Something to Look At

Top Photo: Bumble bee takes nectar and transfers pollen in the process. Here, I have a quick list of photos of what you might see on a walk around the outdoor trails here at the museum. Last year we had at least three bald-faced hornet hives on the campus. One was in a dawn redwood tree over the boardwalk, another in a pine along one of the service roads, and the third was in a small maple hanging over EllerbeRead more

Out and About

Top Photo: Green heron perches on willow branch near water’s edge. Green herons are a fairly common sight in the wetlands during summer. They’ve nested at the museum more than a few times. I’ve previously mentioned in this blog the benefits for the naturalist who follows the eye of the bird. If you see a bird stare skyward it’s often worth your while to look up and see what the bird’s looking at. It may be a predator worthy ofRead more

Hunting in Winter

Can you see the bird in the above photo? It’s a red-shouldered hawk. As mentioned in the previous post, Herps (reptiles and amphibians), there’s been lizard, snake, and frog activity lately. This red shoulder is hunting those creatures. It’s also keeping an eye out for any incautious bird, shrew or rodent. Looking high and low, left and right, the hawk keeps a sharp eye on it’s environment for the slightest movement, ready to pounce. After many minutes (at least anRead 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

And a Red-shouldered too!

Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear a red-shouldered hawk here at the Museum. I’ve been allowed to observe them hunting and courting. I’ve been able to get close looks at them in various plumages and molts. I’ve even seen them catch a variety of prey as diverse as frogs and toads, snakes, rats, and even fish. It’s my opinion that red-shouldereds will eat whatever comes their way, as long as it’s not too large toRead more

Racer

This Black Racer (or one just like it) has recently been very active along the path between the two Wetlands Overlooks. Tuesday, I saw it attempt to cross the path three times, each attempt was interrupted by passers by. Yesterday it was taking life easy, coiled up in one of our water snakes’ favorite spots on the north side of the Wetlands.Read more

A New Amphibian Song and other Herp News

Without question, American Toads (Bufo americanus) have taken the lead in the chorus of amphibian songsters. Peepers, chorus frogs and Pickerel Frogs have nearly completed their seasonal breeding and are now less frequently heard or seen. The toads began to move down into the Wetlands in numbers during the last week in March, crossing the pavement and massing on the north side of the water amongst the willows and rushes. Once the toads reach the water the males find aRead more