Three Hives

Top Photo: One of three known bald-faced hornet’s nests at museum this year. There have been at least three active bald-faced hornet nests on our 84 acre campus this year. It’s likely there were more, but only three were discovered. Two of the hives were found by the sharp eye of Ranger Martha who is always on the lookout for mycelium. As is often the case when searching for one thing, you’re often surprised by the serendipitous discovery of somethingRead more

November

Top Photo: Panaeolus sp. mushroom. These attractive mushrooms (Panaeolus sp.) sprouted under a fern at the entrance to the Dinosaur Trail. Boxelder, also known as ashleaf maple is a common tree here at the museum, but none reach their maximum height of about 60 feet. The name ashleaf maple comes from the tree’s compound leaves resemblance to ash leaves. It usually has five leaflets per leaf but may also have as little as three leaflets, which is the reason forRead more

Go Out and Take Some Photos

There are many photo opportunities here on our 84 acre campus. Here’s some of the things I ran into the past few weeks. While at “Bird Viewing” in Catch the Wind, I noticed a young brown thrasher picking up discarded or spilled sunflower seeds below the feeders. The inexperienced bird flew within ten feet of me and briefly posed for a photo (tip-sit quietly at the feeders). Along with the thrasher and squirrel, an American robin was picking off wormsRead more

Cow Killer and Wandering Gliders

Top Image: Cow Killer or velvet ant, a flightless female parasitic wasp. A cow killer (Dasymutilla occidentalis) is a wasp. The females are flightless. If you’ve seen one, you’ve surely remembered it for its velvety, bright red or orange and black coloration. It was probably racing around your backyard, a sandy patch of soil with sparse vegetation, or across the hiking trail you were trekking down.     If you were wondering what the insect was doing, dashing around as it was,Read more

The Paper Chase

  What is the insect in the photo up to? First, let’s establish what the insect is. You may have guessed by its shape that it’s a wasp. You’d be correct. It’s a bald-faced hornet, named for the white (bald) face.     Bald-faced hornets have a reputation, good or bad, for vigorously protecting their hives from intruders. They will activity pursue, en masse, perceived destroyers of their hives. Like the familiar yellowjackets, which is what these wasps actually are, a type of yellowjacket, they will chaseRead more

Things you may have walked past and not noticed.

This past Saturday, I saw an adult Pickerel Frog out on the path in Explore the Wild. It was a bright sunny, and dry day. I probably wouldn’t even mention this if it were February or March, or even April, the months when this species breeds, necessity bringing them down to the water for courting and laying eggs. Most of the rest of the year they’re up in the woods or well hidden along the edge of the water, notRead more

Cicada Killer at Large

I heard an Annual Cicada calling from somewhere in the trees around my house about two weeks ago. I saw one this past Sunday (6/24). I’ve yet to hear or see one at the Museum. On Tuesday June 26, I saw the first of the season Cicada Killer in front of the Butterfly House here at the Museum. If you’re thinking that this cicada killer is a bit early since the object of the wasp’s attention, cicadas, are not evenRead more