Keep Watching the Spring

Top Photo: Pipe vine flower. Spring keeps rolling along in typical fashion, flora and fauna reacting and adjusting to our hemisphere’s slow tilt towards the sun. The days are getting longer, the temperatures warmer. Here, in no particular order, are things I’ve come across in my walks around campus. The painted lady in the photo is a worn individual with scale damage and fraying on the wings. Blue-gray gnatcatchers are small but noisy birds. They arrive in our area earlyRead more

Snow

Top Photo: Wetlands with ice and a sprinkling of snow. When it snows here in the Piedmont, it’s always a rush to get out to photograph the uniqueness of the event. It doesn’t snow often and when it does the snow is usually gone within a day or two. Sometimes it’s gone within hours. Snows here are short and sweet. Here’s some photos from this morning (Saturday 1/29/22) before it all disappeared. And finally, three dinosaurs. Enjoy it while itRead more

Mahonia

Top Photo: Mahonia buds, blossoms, and leaves on Dinosaur Trail. Mahonia goes by the names Oregon grape, grape holly, mountain grape or just plain Mahonia among others. Grape because the ripe fruit has a visual similarity to grapes. Holly, because the leaves resemble holly leaves. The name Mahonia is the binomial genus name of this and several other west coast broadleaved plants. It’s derived from Bernard McMahon (Mahon-ia) horticulturist, author, and one of the stewards of the Lewis and ClarkRead more

Winter Continues

We’ve had both warm and cold weather so far this season, mostly warm. Regardless of the temperature, things are rolling along as always; sunny days bring out turtles to bask, ducks feed, court, and rest in our wetland, and Mahonia blooms as it always does this time of year on the Dinosaur Trail and elsewhere around the campus. There seems to have been an unusual amount of fungi this fall and winter, perhaps due to the significant rain we’ve experienced.Read more

Steamrolling Along

Spring just keeps on rollin’ along, and the pace is quickening. Many insects are emerging, flowers blooming, and birds migrating, whether returning to the local habitats or just passing through on their way further north. Here’s some of what’s been happening over the last week or so here at the Museum, in no particular order. An early season dragonfly. The blue corporal is named for the mature male’s blue color and the two stripes on the insect’s “shoulders,” one onRead more

The bees are buzzing

Top Photo: Honey bee on algae covered rock in Hideaway Woods. Starting in early November the Mahonia on our Dino Trail begins to bloom. Its tiny yellow flowers work their way up the plant’s long racemes. If there are any active insects about, here’s where you’ll find them, extracting nectar and, in the process, pollinating the plants. There’s no real way of knowing (without marking them) if the honey bees that I see at the Mahonia at this time ofRead more

Early Winter Update

According to the calendar we’re still in the early stages of winter. While there’s always much going on outside at this time of year, here’s just a handful of images of what you might encounter on your walk around the outdoor areas of the Museum. Stop by the and sit at the bird feeders at Bird Viewing and you might get a peek at a bluebird. This female was waiting her turn as the male was busily attacking the suetRead more

Floral News

Thanks to the mild temperatures this winter, the Mahonia (Mahonia sp.), Grape-holly, or whatever it is that you prefer to call it, on the Dinosaur Trail has been in bloom continuously since the fall. It now has berries where once, bright yellow flowers lured honey bees, various flies, and ants to perform the pollination duties. These plants should provide a good crop of berries for the birds this year. Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is showing its first sprouts of theRead more

A Lady, a Snake, and a Late Bloomer

An American Lady (Venessa Virginiensis) was spotted in the aster patch in Catch the Wind yesterday (11/3). In fact, there were several butterfly species and both bumble and honey bees working the tiny asters. An Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) was seen slowly crossing the path in Explore the Wild near the Red Wolf Exhibit. The cool shade of the path made this snake’s movements rather sluggish. It appeared to be heading for its winter quarters and was seen aboutRead more

Signs of the Seasons

Two sure signs of the changing seasons are the tap-tap-tap high up in the pines of the Brown-headed Nuthatches excavating nest holes, and ee-awKEEEE of the Red-winged Blackbirds in the Wetlands. We hear, and see, the nuthatches each year at this time as these little dynamos drill one, two, three or mores cavities into the soft wood of the pines. For all of their work they more than likely only use one of the holes to actually nest in. TheRead more