Autumn Meadowhawks and Other Fall Things

Every year around this time I begin to see the first autumn meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum). These small red dragonflies are late season fliers, not emerging from their nymphal aquatic habitats until October. I saw the first one this year on October 27 perched upon smartweed in our wetland. Elsewhere, the leaves are rapidly turning. Many have already fallen. Not necessarily a sign of fall… Enjoy the view.Read more

More Fall

There’s still plenty of color left in this season, so give your eyes a treat by going outside and having a look around.                   Have fun!Read more

Sights of Spring

Canada Geese mate for life, and they are devoted. Watching our resident pair of Canadas here in our Wetland it’s obvious that they watch out for one another. The male is always on the lookout for danger as his mate feeds, bathes and preens, and rests. We know these geese well, they’re here every year at this time. The female stands out among Canada Geese, she has noticeable eye rings around her eyes. Canada geese are not only devoted toRead more

A Trip to the Mountains?

Thinking of going to the mountains to check out the fall leaves? Why waste precious fuel, money, and time (detouring around rock slides) when you can come to the Museum of Life + Science and see some of the most beautiful colors nature has to offer right here in your own backyard. Don’t believe me? Have a peek below. Convinced? Even if you miss the peak colors, there’s always something going on out-of-doors, up beyond the Main Plaza (where Grayson’sRead more

Looking Back: Flora

With the closing of the year it’s perhaps time to look back and see what we’ve observed on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. With plenty of rain and no deep freezes during spring, it was a fairly good year for the berry, seed, and nut crop. Many people in the Triangle area are reporting lower than usual numbers of certain birds at their feeders, particularly northern seed-eating species. This is anecdotal, but it would seem that the birdsRead more

Gum Balls and Mistletoe

This is a good time of year to look up among the bare branches of the trees for what couldn’t be seen when they were covered with leaves. The seeds of Sweetgums are enclosed in ball-shaped “fruits” or husks. The seeds are eaten by many birds and animals. In the two images at the top left, you can see an American Goldfinch perched among sweetgum balls, then reach down to pick a seed from one of the prickly balls. AppropriateRead more

Yellows, Reds, and Browns

The scene is changing rapidly. Although we still have some time to go, the leaves of the various deciduous trees are turning their respective yellows, reds, browns and all hues in between. The Willows are nearly devoid of leaves. What leaves that remain on the Sycamores and Ashes are brown. The Redbuds are yellow-green. The Maples and the Sweetgums are turning yellow, red, and burgundy. Wrapped around the trunks of trees, the leaves of Virginia Creeper are turning brilliant red.Read more