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

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 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

The Weather and The Squirrels

Top Photo: Gray squirrel nest (center) high in loblolly pine. The week leading up to New Years was warm. Daytime temps reached into the 60s and 70s, heck, the lows were in the sixties towards the end of the week. During that period I saw many squirrels out and about. They all seemed to be chasing around looking for an easy meal, a pecan, a hickory nut, black oil sunflower seeds from the bird feeders. I got the distinct feelingRead more

A Few Winter Sightings

Top Photo: Bullfrog tadpoles react to disturbance in the water. In our area, bullfrogs may take 9 to 12 months to mature and become frogs. It may take much longer, perhaps two or even three years, in areas with cooler temperatures and shorter growing seasons. But here, in central North Carolina the bullfrogs that hatched from eggs this summer will become frogs next summer. During winter the bullfrogs tend to congregate in the shallow, muddy water on the north sideRead more

Oddly Red

Top Photo: Redbud beginning to bloom in the last week of October. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a March bloomer in Durham County and surrounding areas. It was odd, but not totally surprising, to see buds about to open up on a redbud tree on the Dinosaur Trail this past week. Not surprising because, after all, we’ve been experiencing very mild weather with not a hint of frost. Even so, many of the leaves on this particular tree had turned toRead more

A Spider and a Resting Monarch

Top Photo: Spider takes refuge under magnolia leaf. After my having walked through it’s partially deconstructed web, the architect and builder retreated to the underside of a sturdy southern magnolia leaf. It was an orb weaver which tells you what kind of web it builds and what family of spiders it belongs to, Araneidae. Araneidae build the stereotypical webs most people are familiar with. The webs are vertically oriented, circular webs placed across paths, roads, walkways, between shrubs and trees,Read more

Look Up

Top Photo: Thin cirrocumulus clouds (you may have to look closely to see these very thin and high wispy clouds). It pays to look up. You can see some incredible sights by simply turning your gaze skyward. There’s always something going on up there. Clouds are classified in three major groups or genera: cirrus, stratus and cumulus. Each group has sub categories (alto, nimbus…) and there are combinations of each, e.g. cirrocumulus, stratocumulus, etc. There are low level (up toRead more