You Have to Go Outside to See It

Top Photo: Canada geese float about in wetlands. You can’t help but see the Canada geese drifting about on our three acre pond in Explore the Wild. They’re big, loud, and recently, there’ve been ten of them present, five pairs. With the installation of the floating walkway in our wetlands you may have the opportunity to get quite close to the geese. Of course, they sometimes walk along the main path grazing on the grass as they go, so youRead more

Nest Box Update 2.14.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs (nest from previous season). Three of our six nest boxes are occupied, two by bluebirds one by chickadees. One of the bluebird nests has egg activity. —————— When I peered into the nest box at the Cow Pasture I saw much the same as I saw last week, a finished bluebird’s nest. Other than a few pine needles shuffled about, it looked as though it hadn’t been touched in a week. It wasn’t until IRead more

More Spring

Top Photo: Northern Mockingbird establishes its territory. Note leaf buds sprouting from tree branches. As temperatures settle back from highs in the mid to upper 70s to seasonal norms of 50s and 60s, more signs of spring are being seen around campus. Here’s some examples. The day following the capture of the photo above, fresh young leaves emerged from the buds of the fig tree our mockingbird was claiming as his own. Blue violet is common along paths in ExploreRead more

Nest Box Update 3.7.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs (previous season). We now have three nest boxes being attended to. Two of the nests are being worked on by eastern bluebirds while one is the property of a pair of Carolina chickadees. The Cow Pasture nest box has a completed bluebird nest. A female was nearby as we opened the nest box for a peek. The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are empty with no sign of activity. The ParkingRead more

Spring Is Here!

Top Photo: Redbud, about to burst wide open. March 1 is the first day of Spring. Many wait till the equinox to proclaim the season, but for me it’s the first day of March. Most meteorologist agree. Besides the photo of the redbud above, here’s a group of photos which may help confirm the arrival of the season. A single soft-white flower and a single rounded, lobed, leaf means bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). Red juice from the stem can be usedRead more

Nest Box Update 2.28.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs (from previous season). Not much has changed since last week’s nest box inspection. The same two nest boxes have been active, though one in a negative manner. There is definitely interest in both boxes. The Cow Pasture nest box holds a near complete bluebird nest. The bluebirds have been busy. Too early for eggs? The Explore the Wild and Into the Mist nest boxes are untouched. The nest box on the east side of theRead more

Early Spring Things to See

Top Photo: Balancing act by yellow-bellied slider. The unusually warm February has brought out early baskers, bloomers and animal hormones. If you haven’t seen turtles basking in the wetlands you haven’t been looking very hard. Every available perch is occupied, with no room to spare. Normally heavy sleepers, I even saw a snapping turtle the other day. Red buckeye, one of the earliest shrubs to open up, is doing so now. There are a dozen of them planted along theRead more

Nest Box Update 2.21.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs (from previous season). It’s early in the season. I usually don’t start next box checks until March. But the warm weather and singing birds had me anxious. And, the fact that there were a few pine needles in one of the nest boxes last week as we placed new berry baskets in them, had me curious too. Two of our nest boxes showed activity, not much, but some interest by the birds. The nest boxRead more

Immature Plumage

Top Photo: Adult male hooded merganser. The next time you’re down in our wetlands, scrutinize the female mergansers. One of them may be a male. Adult male hooded mergansers (photo above) are easy to pick out in a crowd. Their chestnut sides, black back, black and white breast, black and white crested head, and amber eye stand out, for sure. Females are a bit more cryptically plumaged. They’re the ones who will be incubating the eggs inside a tree-cavity nestRead more

The Cooper’s Hawk

Top Photo: Cooper’s hawk in courtship display flight over museum. While spying on hooded mergansers in our wetland here at the Museum of Life + Science, I noticed one of the ducks tilt its head to the side and glance skyward. Reasoning the merganser was eyeing something potentially hazardous to itself, I too craned upward, thinking it perhaps an eagle or other worthy raptor. There, way up high against a severe clear sky was a Cooper’s hawk. It’s stiff postureRead more