What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more

Last Chance to Get Out and Enjoy the Cold

In a day or two all of this coldness will be behind us. What little bit of snow we had will be forgotten too, a faded memory. So, if you like the cold you should get outside now and enjoy it. While you’re out there, check any remaining patches of snow for animal tracks, see who’s been wandering around the neighborhood while you’ve been warm and cozy inside. Go out and see what you can find. Every track tells aRead more

Sleeping Raccoon

T’was a fine mid-November morn as I walked through Catch the Wind. I’d stopped to look through the partridge pea patch across from the signage which introduces Catch the Wind to hikers, walkers and strollers making their way around our outdoor exhibits. In the fall, partridge pea produces many pods filled with copious amounts of seeds. As the pods dry, they twisted upon themselves forcing the seeds to propel themselves out away from the plant. I was hoping to collectRead more

Green Heron Retrospection

On June 24, I noticed a pair of green herons carrying twigs to a small black willow tree forty feet or so from the Main Wetlands Overlook in Explore the Wild. Four days later there was an egg in the nest. A second egg could be seen in the nest two days after the first. By July 2, there were three eggs. Two eggs hatched on 19 July. A third hatchling’s fuzzy head appeared above the rim of the nest twoRead 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

Of Note

On the 81 degree day of Tuesday, March 17, a bald eagle was spotted (thanks to Al – Facilities) soaring over Catch the Wind. Thanks to a few Museum guests, I spotted the first of the season (for me) northern water snake. And, towards the end of the day, a raccoon was foraging along the path in Explore the Wild.         By the way, if you happen to see a raccoon here at the Museum which is close toRead more

Cold Outside

  That’s right, it’s cold outside. It’s been in the teens most of the day (2/19) with single digits forecast for tonight and early tomorrow.     You can always go out and see who or what has been leaving tracks in the snow.             Don’t let the cold keep you from enjoying the out-of-doors. Of course, dress warmly, but don’t let lack of heat stop you from doing what you want to do. Oh,Read more

Around the Wetlands

On any random day in the Wetlands, if you keep your eyes opened wide, you’re likely to see many things. Here’s just a few of the sights that I witnessed during the second half of October.     I was standing near the Main Black Bear Overlook when I noticed a caterpillar on one of the leaves of a winged elm tree. It was a banded tussock moth caterpillar. These caterpillars are common enough in September and October. I seeRead more

What Happened to the Green Herons in the Wetlands

I’ve seen zero activity this past week at either of the green heron nests in our Wetlands. I saw a heron flying away from the Wetlands Saturday (6/21) and one flew in to fish late in the day Wednesday (6/25). What has happened to the two heron nests that were started, completed and in which eggs had been deposited, at least in the nest visible from the Main Wetlands Overlook. The other nest, which is difficult to see, was placed in 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