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 to yellow-orange.

Both spring and fall colors.

Red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus) are a common sight here at the museum. Yet, you don’t often get a view of this local raptor the way I spied it this week. I was directly below the bird as it perched 30 feet up in a cottonwood tree alongside our wetlands.

An atypical look at a red-shouldered hawk.

Finally, if you’ve talked to me about our wetlands or have read this blog in the past, you’d know I have no love for red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii). They are invasive, highly destructive aquatic invertebrates that, when introduced to a pond, completely alter it, rendering the habitat unlivable by many (most) native species, plant or animal.

They’re thriving in our wetlands and can even be seen lurking in the lower pool of the bear pool complex within the Black Bear Enclosure.

Red swamp crawfish in bear pool.
Good-looking but dangerous.

They’re an attractive animal and very adaptable, but don’t let the looks sway you. Once these crawfish are in an ecosystem it’s very difficult (impossible?) to get rid of them. You can only control them, to a degree, by trapping. (Crawfish Intro)

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