No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by. If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness. While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting fromRead more

Looking For Frogs?

For you herpetologists out there, there are still frogs to be seen here at the Museum. That’s not to say that you can’t see frogs here in any month of the year, you can. I’ve seen bullfrogs at the edge of the water while there was ice covering our wetland! They are, however, much more difficult to locate during the cold months and many species are dug into the ground or leaf liter of the forest in late fall andRead more

Shadowy Silhouttes, Sap-sucking Arrivals, and a Murder

While walking through the Dinosaur Trail this past Tuesday (10/11), I noticed several dark spots on a leaf of one of our banana trees. On closer inspection I could see that what I was looking at were the shadows of three creatures which were on the opposite side of the leaf. The sun shining through the leaf created silhouettes of two tree frogs and an insect. Turning the leaf over confirmed two green tree frogs and a stink bug. TheRead more

“Blue” Green Tree Frog?

As a naturalist, I keep a watchful eye to the sky, ground, and all around as I make my way through Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, and the Dinosaur Trail during my daily routine here at the Museum. That said, there are certain locations I can’t pass without stopping and making a thorough scan. One of those locations is the patch of smartweed at the end of the boardwalk in Explore the Wild. Typically, there are pollinators visiting the flowers on the smartweed, perhapsRead more

What’s in the Smartweed?

At the very end of the boardwalk which leads into Explore the Wild there is a patch of smartweed. Smartweed, as you know, will make your mouth smart if you eat it. That is, smartweed is hot and spicy and may make your mouth hurt, or feel the heat, should you eat the stuff. I’m convinced that this patch of smartweed remains in the Wetlands due to its undesirable taste. Even the invasive red swamp crayfish shuns the weed (most ofRead more

Treefrog caught off guard

Caught out in the cold yesterday was a somewhat emaciated young Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea). The frog was seen amongst the horesetail growing in front of the Butterfly House. It was apparently lured out of hibernation by the warm temperatures and rain of the night before. This, however, is December and fronts that carry precipitation are usually followed by cold, dry north winds, no kind of weather for a treefrog to be caught hopping around in. This is probably theRead more

Storms Bring Out Frogs, Stinkpot Appears

The first week of this period brought daily thunderstorms towards the end of each day. Before each day’s rain, Gray and Green Tree Frogs and Narrow-mouthed Toads began calling from the dense cover surrounding the Wetlands. While it’s difficult to impossible to actually see it happening, many new eggs were being deposited in the Wetlands each night. On a smaller scale, and easier to see, small patches of eggs have been seen floating in the water of the U-shaped pondRead more

Turtle Stroll, Snakes Hunt, and Frogs Call Out

Top Photo: Yellow-bellied slider digs nest hole along path. Over the past few weeks adult turtles have been seen walking across the paved path in both Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild. Adult turtles in our area, with the exception of Eastern Box Turtles, which are terrestrial, may be on land for several reasons. They may be looking for a better food source, a mate, or they may be headed off to lay eggs. If you see a turtleRead more

The Wetlands Comes Alive

Top Photo: Green frog waits for something to happen. Cricket Frogs, Bullfrogs, and Gray Tree Frogs are calling. Occasionally, a Green Frog will pluck in with its twangy, single-note call. At least four Green Tree Frogs were seen along the path between the Lemur house and Catch the Wind. Look for them low on the vegetation along the raised banks on either side of the paved path (please stay on the path). They were calling during the first few daysRead more