Spring Appearances

Top Photo: Fatsia japonica or Japanese Fatsia, fruit. Not native but planted on the Dinosaur Trail to enhance the sense of a long ago tropical realm, fatsia is in fruit, but going fast. The plant’s name is derived from the fact that fatsia, in an old Japanese language, means eight, presumably referring to the number of lobes on the plant’s large palmate leaves. This, even though the leaves never have an even number of lobes, or points. I’ve consistently countedRead more

Lemurs Eat, Tree Swallow Inspects, and Chickadee Nests

Top Photo: Lemur relishes redbud flowers. As you all know, or should know, redbud flowers are edible. To me, they have a sweet, crispy taste. They make a nice topping on a salad. Lemurs eat redbud flowers too. They seem to enjoy the colorful flowers with uncommon delight, as recently displayed by our resident ring-tailed lemurs. The flowers were placed in their enclosure by the Animal Care Team (ACT) and were quickly pounced upon by the primates. Here’s a fewRead more

Magenta Trees and Green Lizards

Top Photo: Redbud in bloom. Redbud is in full bloom here at the Museum of Life and Science. Don’t miss it! While looking around the campus at the trees, I noticed a noise in the leaf liter below. Two adult male green anoles were squaring off against one another. A brief, violent, territorial struggle ensued before they broke off, one scurrying into the brush, settling the dispute. As quickly as it started, it was over. Stay tuned for more.Read more

Toad Time

Top Photo: American toad calling from wetlands. American toads have begun their annual breeding frenzy. The large toads’ loud trill can be heard across the wetlands as they vie for mates. Once coupled, the toads move along in the water trailing behind strings of thousands of eggs, fertilized by the male as they emerge from the female. The eggs should hatch in about a week, the tadpoles becoming miniature toads in about two months, that is, if the pond inRead more

Springtime 2

Top Photo: Female mallard pauses to look me over while preening. Mallards stop into our wetlands often. They’ve nested here off and on over the years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Mallards are one of the most recognizable duck species in the world occurring to some extent on every continent except Antartica. Blue violets are in bloom. Yellow-bellied sliders are out taking advantage of the sunlight, basking on every available surface to warm and perhaps help rid themselves of parasites. Buckeye,Read more


Top Photo: Following mating these two red-shouldered hawks spend several minutes preening and looking about before splitting off to hunt for frogs and brown snakes. It’s spring and the local fauna and flora are responding to the mild temperatures and extended periods of daylight each new day brings. Here’s some resident species and how the season affects them. A pair of red-shouldered hawks respond to the season by courting and hunting for emerging pickerel and other early season frogs andRead more


Top Photo: Ripe thorny olive drupes. In January, on this blog, I mentioned the fruit of thorny olive. It was not quite ripe at the time. The fruit is now ripe and can be eaten. It’s a bit on the tart side (be forewarned before picking and eating). Some people prefer a sweet fruit, some like it tart. This is tart. Thorny olive (Elaeangus pungens) is not native, is considered invasive and has two relatives in the area that shareRead more

Ragwort and a Few Others

Top Photo: Ragwort or groundsel in bloom in Explore the Wild. The ragwort we have growing in Explore the Wild, next to the entrance to the Floating Walkway, is blooming (planted). It’s golden ragwort (Packera aurea). Ragwort (Packera – formerly Senecio) can be found throughout the east in one form or another. Each region seems to have its own variety. What we have growing has rounded, toothed basal leaves which become lobed or dissected further up the 18”- 24” stalkRead more


Top Photo: Adeyha and Oak (front) sticking close. It’s February and the season for procreation begins. Red wolf Oak is in estrus, Canada geese have arrived, hawks are soaring above screaming out their intentions, and songbirds are ramping up their melodious twitterings. Oak and Adeyha have been much more attached to one another over the past week, estrus has arrived. As of yet, I’ve not witnessed a tie, which is required for the female to become pregnant. Each year inRead more