Winter News

The temperatures have taken a nose dive. It’s a good twenty degrees colder today than it was yesterday—and will remain so for the next week or more. The high today will be near 50º which is average for this time of year. If you lived up north, close to the Canadian border, that’d be a shirtsleeve day for sure. But we’re here in North Carolina, and after a week or more of 60’s and 70’s (with lows around fifty), itRead more

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered hawks are common in our area. They vociferously proclaim their presence as they fly about the landscape or perch prominently atop one of our towering pines here at the Museum. But when they’re hunting from a perch along a favorite game trail or swamp, they are dead quiet, and deadly serious. I spotted the hawk, pictured here, in the swamp on the far side of the outdoor exhibits loop just as you leave Catch the Wind heading for ExploreRead more

Great Blue and Other Interesting Sightings

  Great blue heron (GBH) has been a common sight here at the Museum for the past eight years. Most of that time there was one present on a daily basis in the Wetlands. I’m afraid, though, our long time resident GBH has left us. I don’t know why our local GBH has moved on or whether or not it has expired, but I have not seen it. I keep a weekly checklist of all the birds I see here at the Museum, check it offRead more

Frogs!

Although spring peepers and upland chorus frogs, and the occasional low croaking call of a pickerel frog, have been calling off and on for several weeks now, they are in full force at this time. Today, I was able to get a handful of photos of pickerel frogs and one shot of a bullfrog. The other two species, the tiny peepers and chorus frogs, proved elusive. Here they are.           Come on out a see how many frogsRead more

Spring!!

It seems the lengthening days and warm weather of last week created a stirring in some of the local wildlife. As I drove in to work Friday I saw two Black Vultures copulating on the side of the road. On Wednesday (4/19) I saw one of our local Red-shouldered Hawks aloft, stooping, soaring, and screaming for all the world to see and hear his desire to procreate. I later saw the bird land next to another red-shoulder and mount the otherRead more

Spring, er, Winter Update

I saw two butterfly species on this second day of February, several Sleepy Oranges and a Mourning Cloak. Spring Peepers have been calling, as mentioned in an earlier post. Today, I actually saw one. Besides the snake being captured by a Red-shouldered Hawk last Friday, Kent (Animal Department) reported seeing what was probably the same hawk catch one in the Lemur Yard on Sunday (1/29/12). From the descriptions given it doesn’t seem as though they were Brown Snakes so, although IRead more

Spring at the Museum?

It’s December not April. What’s going on with the wildlife here at the Museum. Ranger Lew saw a Northern Water Snake on Saturday (12/3). Spring Peepers were calling and Yellow-bellied Sliders were out basking in the near 70 degree air of yesterday afternoon (12/6). Neither peepers or basking Turtles are unusual during this time of year though, a few days of warm temps is often enough to bring either of those herps out of hiding, even in the dead ofRead more

May Herpetological Happenings

At this time of year many turtles are moving up to dry land to lay eggs. They turn up in the most peculiar of places in their quest for the perfect spot in which to dig a hole and lay their eggs (According to Ornithopter Operator, John Hammons, a Yellow-bellied Slider was found on the Ornithopter one May morning). Museum staff often encounter Yellow-bellied Turtles walking down the paved path in Explore the Wild or Catch the Wind while theyRead more

Fish Crows (w/audio this time) and Herp and Ode Updates

Fish Crows continued to fly over on Tuesday (3/9). I searched my personal audio library that I keep for video soundtracks and found a file that contains the nasal calls of the Fish Crows as they wing by. Have a listen here: [audio:/wp-content/files/2/2010/03/fishcrow.mp3|titles=fishcrow] The same day, Spring Peepers, Upland Chorus Frogs, (The chorus frogs are the ones that sound like someone running their finger down a comb, the peepers are the higher pitched single notes heard)[audio:/wp-content/files/2/2010/03/chorus_peeper.mp3|titles=chorus_peeper] Pickerel Frogs, [audio:/wp-content/files/2/2010/03/pickerel-frog.mp3|titles=pickerel frog]andRead more

February’s Bold Turtles and a Peep from the Frogs

With the return of more seasonal temperatures during the latter half of February the only reptiles or amphibians in evidence were the occasional Painted or Yellow-bellied Turtle out basking in the Wetlands and Spring Peepers which sporadically break out in song wherever there is water (image at left). The peeper activity should pick up in the next few weeks along with Upland Chorus Frogs. In fact, herp (herpetological) activity in general will pick up in the next few weeks.Read more