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

Aquatic Turtle Nesting Season

Top Photo: Yellow-bellied slider returning from early morning egg laying near Butterfly House. It’s aquatic turtle nesting season. Our sliders, musk, painted, and snapping turtles all come ashore during this season to dig nests and lay eggs. They may travel quite a distance from water to do this, from Hideaway Woods to Earth Moves and all points in between. If you happen to see one of these turtles digging a nest, or hiking across one of our paths, give itRead more

New Arrivals in Wetlands

Top Photo: Paddling out in the wetlands (new wetlands structure coming). If you’ve been out in Explore the Wild lately you may have noticed several new arrivals in and around the Wetlands, a floating walkway, geese, ducks, and a snake. First, the walkway. A new floating walkway across at least part of our wetlands has arrived in sections and is now in the process of being bolted together in Explore the Wild. If you stroll through the area, you mostRead more

Herons

Top Photo: Great blue heron. Great blue herons (GBHs) are by far the most often observed heron in our wetlands. They, along with green herons, nest locally. Though green herons tend to move either to the coast or to the south after mid October, great blue herons may be seen at any time of the year. A thick layer of ice on the pond is the only deterrent to a great blue heron showing up. Frogs, fish, in fact, anyRead more

Garden Watch

Top Photo: Goldenrod in bloom at Wander Away. Visiting a garden at this time of year can be very rewarding. Goldenrod likes to wait until September or later to bloom, and like boneset mentioned in the previous post, has tiny blossoms which attract big crowds. Butterflies, bees and wasps are too busy sucking up nectar to pay much attention to naturalists who stare at them while they refuel. If you’re patient, and you’re taking pictures, you may end up withRead more

Fall

Top Photo: A female monarch butterfly sips nectar from sunflower. Fall is here. It’s September and fall is all around us. Birds and butterflies are migrating, late season flowers are blooming, seeds are nearly ready to cut loose into the wind, and fruit is on the vine. It’s even a bit cooler outside than it’s been the past few weeks. Here’s a group of photos of what’s going on outside, in case you missed it because of the heat. AnRead more

A Pair of Wasps?

Top Photo: A mating pair of insects The pair drifted down to the ground from a nearby shrub. Superficially, they looked like wasps, paper wasps. But I could see right away there was something different about them which wasn’t quite wasp-like. But as it so often happens when you’re trying to capture a fleeting moment on camera, the eye stays on the viewfinder, positive IDs can wait till later. The two were locked into mating and appeared to be tryingRead more

Robber Flies

Top Photo: Giant robber fly Some call them assassin flies. I first learned of them as robber flies. Whatever you call them, they’re predatory flies which perch out in the open, often near areas with heavy insect traffic in order to wait in ambush to snatch other insects out of the air. Visit a flowering group of Tithonia, milkweed, Joe Pye weed, or other rich nectar source with insects busily flying from flower to flower and you might see oneRead more