The Warblers and The Aphids

Top Photo: Northern Parula on river birch. The other day while down in Explore the Wild on a cool October morning there was an active group of migrant songbirds working the trees along the shoreline. The group was composed of mostly yellow-rumped warblers, a few northern parulas and some kinglets. While the yellow-rumped warblers (butter-butts) were attracted to the wax myrtle fruit, which is in abundance this year, a river birch tree held the attention of the other birds inRead more

Warblers!

Top Photo: Yellow-rumped warbler scans the willow branches for food. Yellow-rumped warblers are on the scene in force. If you happen to be in the area of our Main Wetlands Overlook first thing in the morning, walk to the end of the platform, turn so your back is to the sun and watch the willows, wax myrtle, groundsel and bald cypress for movement. If you’re lucky, and there at the right time, you’ll likely see many small, gray-brown birds withRead more

Fall Update

Top Photo: Eastern phoebe awaits airborne insects. These hardy flycatchers will be with us for most of the winter. The weather is delightful and so are the sights outdoors at the museum. But, you have to be there to see them. Abelia is still blooming and attracting visitors at the Butterfly House Garden. It’s a non-native species but not considered invasive. A carpenter bee buzzes by goldenrod in the garden along the stairway and ramp leading to the Butterfly House.Read more

More Stuff You Might See

Top Photo: On a cool fall morning, Eno, one of our red wolves on display, yawns deeply before resting his weary head. Bald cypress, carpenter bees, musk turtles, ground hogs and others headline Nature Watch this week. Bald cypress has put out an impressive amount of cones this year. Carpenter bee activity is far greater in the spring when over-wintering adults emerge and vie for territories and nest sites. However, they’re still active now. The bees drill nice, neat 3/8”Read more

Bears, Burls, and Butter-butts

Top Photo: Mimi bear (right) and Gus bear. After grazing on some winter grass, Mimi bear seemed to be headed for the culvert pipe attraction in her enclosure to slip inside for a nap. Gus bear was already engaged. With a sidelong glance at the slumbering male bear, Mimi slinked off to greener pastures. Recently, Ranger Brooke found a small piece of pine branch with a growth attached. She asked me what I thought it was. I reasoned it aRead more

Look Twice

Top Photo: Yellow-rumped warbler in black willow. With many species, you don’t have to see much of a bird to identify it. The yellow-rumped warbler in the photo above is but one of several species of warbler with a patch of yellow feathers in the same location as this bird; magnolia, palm, and Cape May warblers are three others. The yellow-rumped is the only one you’re likely to see here in central North Carolina at this time of year. CapeRead more

Waxy Fruit Eaters

Above: Yellow-rumped warbler on wax myrtle. Yellow-rumped warblers (also know as myrtle warblers) are not the only animals that eat wax myrtle fruit. I read somewhere that some 42 bird species consume the wax-coated seeds of the shrub. Besides the above mentioned warbler, I can only remember seeing a handful of species of bird partake, ruby-crowned kinglet, eastern phoebe, and a few more. Regardless of how many birds or other animals eat the wax myrtle fruit, the grand prize winnerRead more

A Taste of Fall

It was 80 some degrees on 28 October. Even so, fall is here, trust me. Butter butts have arrived along with other migrant birds and the leaves are, and have been, turning red, yellow, and all shades in between. If you don’t believe me, take a walk outside and see for yourself. If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate what’s happening out there. By the time you read this, the warm temps will have departed. It  will not only lookRead more

Boys and Girls and Turtles and Myrtles

Groundsel Tree is in bloom, both male and female plants have flowers at this time. A few small diameter logs have drifted over towards the Wetlands Overlook and the sliders have taken to basking on the logs. There’s a frog on the log! Myrtle Warblers (you may know them as Butter Butts) are in. I saw the first one here at the Museum last Saturday (10/6). Besides the butter butts, both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and other migrantsRead more

Nothing but Butter Butts

Back in October I posted a series of photos of fall plumaged Cape May Warblers feeding on aphids. Today it’s Yellow-rumped Warblers. Yellow-rumped Warblers have been variously known or referred to as Myrtle Warblers, Butter Butts, Dendroica coronata and Setophaga coronata. By whatever name, they’re still the same species and are the most often encountered warbler during North Carolina’s winter season. As I stood in Catch the Wind on a sunny day during the first week of December I watched a flock of these versatileRead more