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

What You May Have Missed

Above, a large snapper basks on a warm rock in the bright early May sunshine. As you stroll along through the outdoor exhibits here at the museum there are many interesting sights for you to enjoy. Turtles are out basking, birds are exploiting the wetland’s lesser wild life, new blooms occur almost daily, and closer to the ground, you may witness an arthropod or two going about their daily routines. But you have to look, keep your eyes open toRead more

Things to Look for While Strolling the Outdoor Loop at the Museum of Life and Science

Yellow-bellied sliders are frequently seen out basking in the sun in our wetlands. Occasionally, and typically in spring and early summer, a snapping turtle partakes in the catching of rays. There are Colorado potato beetles and there are false potato beetles. Both eat plants in the nightshade (solanaceae) family, a group of plants of which both potato and tomato belong. This family includes many other species of plants including horsenettle or Carolina nettle (Solanum carolinense). We have much Carolina nettleRead more

Herps

With the warmer than usual weather, flowers are blooming early, butterflies are fluttering, and reptiles and amphibs are making premature appearances. I saw the first of the season northern water snake on February 25 (early by a few weeks) and several brown snakes crossing the path at different locations.   With the increased herpetological activity, our resident red-shouldered hawks have been on the hunt. Red shoulders eat frogs and snakes. February 25 brought with it many basking yellow-bellied sliders. MoreRead more

Spring!

I personally go with March first as the official arrival of spring, the so-called meteorological spring. Even so, some things are happening a bit ahead of time due to the unusually high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Just this past Monday I saw an eastern tiger swallowtail flying about. Around these parts, tiger swallowtails are butterflies of April, not March. The seventy and eighty degree weather accelerated the emergence of that butterfly, for sure. I thought I’d post a handful ofRead more

A Trapped Turtle

It was morning on the 12th of May. I received a call from Animal Keepers, Autumn and Sarah about a snapping turtle seen near the entrance to the bear compound. When I arrived on the scene the snapper had entered a small swamp between the compound and the open water of the Wetlands and was heading towards the water. The turtle had probably been out laying eggs and was now headed back to the safety and security of its much preferred aquatic habitat. SnappersRead more

Turtle Time

By this time of year I should have seen six, eight, even a dozen female turtles walking along the paths here at the Museum. Each spring, our aquatic turtles leave the water in search of safe places to dig a nest and lay eggs. I’ve only seen three turtles out and about this season. Two of those were relayed to me by Animal Keepers Autumn and Sarah. One was an eastern musk turtle, the other a common snapping turtle. The third turtle, aRead more

Spring Rolls Along

Spring continues to move along and the flora and fauna here at the Museum rolls along with it. Thousands, no, millions of neotropical migrant birds are moving through our area, flowers are inviting insects to pollinate themselves, tadpoles are becoming frogs, fish eggs have hatched, and an old friend showed up in the Wetlands. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, swallows, and many other birds are migrating north at this time. Most migrate at night (less likely to be seen by hungry hawkRead more

Turtles, Turtles, Turtles

Over the past three weeks I’ve come across 13 juvenile Yellow-bellied Turtles. I’ve either spotted them myself at known nest sites or Museum guests and staff have spied them, and in some cases, brought them to me after finding the little herps wandering around the campus. Who knows how many of the turtles have gone unseen while making their way to the Wetlands here at the Museum. How many of the turtles wander off in the wrong direction, away fromRead more

Some Goings On

Just a handful of things that you might want to keep an eye out for while walking along the Outdoor Loop Trail this spring at the Museum of Life and Science. Whenever an “outside” pair of geese fly into the Wetlands, the resident gander takes offensive action towards the intruder. Sometimes a simple flyby suffices to send them on their way. Other times, it may get physical. Enjoy your walk!Read more