Woodpecker Holes

Top Photo: Male downy woodpecker jets out of hole it’s been working on (2/19/22). On January 12 of this year I reported on a downy woodpecker that had been excavating two, three, maybe even four holes within inches of each other in a black willow tree on the north side of the wetlands. He’s at it again. Link to last month’s excavations. The current hole he’s drilling is in the same tree. This time the single hole is about fourRead more

A Few Things To Look For

Top Photo: Hermit thrush inspects sumac seeds for possible consumption. While walking the outdoor loop through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, it’d be worth your while to keep an eye out for what’s around you. Winter residents, hermit thrushes eat fruit, seeds, and invertebrates when available. Some trees retain the seeds they produced during the growing season until well into the winter, even within the same species. Most white ash trees typically disperse their seeds in fall. SomeRead 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

A Bird Bath

Top Photo: Male northern cardinal prepares to take bath. Given the opportunity, many birds will bathe frequently. All they need is an inch or two of water and a relatively secure location, a place where they feel safe from would-be predators during what is a vulnerable time. Even in secure locations the bird may only splash about for a handful of seconds, pause and do it again, if safe. The cardinal pictured repeated the sequence 4 times before being scaredRead 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

Snow

Top Photo: Wetlands with ice and a sprinkling of snow. When it snows here in the Piedmont, it’s always a rush to get out to photograph the uniqueness of the event. It doesn’t snow often and when it does the snow is usually gone within a day or two. Sometimes it’s gone within hours. Snows here are short and sweet. Here’s some photos from this morning (Saturday 1/29/22) before it all disappeared. And finally, three dinosaurs. Enjoy it while itRead more

The Robins of Winter

Top Photo: One of dozens of American robins pilfering holly berries in Gateway Park. It’s that time of year again when flocks of robins descend on all available remaining fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Fact is, they flock together all winter long looking for foodstuffs. Apparently, “the more eyes the better to spot food sources,” and the “safety in numbers” theories come into play with these wintering flocks. They group together in fall and break up in spring to breed.Read more

Mahonia

Top Photo: Mahonia buds, blossoms, and leaves on Dinosaur Trail. Mahonia goes by the names Oregon grape, grape holly, mountain grape or just plain Mahonia among others. Grape because the ripe fruit has a visual similarity to grapes. Holly, because the leaves resemble holly leaves. The name Mahonia is the binomial genus name of this and several other west coast broadleaved plants. It’s derived from Bernard McMahon (Mahon-ia) horticulturist, author, and one of the stewards of the Lewis and ClarkRead more

The Bag

Top Photo: Christian slogging across wetlands after successful mission to Goose Island. It’d been bugging me for more than a week, a plastic bag hung up on a tree just off the boardwalk, I’ve been throwing sticks at it, trying to spear it, whatever I could think of to get rid if it. It was just far enough away, and protected by branches, that I couldn’t reach it with whatever object I tossed at it. It was an eyesore. ItRead more

It’s all About the Snout

Top Photo: An older photo of three of our bears. Our three adult black bears can each be identified by muzzle only, though it may take a little practice. But first, how do you tell male from female in the Black Bear Exhibit? Male black bears (we have one, Gus) have longer, straighter legs, bigger heads and longer necks, and a more angular body shape. Females tend to be more rounded or rotund. Even though the photo above is tenRead more