Flowers, Butterflies, Odes, Birds, Snappers, and the Fox

Dame’s Rocket and Blackberry are in bloom.

dame's rocket
Dame’s Rocket can be seen along the path in Catch the Wind.
This thorny, blackberry producing shrub can be seen throughout the Museum grounds.
Blackberry’s five petaled blossoms are attractive to both humans and insects.

Butterflies find the early blooming blackberries rather tempting.

A Silver-spotted Skipper sips nectar from a blackberry blossom next to the Wetlands in Explore the Wild (note the Lady Beetle on the left).
Closely tied to the willows in the Wetlands this Viceroy pauses for refreshment. This butterfly looks a bit worn and tattered. It’s missing the tips of its forewings. Perhaps it had an encounter with a bird?

More species of dragonflies and damselflies have been emerging recently. A first-of-the-season Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) was seen on 29 April as was a new species for the Museum, a Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps). I had thought that I spied one of these Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) relatives last year, but couldn’t be certain. The sighting on the 29th confirmed it.

o bluet
A male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) rests on an alder leaf next to the Wetlands in Explore the Wild.

On April 23, I witnessed the mating of two of the Common Snapping Turtles in the Wetlands. The turtles were tumbling around in the water just off the Wetlands Overlook in Explore the Wild.

Two Common Snapping Turtles shuffling for position as they attempt to mate in the water just beyond the Wetlands Overloook.

As was the case last year when I saw the pair (or a similar looking pair) perform their mating ritual, one of them was later seen basking on the tallest rock in the Wetlands.

Does this snapping turtle look exhausted, or saited?

Birds continue to return from their winter quarters.

green heron
This Green Heron shares a boulder with two young Yellow-bellied Sliders. This is the first Green Heron of the season for this observer (4/27).
Sightings of Great Blue Heron have been spotty for the past month, perhaps due to the birds’ off-site nesting activities.
A Gray Catbird pauses in its singing for a look around.

A Great-crested Flycatcher was sen on April 29 and an Eastern Kingbird on 30 April. Common Yellowthroats are singing both in the Wetlands and up in Catch the Wind.

And finally, over the past few weeks there have been at least three separate sightings of Gray Fox in Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. This increased activity leads me to believe that the Museum’s fox population has recently increased (kits).

1 response to Flowers, Butterflies, Odes, Birds, Snappers, and the Fox

  1. Wendy says:

    That looks like a pretty steep rock for that snapper to climb. His claws must act as rappel hooks.

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