Top Photo: What December should look like. It’s December, for sure, but it’s been an unusually warm December, so far. We should enjoy it while we can. And, that’s just what Animal Keeper Autumn did the other day as she and Misha, our red-tailed hawk, went for a walk around the Museum’s outdoor campus. If you like turtles, this is a good time to see them. In fact, you may see some of our “light-sleeping” yellow-bellied sliders out and about onRead more


Besides the many human visitors to the Museum on the mild, blue-sky day after Thanksgiving, Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) were out in numbers. These late season dragonflies can be seen into the first half of December. While I expect to see meadowhawks at this time of year, what was remarkable is the sighting of a female Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) in Explore the Wild. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo. The typical flight period for Common Whitetails is from late March to earlyRead more

Two Birds and Three Insects

On November 2, I mentioned that I had seen the first of the season Hooded Merganser. It was a single bird (alone) and appeared to be a female. On Thursday (11/10) there were three mergs in the Wetlands, a male and two females. Yesterday (11/15) there were ten birds in the water. There was also a male Mallard in the Wetlands. There’s nothing unusual about a Mallard, but we don’t get many here in our Wetlands, at least not theRead more

Autumn Meadowhawks

There are still dragonflies to be seen. Your best bet to see one of these little odes is on the descent into the Wetlands, perched on the handrail or zipping up to catch a passing aerial insect, down near the main Wetlands Overlook, or on the north side of the Wetlands. Those locations are best when the sun is shinning down on them, giving the dragonflies a warm spot to perch. Besides the males, I’ve only seen a few females,Read more

Autumn Meadowhawk!

The first meadowhawk of the season was seen on the 7th of October. It was an Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) and was on the smartweed that grows at the end of the boardwalk in the Wetlands. The following day I saw two more, so keep a sharp eye out for this small, bright red dragon.Read more

A Chilled Herp, a Final Ode, and a Daring Squirrel

On Decmebr 16th as I walked the trail through the outdoor exhibits of the Museum where it enters Explore the Wild near the Lemur House, there was a small snake stretched out on the pavement. The temps were in the forties but the little patch of sun that the snake was in was probably a bit warmer. The snake was a Rough Earth Snake, and December 16 was the latest that I had seen one of these little snakes atRead more

November Insects

There’s no doubt that insect activity slows down in November. But (there’s always a but), you may be surprised at just how much insect activity there is at this time of the year. If the sun is shining, much of that insect activity may be found wherever there is a warm spot, away from the shaded areas. There’s one insect that we don’t see in our area until at least October. As long as the sun is shining and theRead more

Hardy Insects Hang On

A lone Common Green Darner was seen early in the period and several Autumn Meadowhawks were out and about whenever the temps were able make it into the fifties. We may see meadowhawks lingering into December. One Sleepy Orange and one Common Buckeye were the only butterflies observed during the latter half of November.Read more