Winter Continues

We’ve had both warm and cold weather so far this season, mostly warm. Regardless of the temperature, things are rolling along as always; sunny days bring out turtles to bask, ducks feed, court, and rest in our wetland, and Mahonia blooms as it always does this time of year on the Dinosaur Trail and elsewhere around the campus. There seems to have been an unusual amount of fungi this fall and winter, perhaps due to the significant rain we’ve experienced.Read more

Turtle Nest Time

It’s turtle nesting season. There’ve been numerous aquatic turtle sightings along the paths and outdoor exhibits in the past few weeks, this week especially so. Both sliders and painted turtles have been observed searching for suitable nesting sites. Some have been seen in the act of digging a nest and laying eggs. After a satisfactory site is chosen the turtle urinates on the site loosening the hard clay making digging much easier. Digging is done with the hind legs. OnceRead more

What’s Going On Outside

If you’re walking the paths on a regular basis here at the Museum, you’re likely to see all manner of creature, winter, spring, summer, or fall. All of the creatures pictured below were photographed within the last few weeks. Brown snakes are common in this area. They attain lengths of approximately 12 inches, although the record is just over 19 inches. The individual in the photos above and below is a young one and is 6 to 7 inches. It wasRead more

Turtles?

With all of the snow and ice we’ve experienced recently, its difficult to believe that just a short while ago, January 16 to be exact, the two turtles in the above photo were out basking in the sun in our Wetlands. The eastern painted turtle (left and below) and yellow-bellied slider may yet again be seen hauled out on a log, and very soon. The temperatures are expected to be in the sixties this weekend, and may even get close toRead more

Laying Eggs

Alerted to its presence by Dale (Facilities), I took a detour in my weekly bluebird nest box inspection Tuesday and hightailed it up to the summer camp outdoor classrooms to see if the yellow-bellied slider he reported was still there. Dale said that she was in the middle of laying eggs and I wanted to first, see who she was (I mark the nesting turtles here at the Museum), and then confirm she was indeed laying eggs. When I arrived, theRead more

Brief Report from the Wetlands

First, some ode news, odonata, that is. Great blue skimmers and slaty skimmers have emerged from their watery, pre-adult aquatic habitat.       Eastern amber wings have been with us for some time, although I never tire of looking at them.     Common whitetails are in the process of ovipositing (laying eggs) in the Wetlands.         On cooler days, yellow-bellied sliders stack up on any available perch. But, you probably won’t see many turtles out baskingRead more

A Trapped Turtle

It was morning on the 12th of May. I received a call from Animal Keepers, Autumn and Sarah about a snapping turtle seen near the entrance to the bear compound. When I arrived on the scene the snapper had entered a small swamp between the compound and the open water of the Wetlands and was heading towards the water. The turtle had probably been out laying eggs and was now headed back to the safety and security of its much preferred aquatic habitat. SnappersRead more

Turtle Time

By this time of year I should have seen six, eight, even a dozen female turtles walking along the paths here at the Museum. Each spring, our aquatic turtles leave the water in search of safe places to dig a nest and lay eggs. I’ve only seen three turtles out and about this season. Two of those were relayed to me by Animal Keepers Autumn and Sarah. One was an eastern musk turtle, the other a common snapping turtle. The third turtle, aRead more

Spring Rolls Along

Spring continues to move along and the flora and fauna here at the Museum rolls along with it. Thousands, no, millions of neotropical migrant birds are moving through our area, flowers are inviting insects to pollinate themselves, tadpoles are becoming frogs, fish eggs have hatched, and an old friend showed up in the Wetlands. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, swallows, and many other birds are migrating north at this time. Most migrate at night (less likely to be seen by hungry hawkRead more

Some Spring Happenings

I’ve been negligent in my duties and haven’t been reporting as often as I’d like to on the goings on in Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. So much is happening, as it does every spring, that it’s tough to keep up. Here’s just a couple of handfuls of things that we’ve seen in the Wild over the past few weeks (not necessarily in chronological order). During the first week of April, American toads were calling out, their high-pitchedRead more