Common Snapping Turtle Tumble

Top Photo: Common snapping turtles during spring mating. A disturbance just below the water’s surface caught my attention. Something was breaking the water’s surface about 100 feet or more out in the open water of the wetlands. Then it was gone. Was it a duck? No, all our winter resident diving ducks had already departed for the north, or wherever else they feel a need to be at this time of year. Was it an otter? Otters can stay belowRead more

Nest Box Update 3.27.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebirds eggs. We have four active nests. Three nests hold a total of nine eggs and one contains five nestlings. All are bluebirds. —— The Cow Pasture nest box held an empty bluebird nest last week. Today it contains two bluebird eggs. The Explore the Wild nest box is empty, only a 1/2 pint berry basket inside. With a complete bluebird nest in the box last week, we now have four bluebird eggs to monitor at theRead more

Nest Box Update 3.19.24

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs from previous season. We now have four active nests, all bluebirds. Two of our six nest boxes remain empty, one typically used by chickadees is vacant and the other perhaps due to disturbances by humans. —— The nest box at the Cow Pasture has a new and complete bluebird nest inside. No eggs yet. Over the years, the Explore the Wild nest box which has been a reliable location for Carolina chickadees to build nests.Read more

Katydids

Top Photo: Angle-wing katydid (Microcentrum retinerve). Katydids belong to a group of insects known as Orthoptera which references the straight or parallel-sided aspect of their wings (ortho = straight, ptera = wing). This group includes grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, and katydids. You can usually distinguish katydids from the others by their longer antennae, though some types of crickets do indeed have long, thin sensory appendages. There are many kinds of katydids. The two mentioned here are an angle-wing katydid and aRead more

Tussocks and Other Summer Treats

Top Photo: Sycamore tussock moth caterpillar crawls along railing. If there are sycamore trees in the area you’re likely to run into one or more of these fuzzy, tufted caterpillars. The adult sycamore tussock moth has tan wings crossed with slightly darker bands on translucent membranes. More common and widespread than the sycamore tussock moth caterpillar, is the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar. It’s been reported munching on over 140 host plants including conifers. White-marked tussock moth’s adult form is aRead more

Nest Box Update 4.25.23

Top Photo: Eastern bluebird eggs. After last week’s total of five occupied nest boxes we now have only two. The good news is, we saw 18 birds fledge this past week. ———————— The nest box at the Cow Pasture fledged four eastern bluebirds. What was most surely a newly arrived male house wren, built a prospective nest for itself and a mate while the nest box was still warm from the bluebirds. It remains to be seen whether this nestRead more

Immature Plumage

Top Photo: Adult male hooded merganser. The next time you’re down in our wetlands, scrutinize the female mergansers. One of them may be a male. Adult male hooded mergansers (photo above) are easy to pick out in a crowd. Their chestnut sides, black back, black and white breast, black and white crested head, and amber eye stand out, for sure. Females are a bit more cryptically plumaged. They’re the ones who will be incubating the eggs inside a tree-cavity nestRead more

Mid-November

Top Photo: Two of six hooded mergansers circle wetlands. As in every year since I’ve been working at the museum, hooded mergansers have arrived in our wetlands by mid November. This year, six were spotted on the early date of November 9, though only two of them actually dropped in. Four birds were seen making a pass at the museum’s wetlands but continued on elsewhere. Since that day, they’ve been seen on the 12th and again on the 15th whenRead more

Meteorologically, Fall

Top Photo: Green heron works the “turtle logs” in the wetlands. It is, according to climatologists and meteorologists, fall. I agree. Days are getting shorter. Trees that’ve been pumping water and nutrients from their roots to their leaves have slowed down production. And although it’s still mighty hot outside during the day, the night time temps seem to be moderating. Here’s some of the things that have been going on during the first week of Fall. Though they’ll be leavingRead more