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

Aquatic Turtle Nesting Season

Top Photo: Yellow-bellied slider returning from early morning egg laying near Butterfly House. It’s aquatic turtle nesting season. Our sliders, musk, painted, and snapping turtles all come ashore during this season to dig nests and lay eggs. They may travel quite a distance from water to do this, from Hideaway Woods to Earth Moves and all points in between. If you happen to see one of these turtles digging a nest, or hiking across one of our paths, give itRead 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

A Garter and a Thrasher

Top Photo: Eastern garter snake enjoys sun on chilly spring morning. A garter snake was seen for four (probably still there) consecutive days sunning under a wax myrtle just a few feet from the path in Explore the Wild. The snake may be the same female which was spotted in February sunning among the sandstone slab steps at Water’s Edge some fifty yards or so to the west. Garter snakes bear live young from June through September, depending upon when theyRead 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

Spring Happenings

Top Photo: Increasing in number on the piedmont, green anoles are expanding their range. When I first started work here at the museum some 14 years ago, it was unheard of to see a green anole in the outdoor areas of the museum. It’s now a common sight. Even on warm, sunny, winter days you may run into one of these, largely arboreal lizards. So far this spring I’ve seen question mark, comma, mourning cloak, falcate orangetip, eastern tiger swallowtail,Read more

It’s Tiny Turtle Time

Top Photo: Newly emerged eastern painted turtle makes its way to pond in Explore the Wild. Tiny hatchling turtles are beginning to emerge from last summer’s nests. On Wednesday March 23, I spotted three fresh-out-of-the-nest eastern painted turtles heading for the wetlands. These tiny turtles have been underground in the nest for perhaps 200 days or more after having been deposited there by their mother last season as eggs. If conditions are right the turtles will hatch and dig theirRead more

Calling American Toads

Top Photo: American toad calls out from log in wetlands. During the first couple of weeks in March I’d heard an occasional American toad calling from the wetlands. On Friday March 18, they were out in numbers calling from every corner of the swamp on the west side of our wetlands in Explore the Wild. It’s a chorus of toads. The high-pitched, rolling trill, sometimes held for as long as 30 seconds, is a thrill to hear each spring, especiallyRead more