What’s Happening on the Outdoor Loop

Top Photo: The Wetlands in summer. If you’re familiar with the museum’s outdoor loop through Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild, you may be happy to know that life goes on as it always has in the past. There are, though, a few changes around the bend. Here, a few familiar sights and a few behind the scenes sneak previews. Shrubby St. John’s wort is in bloom, as it is each year at this time. The 4 foot tallRead more

Mergansers Are Back!

The first hooded merganser of the season arrived in our wetlands on Halloween. On November 1, there were four mergs. There are currently six, two males and four females, swimming and diving in the wetlands. Enjoy!Read more

The Fall

If you’ve been wandering around out-of-doors lately you my have noticed it’s fall, a great time to be out and about. Besides the leaves ablaze in the trees, there’s much to be seen and enjoyed on a walk along you’re favorite trail. Here are photos of some of what I saw on a trip around the outdoor loop through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind here at the Museum of Life and Science on one fine fall day. Depending uponRead more

Hooded Mergansers

Since the arrival of the first of the season, lone male merg back at the end of October, their numbers have steadily increased. Over the past few weeks the congregation in our Wetlands has ranged from the twenties and thirties, into the forties. I counted 41 mergansers on 5 December. They have been very busy pair bonding and feeding. They show a preference for feeding under and around the Main Wetlands Overlook where many golden shiners have concentrated. But, as mentioned in a previous post, theRead more

Duck Dance and Snowy Owl Update

  If you haven’t been down to the Museum’s Wetlands lately you should make a point of doing so. As I’ve mentioned several times in the last few weeks, the merganser numbers have increased. I’ve not seen as many of these magnificently plumaged birds in our Wetlands in the past 7 years. And, they’re putting on quite a show.     Pair bond displays are taking center stage out on the water. Sounds of splashing water and the rolling, croaking,Read more

Old Friends and a New Arrival

Hooded mergansers are back in the Wetlands. A handful of the fish eating waterfowl showed up over the weekend. I counted three males and a female this morning (11/7). While taking photos of the mergs, and just plain watching the birds swim about this morning, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a small, dark duck come in for a landing. I assumed it was a female merg coming in to join the others and went back toRead more

Odes

Dragonflies continue to add to the color of the Wetlands. Carolina Saddlebags, Black Saddlebags, Great Blue Skimmers, and a Twelve-spotted Skimmer have enhanced the viewing pleasure while gazing out over the water of the Wetlands this past week. I even saw a species that I hadn’t seen here since 2010. There were also several female Great Blue Skimmers seen and photo’d. A surprise was a Twelve-spotted Skimmer seen perched on smartweed in the Wetlands. These dragons are migratory and areRead more

Spring Happenings

Happenings over the past few weeks have been a bit overwhelming. Insects that have been held back from emergence by cooler than normal temperatures are doing so now, snakes and other reptiles have been performing their springtime rituals, neotropical migrants are moving through, and local nesters are doing just that, nesting. Some have already fledged their first broods. It’s been difficult for me to keep up with all of the biological happenings in terms of posting them to this Journal. That beingRead more

Lost Dinner

As I walked down the boardwalk into Explore the Wild, I noticed nine or so mergansers fishing for bullfrog tadpoles next to the boardwalk at the point where in goes to pavement. One of the birds was violently shaking something in its bill. I thought it a tadpole and tried to capture an image of the bird swallowing the amphibian. I watched as the bird shook the object and then drop it in the water, apparently to reposition it forRead more

Visitors

There’s a Great Egret dead center in the above photo. Great Egrets are infrequent visitors here at the Museum. I believe the last one that I saw here was in 2012 during the August heat. Most sightings are during the winter, however. The winter of 2011/2012 was busy with herons and egrets. A Great Egret and an “outsider” Great Blue Heron worried our local Great Blue to a frazzle for most of that winter until they nearly exhausted the supplyRead more