Keeping On Track

Top Photo: Ellerbe Creek Railway – Engineer Michael. A little out of my realm (I’m usually writing about nature), but every now and then you have to celebrate the people who keep the museum running, literally keep the place on track. The Ellerbe Creek Railway has been closed the past few days due to routine maintenance. Our facilities crew has been replacing railroad ties and recalibrating the tracks to ensure they’re safe for you and your family, friends, or entourageRead more

Three Drupe Producers

Top Photo: Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) flower buds. Just a brief reminder that Japanese apricot is about to burst into bloom, thorny olive is fruiting, and American holly still has plenty of fruit left over to satisfy the resident robins, wintering hermit thrushes, and visiting waxwings. Two of these plants are non-natives while the last, American holly, is born and bred. They all produce drupes, fruits that have one central seed surrounded by a fleshy, usually edible, part and skinRead more

Into the Mist

Top Photo: Just outside Into the Mist during summer. Into the Mist is a favorite exhibit for many members, and one-time out of town visitors too. But like all good things, maintenance is sometimes required to keep things going the way they should. Our Outdoor Landscape Environments (OLE) team is working hard to be out with the old and in with the new. As you can see in these photos the grass has been removed, old piping is on theRead more

Shedding, Basking, and Waiting

Top Photo: A green anole in mid-molt. Air bubbles are visible under old, shedding skin of the green anole pictured here. Green anoles may shed as often as once a month, or as infrequently as once annually. They may eat their old shed skin. At first glance, the dragonfly below looks to have three pairs of wings, even four pair. In fact, eastern amberwings have two pairs of wings. The illusion is cause by the translucence of the dragonfly’s wings,Read more

Moon (just a phase its going through)

Top Photo: Nearly full waxing gibbous moon with “V” of double-crested cormorants passing over various lunar mares.* You can’t see it now, it’s heavily overcast and raining, but as I write this, the moon is nearly full, waxing gibbous. On December 7 it will be full and thereafter begins the waning side of its phases until the new moon on the 23rd of the month. Here’s a handful of shots of various phases. Enjoy! *Both cormorants and eagle were photoshoppedRead more

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


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