Falling Into Winter

We’re on the back side of fall and sliding into winter. There’s still much going on out-of-doors with lots to see if you keep an eye open to it. Here’s some of what I’ve been seeing. Asters are late summer and fall blooming flowers. They’re still blooming in the garden in front of our Butterfly House. Red buckeye fruit have already burst open spilling their large brown seeds (buckeyes) to the ground. Several common snapping turtle hatchlings were spotted bothRead more

Some Sights From the Wild

Hearts a bursting or strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) is showing off its namesake fruit. There are a dozen or so of these plants across the campus. The easiest to see and photograph is on the Dinosaur Trail, on the right side of the path just past the Albertosaurus. While on the Dino Trail, keep an eye out for a flatworm or land planarian, especially on warm, rainy days. Most people are familiar with planarian worms from biology lab back inRead 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

What You Could See…

Pictures often say so much more than words can. That’s why I’ve put together the following two dozen images of both plant and plant users (Lepidoptera and one Araneae) that you can find right here at the Museum. You may have to look a little closer than you may be accustomed to, but they’re here. Let’s start with the Araneae. The wolf spider below has captured something, and though it’s difficult to tell exactly what that something is, it looksRead more

More Summer Finds

Even though summer is fading into fall, there’s still plenty of flowers blooming and insects buzzy. In fact, insects are probably more numerous at this time of year than at any other time. Here’s a sample of what you may see on a leisurely walk through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, or any local park, nature preserve, or in your own backyard. Blue dashers are small dragonflies found at just about any pond, lake, marsh or ditch inRead more

A Glimpse of the Past

I was walking down the path that leads from Catch the Wind to Explore the Wild on the far side of that half mile exhibit loop. I glanced to my right and noticed a small tan-colored object dangling from a twig on a hornbeam, or ironwood, tree on the right side of the path, chrysalis. The tree is very close to a patch of partridge pea, which is host to cloudless sulphur butterflies in late summer and fall. I sawRead more

A Sphinx in Need, Busy Sulphurs, and a Tiger In-between

  The large green object that the smaller white objects are attached to in the above photo is a caterpillar, a hornworm, a rustic sphinx moth larva. The white objects are the pupae of a tiny parasitic wasp, a brachonid wasp, which lays its eggs under the skin of its host (like the unfortunate caterpillar above). The larvae that later hatch eat the caterpillar from within until ready to pupate. They then drill themselves out through the skin and form aRead 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

Other September Sights

As many of you know, birds are on the move. The other day I ran into a group of neotropical migrants out on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. In attendance were common yellowthroat, American redstart, Blackburnian, magnolia, northern parula, and prairie warblers, and red-eyed and white-eyed vireos to name just a handful. I’m sure I missed seeing many of the birds that were around that day, but there’s more to come. The next cold front should bring inRead more

Not a cloud in sight

As I mentioned in a recent post, Cloudless Sulphurs are laying eggs on our Partridge Pea out in Catch the Wind. Partridge Pea is a senna, a legume. If you have it growing in your yard you will have Cloudless Sulphur caterpillars on the plant, it’s a fairly certain thing in our area. The butterfly is common from about mid July to November, most common in August and September, right now! Cloudless Sulphurs presumably get their common name from theRead more