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

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

It’s All About Procreation

Top Photo: Fledgling eastern phoebes huddle together as they await feeding from parent. Spring keeps chugging along, and with it the lives of many different creatures. Below are photos of some of our local residents rolling with the flow. A nestling blue-gray gnatcatcher waits for one of its parents to deliver protein. The lichen covered nest is in a maple tree on an island in our parking lot. It was spotted by sharp-eyed Ranger Dakota. Unlike gnatcatchers, brown-headed nuthatches nestRead more

Keep Watching the Spring

Top Photo: Pipe vine flower. Spring keeps rolling along in typical fashion, flora and fauna reacting and adjusting to our hemisphere’s slow tilt towards the sun. The days are getting longer, the temperatures warmer. Here, in no particular order, are things I’ve come across in my walks around campus. The painted lady in the photo is a worn individual with scale damage and fraying on the wings. Blue-gray gnatcatchers are small but noisy birds. They arrive in our area earlyRead more

Two Herps, Two Leps, Two Swallows, and Two Crows

Top Photo: Rat snake crossing path near Bird Viewing Exhibit. Rat snakes are common in our area so it’s not unusual to see one crossing the path at the museum, especially during spring when so much of the local wildlife is engaged in activities which make them vulnerable to predation. Birds are busy with nesting activities, frogs and toads are perhaps a little less cautious when in breeding mode, and if you have a chicken coop, you may have noticedRead more

Masons, a Cob, an Anole, Tadpoles, and a Red Bat

Top Photo: Mason bee hangs at entrance to its nest in mud wall. There are simply too many things happening outdoors to sit idle. Everything and everybody is waking up, becoming more active, stirring, building nests, blooming, fruiting, whatever it is they do in spring, and I don’t want to miss any of it. If you’ve ever been to the museum and visited Into the Mist in Catch the Wind you’ve probably noticed a little hut in the back ofRead more

Spring Happenings and Aquatic Turtle Update

Top Photo: Upper surface of American snout. Things happen very quickly in spring, flowers bloom and fade, plants shoot out new leaves, insects emerge, birds who’ve been absent half a year, reappear. Here’s some of those things and more of what has occurred over the past week. Daffodils are early season flowers that last but briefly. Bees emerge with little on their agenda but food and reproduction. It’s time to get a new nest started. Northern, or Dekay’s brown snakes,Read more

Pollen, Butterflies, and Squirrels

Top Photo: Male flowers of eastern red cedar or juniper. Pollen Red cedar is in bloom, and the male flowers are sending out pollen for the fertilization of female flowers, and for the rest of us to breathe in and sneeze. The local elm trees are in bloom as well. Elm is another tree, like the cedar, whose pollen is carried by the wind. Butterflies Not strictly an indication of spring, but of warm days throughout the winter and earlyRead 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

Gall Midges

Top Photo: Cypress flower midge galls on bald cypress needles (November). When female cypress flower gall midges emerge in the spring they mate and immediately lay eggs on fresh green needles of bald cypress trees. The feeding larvae which hatch from the eggs stimulate the needles into forming flower shaped galls on their surfaces. The galls look very much like tiny fungi, but inside each one of the little “mushrooms” is a larva of a cypress flower gall midge. TheRead more