Taken For Granted

(Above: red-shouldered hawk wipes bill on railing after eating red swamp crayfish, on post behind hawk) I recently spent a few days at a coastal Virginia hawk watch witnessing hundreds of hawks passing overhead on their migratory treks south. Osprey, sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, harriers, bald eagles, merlins and kestrels made up the bulk of the cast. And, of course, there were lesser birds as palm warblers, parula, kinglets, flickers, as well various butterflies, like monarch, buckeye, and fiery andRead more

Look Who’s Back!

  I first noticed the grebe towards the end of the day on the 16th of October. I hadn’t seen one here in our Wetlands since 2012, September to be exact.     These smallest of grebes likely to be found in the east, are by no means rare, or even uncommon. A trip to any of the big lakes in our area during late fall or winter should score a look at one. Despite their relative common local occurence,Read more

The Crayfish Among Us: Part II

Our Wetlands is Changing! In August I wrote about a pile of crayfish hatchlings that I found on the path in Explore the Wild. I also wrote about how those crayfish are not native to our area and how they may be completely changing the Wetlands. The crayfish that I see and capture in our Wetlands are Red Swamp Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). I first noticed these large crayfish with the red claws a little over two years ago. Then, it was unusual toRead more

The Crayfish Among Us: Part I

During a Wetlands program for a school group last week, Master Teacher Courtney captured a crayfish which had strange growths on its head. Immediately upon seeing the crustacean, I suspected mites. I took a few photos of the crayfish and at the end of the program the decapod was released into the water along with all the other specimens used for the program. That was that, or so I thought. I became skeptical of the mites explanation after looking at theRead more

Is that Orzo?

I know that this is the middle of August, but I’ve been sitting on this way too long. Back in March, I noticed a pinkish blob at the edge of the pavement as I drove down into Explore the Wild. It was morning and it had rained heavily the night before. As I passed the pink blob I slowed to have a closer at it. The blob appeared as though it might be a small pile of some sort of wetRead more