelter, and hopefully avoid predators. The only activity in any of the nest boxes is that of spiders and wasps.     The paper wasp nest at the Sailboat PondRead more

Harvester Chrysalis and other Insect and Flora News From the Wild

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a chrysalis on the hazel alder in Explore the Wild. Last week there were at least four harvester caterpillars on the plant. This past Saturday (8/30) I noticed one of the larva crawl off and away from the aphids it had been munching on. I suspected it was going off to pupate. Apparently though, it hadn’t enough to eat and turned back around towards the place from which it had come, it couldRead more

Bluebird Update 6/24/14

We currently have one nest with four yet to hatch eggs, and one nest with four nestlings. There are three empty nests. One nest has failed. The Cow Pasture eggs finally hatched. All four nestlings look to be in good shape. When I opened the side door of the nest box at the Bungee Jump I expected to see four bluebird nestlings inside. What I found were two ant covered, dead nestlings and two unhatched eggs. There were no adultRead more

Spring at the Museum?

It’s December not April. What’s going on with the wildlife here at the Museum. Ranger Lew saw a Northern Water Snake on Saturday (12/3). Spring Peepers were calling and Yellow-bellied Sliders were out basking in the near 70 degree air of yesterday afternoon (12/6). Neither peepers or basking Turtles are unusual during this time of year though, a few days of warm temps is often enough to bring either of those herps out of hiding, even in the dead ofRead more

Aquatics, Early Butterflies, and Bees and Wasps

Although the first few days of March were cold and snowy, by the end of the first week it had warmed enough so that many insects, absent for months, were once again busily going about their daily routines. Aquatic insects observed in the Wetlands during the first half of March were Whirligig Beetle, various diving beetles, Water Boatman, Backswimmer, and Water Strider. Cabbage White, Falcate Orangetip (3/11), Sleepy Orange, Orange Sulphur, Spring Azure (3/11), Questionmark, Mourning Cloak (3/11), and AmericanRead more

Exploratory Outing

The warm weather which arrived on the 7th of February brought out two butterflies that winter as adults tucked away under tree bark or in small cavities in trees: a well-worn American Snout and an equally worn Questionmark. A very fresh Sleepy Orange was also seen and had apparently emerged from a chrysalis not long prior to being observed flying along the path on the north side of the Wetlands. A paper wasp seen on February 2 was slowly walkingRead more

Fall Takes Over

The Wetlands is changing rapidly. The vista with its brilliant autumn light bouncing off the colorful leaves and reflecting in the water is perhaps at its best in the fall. It’s worth a visit just for the view, and there’s still more to come! Besides the still blooming Goldenrod, Groundsel Tree (a shrub) and Heath Aster are blooming. Groundsel Tree (see Groundsel Tree, Explore the Wild Journal, September 1-15, 2008) has been attracting many bees, wasps, and other insects toRead more