How Close Can You Get?

Top Photo: Ranger Patrick (lower right) photographing one of the local red-shouldered hawks (beyond and to right of pine tree – large tree trunk on left). Our resident red-shouldered hawks are quite used to human activity. When they’re hunting they seem to pay little or no attention to folks passing by. In the heat of the breeding season the birds seem even less concerned. They often allow close approach by photographers like Ranger Patrick in the photos here, as heRead more

Ducks, Cherry Dogwood, Crocus, Geese, Sliders, and Mistletoe

Top Photo: Hooded mergansers float and reflect in the wetland’s water. Here’s a handful of things to look for as you stroll around and through our outdoor areas during the last half of winter. We hope to entice hooded mergansers to nest in our wetlands. Cornelian cherry dogwood’s flower buds are about to burst open into a bright yellow display of florescence. The small tree shown here is located on your right, just outside the main building’s door to GatewayRead more

Hummingbird Moth Caterpillar

Top Photo: Can you find the caterpillar amongst the leaves? The literature states that hummingbird clearwings (Hemaris thysbe) lay their eggs on honeysuckle and viburnum, less frequently on a few other tree species. The moths have been documented laying eggs on viburnums here on campus and their caterpillars have been spotted on two different varieties of viburnum. The caterpillars reach a length of about 2 inches, a little less than half the size of some of the more familiar sphinxRead more

Brown Snake Babies

Top Photo: Juvenile northern, or DeKay’s, brown snake. Brown snakes are common here at the museum. They can be seen in any month of the year but are most frequently observed in late winter to early spring. They’re most often seen crossing the open pavement from one favored habitat to another, forest floor or grassy areas. It’s not uncommon to see one hanging from the talons or bill of a red-shouldered hawk during that period when the hawk’s nesting isRead more

Acadian

Top Photo: Acadian flycatcher nest on Dinosaur Trail. Acadian flycatchers are common enough in our area. Walk a mile or two along a local watercourse in spring and early summer and you’re likely to hear their emphatic PEE-chip call at several locations along the way. They prefer rather undisturbed forest habitat and typically choose riparian sites for nesting. They nest here at the museum. From below, the nest looks a mess, too flimsy to hold the maker let alone aRead more

Nest Box Update 5.24.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. We currently have 12 eggs in two active nests on our bluebird trail. One nest holds 6 bluebird eggs, the other 6 house wren eggs. I was surprised to find 3 additional eggs above last week’s 3 in the Cow Pasture nest on today’s inspection of nest boxes. As I mentioned last week, the second brood is usually smaller one than the first. This nest has as many eggs as the initial nest in thisRead more

Fake Eyes, a Lady with a White Spot, and a Skipper with a Silver Spot.

Top Photo: Eyed click beetle prepares to take flight. Fake Eyes Eyed click beetles (Alaus oculatus), or eyed elaters (elators), are large beetles in the click beetle family (Elateridae). Click beetles can launch themselves into the air via a spring-loaded latch and hinge mechanism between their abdomen and thorax. If you place the beetle on its back, and it still has plenty of energy stored in its body, it will flip several inches straight up into the air accompanied byRead more

Nest Box Update 5.19.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. A few days late, this report sees our bluebird trail with 9 eggs in two active nests. Three of those eggs are bluebird eggs, the rest belong to house wrens. The Cow Pasture nest now has 3 bluebird eggs. This nest box has already fledged 4 bluebirds. This, the second brood, is usually smaller in size than the first set of eggs. I don’t expect to see more eggs in this nest. The Explore theRead more

GBH

Top Photo: Great blue heron searching the wetlands. What is the great blue heron searching for when it slowly stalks through the belly deep water of our wetlands? The answer is, whatever it can catch? It eats whatever animal it can snag with its long pointed bill. What does the heron catch? Well, currently in our wetland there’s not that many choices. The resident mosquito fish are quite small. There’re some aquatic insects that might suit the tall, long-legged, wadingRead more

Nest Box Update 5.10.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. We currently have two nests with at least some activity. One nest is definitely house wren occupied, the other seems to be bluebird. The four remaining nest boxes appear to be stalled with either “old” abandoned nests or are where nestlings have recently fledged and are waiting for new occupants. The Cow Pasture nest box had recently fledged 4 bluebirds, had been cleaned and looks to be over-going a rebuild. The rebuilders are most likelyRead more