Catbird Defends Nest

The urgent, squeaky cries of a catbird in the willows off to my right could be one of two things, a dispute between two rival male catbirds or a nearby predator (more likely). Since there were a couple of cardinals and at least one towhee involved with the squawking and carrying on, it could only be one of those things, a predator was nearby. The intruder was either in the trees or just below the birds and the birds were mobbingRead more

Yellow-crowned Stays Another Day!

I thought I’d go down to the Wetlands early (relatively early) to see if the night heron that showed up yesterday was still around. At first I thought that the bird had moved on, until I checked the secondary Wetlands Overlook (near the Lemurs). It had rained 3-5 inches the day before and there weren’t many exposed areas in the swamp for a night heron to hunt from, but the bird had found one on the back side of theRead more

While we’re all waiting…

…for 1287 (the wolf) to have her liter, a Green Heron dropped into the swamp across from the wolf exhibit. It’s good to see one of these little herons back in our midst from wherever it was for the past six months, presumably someplace warmer and with more fish, insects, and tadpoles to eat. Also in our midst yesterday (4/13) was a Great Crested Flycatcher. I heard the loud WEEP call of the bird but couldn’t locate it visually. Unlike theRead more

May Flora

Japanese Honeysuckle is in bloom. An exotic species, and an invasive one, Japanese Honeysuckle is still a favorite of many people for both its fragrance and taste. People either love Japanese Honeysuckle or they hate it. Here’s just one paper on the subject. Mulberry is ripening and many birds are gulping down the berries as soon as they do. What’s wrong with this picture? No, it’s not snow. It’s seed dispersal in action. Since the first of April, the Black WillowsRead more

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

Dame’s Rocket and Blackberry are in bloom. Butterflies find the early blooming blackberries rather tempting. 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. On April 23, I witnessed the matingRead more

Kingfishers, Cowbirds, and Catbirds

A male and female Belted Kingfisher were seen in the Wetlands on the 16th of June. A lone female was seen on the 20th & 21st of June. A single male on 28 June. On June 17th, I witnessed a Song Sparrow with an apparent injured leg (it was hopping along on one leg as it foraged in the leaf litter) feeding a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird. Quite a feat for this injured sparrow to be tending to another bird’s offspringRead more

End of June Bloomers

Wild Bergamot is blooming along the main path to Catch the Wild as well as at several other locations around the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop. Black-eyed Susan is still the most abundant flower on the loop, but is beginning to fade. Coming into bloom towards the end of this period, the big showy pink flowers of Hibiscus can be seen at the top of the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild and along the path as you leaveRead more

Early Nesters, Arrivals, Delayed Departures

It was a busy time for birds. Besides the Red-shouldered Hawks snatching frogs out of the Wetlands, Carolina Chickadees feeding their young in a nest in a Loblolly Pine between Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild, and the Red-bellied Woodpeckers sitting on eggs in another loblolly in front of the Lemur House, many new seasonal arrivals and migrants have been observed. After a seven-month absence, a Green Heron was back on station on 28 April. As if it hadRead more

There’s Always the Birds…

With the low temperatures of the 15th-18th of this month, the Wetlands iced over enough to force the Hooded Mergansers to take flight and seek bigger water where they could swim and dive for fish. One merganser returned on January 24 and four were in attendance on the 29th of the month. Canada Geese remained as long as there were small pockets of open water. They too finally departed as snow and more cold weather moved in on the 21stRead more