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

Polyphemus

Top Photo: Polyphemus (pol-uh-FEE-muhs) moth cocoon hanging from twig in Earth Moves. Some silk moths spend the winter in cocoons in the leaf liter. Some burrow underground. At least some Polyphemus moths winter as pupa wrapped up and hanging from a twig or branch of their host tree via a peduncle. The further south Polyphemus moths live, the more likely this behavior. Occasionally, though, these hanging cocoons drop off into the leaf liter. The one pictured here was found hangingRead more

Apricot Blooms

Japanese apricot (Prunus mume), or Chinese plum is once again blooming here at the museum. At about the same time every year I report on this small tree coming into flower. It’s obviously an early bloomer. Each year around mid-January it sets forth its one inch pink, yellow stamened blooms. Originating in China, It’s been cultivated for some 1500 years around the world. Our little tree is along side the path just across from the east entrance to the FarmRead more

A Hawk Tale

Top Photo: Unidentified large brown bird. You’re walking along the path. The low mid-morning sun is bright and shining directly into your face. A large bird flies by and catches your eye. It lands high up in a tree some fifty or so yards away. Branches restrict your view and the bird is facing away from you. When you first spotted the bird you thought it was a hawk. But which hawk? red-shouldered (the most common hawk in the area)?Read more

Bird Viewing

Top Photo: Red-bellied woodpecker peeks out from behind suet. If you happen to be passing Bird Viewing while on your way to or from Catch the Wind on the Museum’s outdoor loop trail, stop and sit down for a few minutes. Grab one of the very comfortable Adirondack chairs (you won’t want to get up again) and set a while. You’re very likely to see Carolina chickadee, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, mourningRead more

Four Birds and Who They Are

Top Photo: December 2022, what bird is this? The photo above depicts a hermit thrush. The clues are there. You should be able to tell from the shape of the bill that the bird is a thrush, at the very least, not a sparrow. Though you’re viewing the bird from behind and below, and mostly see the belly and undertail coverts, you can also see, at minimum, half of the tail. Along the outer edges of the tail you canRead more

Moon (just a phase its going through)

Top Photo: Nearly full waxing gibbous moon with “V” of double-crested cormorants passing over various lunar mares.* You can’t see it now, it’s heavily overcast and raining, but as I write this, the moon is nearly full, waxing gibbous. On December 7 it will be full and thereafter begins the waning side of its phases until the new moon on the 23rd of the month. Here’s a handful of shots of various phases. Enjoy! *Both cormorants and eagle were photoshoppedRead more

Late Season Hyla*

Top Photo: Juvenile green treefrogs (2) huddle safe and secure inside unfurling leaves during late summer (look carefully). Both young and adult green treefrogs rely heavily on their color and posture to “hide” themselves from possible predation. They often, though, squeeze down into tight nooks or recesses for added protection, as the juveniles in the above photo illustrate. We installed three artificial “hides” around the outdoor exhibits for our resident treefrogs. And, believe it or not, there are still frogsRead more

Who’s Who (Niko and Oak)

Top Photo: Oak (front) and Niko. On November 12, I posted about the arrival of our two red wolves, Niko and Oak. In that post I also mentioned a bit about how to differentiate the two, tell them apart from one another. Besides the white cheek patch (very small and barely noticeable) and white area surrounding the base of her tail (quite evident), Oak has a much narrower face than Niko. The broader snout and forehead of Niko is discernibleRead more