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

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

Yellowjacket, Green Anole, Winter Wren, and Marbled Spider

Top Photo: A worker yellowjacket enters the tunnel to its subterranean hive. Yellowjackets nest underground, though they may construct a hive in a hollowed out log, under the siding of your house, or in other seemingly vacant and unattended cavities. The ground, however, is the most frequent site chosen by a queen in spring. A single queen constructs the below-ground hive and tends to the initial eggs, larvae and pupae. Once workers emerge from pupation they take over all dutiesRead more

October Color

Top Photo: Ashleaf maple, or boxelder. On a walk around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop I photographed some of the fall color during the last week of October. Here’s some of those images.Read more

October

Top Photo: Thorny olive flowers. If you happen to be strolling past the Farmyard and sense something powerfully fragrant invading your nose, it’s probably thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens). It’s related to autumn olive and Russian olive, two invasive shrub species from Asia. We have much autumn olive on our campus, no Russian olive that I’m aware of and just a few locations overgrown with thorny olive which tends to ascend trees and nearby structures when it can. Thorny olive, unlikeRead more

Time to Get Outside

Top Photo: Banded sphinx moth caterpillar. A banded sphinx moth caterpillar is an impressive sight. The one shown here is munching away on wing-leaved primrose-willow in our wetlands. Banded sphinx moth caterpillars are variable and may be nearly all green, much like its relatives the tobacco hornworm and tomato hornworm, mostly green with black, red and yellow markings or like the one pictured, which is marked with red, black, and yellow. Regardless, they all have the white diagonal stripes characteristicRead more

More Fall Sights

Top Photo: Hearts-a-bursting on the Dinosaur Trail. The second week of fall brought even more new sights than the first. Read on to find out what. Euonymus may be known to gardeners by various names, burning bush, golden euonymus, winter creeper, and others, all non-native plants in the genus Euonymus. However, hearts-a-busting, or bursting hearts (Euonymus americanus) is a native understory shrub which can be seen at various places along our outdoor trail loop. It’s also know as strawberry bushRead more

Meteorologically, Fall

Top Photo: Green heron works the “turtle logs” in the wetlands. It is, according to climatologists and meteorologists, fall. I agree. Days are getting shorter. Trees that’ve been pumping water and nutrients from their roots to their leaves have slowed down production. And although it’s still mighty hot outside during the day, the night time temps seem to be moderating. Here’s some of the things that have been going on during the first week of Fall. Though they’ll be leavingRead more

Eggs, Caterpillars, Stinkbugs and Laternflies

Top Photo: Hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe) egg on viburnum flower buds (shiny, round, green object). Hummingbird moth eggs are very small, about 1mm – 1.5mm. To see one of those swift flying, diurnal moths lay an egg requires being in the right place at the right time. Standing next to a viburnum (frequent host plant for this species) is a good place to be. I’m not sure of the right time, though a bright sunny summer’s day seems about right.Read more

Mid July Check-in

Top Photo: Eastern rat snake, or black rat snake, smells its way across the path in Explore the Wild. Black rat snakes are known by many different names, chicken snake, alleghany snake, pilot snake with variations on those names and more. Though it may be confusing to consider the various names of the snake, the only other snake you’d likely mistake it for is the black racer. But, racers have smooth scales, all black undersides (except for the chin andRead more