Hercules, Oakworms, and a Tussock Moth

Top Photo: Female eastern Hercules beetle. The beetle in the banner photo above was brought in to the museum insectarium by Facilities Tech Daniel. He found the beetle at a gas station early one morning while on the way to work. It was later released in the Butterfly House Garden. Gas stations are good places to search for some types of beetles, moths, and other insects who are attracted to the 24 hours of artificial light provided by the businesses.Read more

Nest Box Final Count 6.18.24/6.25.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. The last nest with birds has emptied, all the birds have fledged. There are new berry baskets in each of our six nest boxes in case a bluebird, chickadee or even a house wren decides to give it another go. But, it’s late in the season and though we’ve gone into August in years past, it doesn’t seem as though it will happen this year. I see no new nest under construction, though one nestRead more

Nest Box Update 6.11.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. We now have only one active nest with three nestlings. One nest just fledged five bluebirds while all the remaining nest boxes are empty. — The Cow Pasture, Explore the Wild, Into the Mist, Parking Deck East and Parking Deck West boxes are all without occupants, the PKW nest having just fledged their five nestlings during the past week. The Butterfly House nest box, the last on the list of weekly inspections, has three bluebirdRead more

Little Bear and Some Late Spring Encounters

Top Photo: Little Bear by the waterfall. Little Bear’s pelage stands out among our three black bears occupying the Black Bear Enclosure. The following are subjects you might encounter on our Outdoor Loop Trail in late spring to early summer, now. Two very common and widespread dragonflies, common whitetail and eastern amberwing are sure to be seen on any sunny day. Not as frequently seen but still common are Carolina saddlebags. They spend much of their time on the wing.Read more

Comings and Goings

Top Photo: Tree swallow rests on a snag between nesting duties. Tree swallows have chosen to nest in the oversized (for them) wood duck nest box in our wetlands. We’ve hosted wood ducks, great-crested flycatchers, raccoons, European hornets and tree swallows as well as some creatures I may not be aware of. All are welcome. This is the third year in a row for the swallows. Mulberries are having a bumper year at the museum and the birds are lovingRead more

Nest Box Update 5.14.24

Top Photo: eastern bluebird eggs. Of our six nest boxes, three hold bluebird eggs, two, five, and three for a total of ten eggs. The other three nest boxes are empty. — The Cow Pasture nest box still contains two bluebird eggs. There have been two eggs in this nest since at least April 30’s inspection of the nest boxes, two weeks ago. These eggs should have hatched. I’ve not seen adult bluebirds in the area. Has this nest beenRead more

Cicadas and Other Things Around the Campus

Top Photo: Magicada tredecim, one of two species of periodical cicadas emerging this spring in the Central Piedmont of North Carolina. You’ve most likely heard about the emergence of two broods of cicadas this spring, Brood XIII and Brood XIX of seventeen year and thirteen year periodical cicadas, respectively. Here in Durham and surrounding counties there is no overlap of the two broods but there are two species emerging at the same time from Brood XIX. Magicada tredecim and MagicadaRead more

More Spring Sightings and a Red Wolf Observation

Top Photo: Male common whitetail. Common whitetails are everywhere. Ponds, lakes, even slow moving rivers and streams are home to this ubiquitous skimmer. The standout white/blue abdomen and dark marks on the wings lend to the easy recognizability of the male. The female too, is easily recognized by the three dark markings on each of her four wings. They both tend to perch low to, or directly on, the ground. Another early season dragonfly making an appearance is the blueRead more

Red Wolf Play

Top Photo: Oak in the grass. Oak, our female red wolf on display in Explore the Wild, is the more active of the two wolves in the enclosure. You’re more likely to see the sleek Oak trotting about the enclosure than the big lumbering male Adeyha. Here, in true Oak fashion, she romps in the tall grass of the compound. On the other side of the enclosure… The object of Oak’s attention is a deer pelt given her by theRead more