Nest Box Update 6.7.22

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. Two active nests include nine nestlings, six newly hatched bluebirds and what appears to be three house wrens. The Cow Pasture bluebird eggs have hatched. The birds’ eyes have yet to open. The parents are steadily supplying their offspring with plenty of protein. I can clearly count six nestlings. The nest box at Explore the Wild remains empty. Into the Mist has attracted no further activity in its nest box. Though I counted six nestlingRead more

Bonus Features

Top Photo: A green heron contemplates its next move. While making the rounds on my weekly bluebird trail nest box inspections I often come across other creatures besides the bluebirds, chickadees, and wrens that use the nest boxes on the trail. Red-shouldered hawks nest in the woods next to the train tunnel as they have been off-and-on for years. The one pictured is a product of this year’s effort. I have to pass by the parking deck on the southRead more

Crayfish Revisited

Top Photo: One red swamp crayfish jets away as another approaches it. I’m frequently asked about the creatures that live in our wetlands. Inevitably, the subject of crayfish, red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), enters the conversation. I ask whoever it is I’m talking to if they’ve read my blog postings on the crayfish. If not, I urge them to do so as soon as they get the chance. The following was first published in October of 2011 under the titleRead more

Familiar Faces

If you’ve spent any time walking the paths at the Museum of Life and Science, the following faces may be familiar to you. All of them, save one, are residents in some form. Above (banner photo) is one of our ring-tailed lemurs (Satyrus). Snakes are always a possibilty, even in winter. If you do see a snake during winter it’s probably a brown snake or possibly a garter snake. Everyone has seen one or more of our four black bearsRead more

Handful of Herons

I’m sometimes asked how many species of bird I’ve seen here at the Museum. Currently, the list is over 130 species. Of those, five species have been herons, great blue heron, great egret, green heron, and black-crowned and yellow-crowned night-herons. A great blue heron, or two, can be seen in our wetlands year-round. Although some great blue herons migrate, they can be found in our area in any season. Great egrets are widespread in North Carolina but are essentially aRead more

A Large Pellet

Our resident great blue heron left an interesting object on the railing of the deck at the Main Wetlands Overlook. It was a pellet. As you may know, pellets are undigested pieces of what a bird eats like bones, fur, exoskeletons, feathers and other indigestibles. The bird regurgitates these objects in the form of a pellet ranging from perhaps a quarter inch to many times that, depending on the size of the bird doing the regurgitating and the material containedRead more

Bath Time

As I walked past the north side of the wetlands, I noticed an odd figure in the water some 25 yards distance. When you spend as much time in the wetlands as I do, you know when something’s out of place. Something was out of place. My first thought, there’s a loon in the Wetlands. Summer is the wrong time of year for a loon to be in North Carolina. Even if it were April, or perhaps October, when commonRead more

New Species

Top Photo: A new species for the museum. I was watching and photoing the heron in the above image when I noticed the bird glance skyward. And, as I’ve said many times here on this blog, “when a bird looks up towards the sky, it’s a good idea to follow suit.” There’s likely to be something interesting up there. At first I saw nothing as I turned and looked to the area of sky in which the heron seemed toRead more


Typically, we have one great blue heron in our wetlands. Recently a second has shown up. Yesterday, I saw three gbh’s. Today (11/28), there were four. do all these herons want? Fish, tadpoles, crawfish, and whatever else they can catch that’ll fit down their long throats. The fish were packed in tight up against the shoreline of the wetlands at the foot of the Main Wetlands Overlook. It has been very busy lately, people wise, and this area has been extremelyRead more