Waxy Fruit Eaters

Above: Yellow-rumped warbler on wax myrtle. Yellow-rumped warblers (also know as myrtle warblers) are not the only animals that eat wax myrtle fruit. I read somewhere that some 42 bird species consume the wax-coated seeds of the shrub. Besides the above mentioned warbler, I can only remember seeing a handful of species of bird partake, ruby-crowned kinglet, eastern phoebe, and a few more. Regardless of how many birds or other animals eat the wax myrtle fruit, the grand prize winnerRead more

Steamrolling Along

Spring just keeps on rollin’ along, and the pace is quickening. Many insects are emerging, flowers blooming, and birds migrating, whether returning to the local habitats or just passing through on their way further north. Here’s some of what’s been happening over the last week or so here at the Museum, in no particular order. An early season dragonfly. The blue corporal is named for the mature male’s blue color and the two stripes on the insect’s “shoulders,” one onRead more

Fall Arrivals

  Most of our winter staples have arrived here at the Museum. There are a handful of birds that arrive each fall at about the same time; yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-bellied sapsucker, hermit thrush, white-throated sparrow, and dark-eyed junco. There are other land birds that come in each year but those six are the main characters in our winter troop of feathered players. I haven’t seen a junco or a hermit thrush yet, but they’ve been observed in the local area outside ofRead more

Fall Goings On

It’s been drizzling, raining, and downright pouring over the past week or more here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. But, life goes on, herons gotta eat, snakes too, and wasps have to keep building additions to their hives as their numbers increase, you can’t stop progress. If, over the last week or so, you’ve happened to make it out past Hideaway Woods, our new outdoor playscape full of tree houses, woodland stream, nature trails, stick built “castles” and hammocks hung under a towering forest canopyRead more

In Celebration of Yellow Rumps, Ruby Crowns, and Blue Heads.

I saw the first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the season here at the Museum on October 10, just two weeks ago. The chilly northwest winds of the latter part of last week brought in masses of them. When this occurs, as it does every year at this time, I usually sift through them for other migrants and take photo after photo of the birds. The birds are typically very hungry from a long night’s flight so they’re not as concerned withRead more

Fall Again

I was walking past the Wax Myrtle that grows along the edge of the Wetlands and remarked about how the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten by the warblers, the Yellow-rumped Warblers. I hadn’t seen any yet this year, but about thirty minutes after making my remark about that waxy, myrtle fruit, there it was, my first sighting of a butter butt this season (10/10/13). The fruit of the Swamp Rose is ready for consumption as well, roseRead more

Nothing but Butter Butts

Back in October I posted a series of photos of fall plumaged Cape May Warblers feeding on aphids. Today it’s Yellow-rumped Warblers. Yellow-rumped Warblers have been variously known or referred to as Myrtle Warblers, Butter Butts, Dendroica coronata and Setophaga coronata. By whatever name, they’re still the same species and are the most often encountered warbler during North Carolina’s winter season. As I stood in Catch the Wind on a sunny day during the first week of December I watched a flock of these versatileRead more

Quiz Bird

In winter, one of the most frequently encountered birds on the Trail around the Outdoor Exhibits at the Museum is a rather small, indistinct bird. Before telling you what it is, I thought it might be fun to take a little photo quiz. But first, some hints. This bird is only found in our area in winter (usually October through April). It is largely insectivorous but can switch over to fruit in the winter, especially the fruit of the Wax Myrtle.Read more

Conspicuous, and not so Conspicuous, Bloomers

Sycamores, sweetgums, hornbeams, mulberries, maples, and willows on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop are all well on their way to being fully leafed. Bald Cypress, the only southern conifer that loses its leaves in winter, is showing fresh new growth. The ashes are lagging behind and are just now starting to spring forth with new leaves. The Museum’s Flowering Dogwoods came into their own the first week of this month, bursting open with all of their brilliant whiteness.Read 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