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 upon where you’re standing, the wetlands can truly sparkle and shine.

The Carolina sky reflected in the wetland’s water.

A quick stop at the Black Bear Overlook may yield more than expected.

A red-shouldered hawk on lookout in the bear enclosure.

Back out to the boardwalk and the wetland does it again.

The wetland trees and shrubs reflect their colors.

Along the boardwalk’s railing…

A gray squirrel has been munching away on pine seeds.
The view from the Main Wetlands Overlook.

You can’t (or shouldn’t) pass the wolves without having a peek into their enclosure.

Female red wolf, 1858 watches for the source of a sound coming from outside her enclosure.
After animal keepers visit her enclosure our female sniffs out and snatches a meatball.
One of the pups, still shy about approaching the overlook when people are present, stops in his/her tracks.
Pup #2206 cautiously eyes me as he goes for a meatball.

On my way again.

Great blue heron works the wetlands.

While walking through Catch the Wind, I noticed a small wasp clinging to something on the path. It was a crab spider.

A wasp has captured a crab spider.

The wasp tried several times to fly off with the spider but couldn’t make it more than a foot at a time.

The wasp appears to be removing the legs from the spider.

If you look closely at the photo above you may see there are three missing legs on the spider, two are lying on the pavement, one behind the spider, the other in front. You can see the leg sockets the legs were attached to on the spider. At this point the spider is paralyzed. The struggle is over. All that’s needed is to transport the spider to the wasp’s burrow for placement in a nest chamber for its larvae to consume. Is the wasp purposely removing the legs to ease the transport of the spider?

I would say yes. The wasp has six legs, the spider eight. You can image there is much tripping over, and tangling of, legs in a situation like the one above. The legs too, probably create drag while in flight. And last, the legs don’t contain much meat, remember the wasp’s larvae will be consuming the spider once back in the nest. The cephalothorax and abdomen, sans legs, will make a much more aerodynamic and lighter haul.

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