Cardinal and Pandora, Tortoise Beetle, and Annual Caterpillar Feast

Top Photo: Male cardinal wrestles with large green caterpillar. The cardinal flopped to the ground no more than a dozen feet from us on the Dinosaur Trail. It had a large green caterpillar under its control. Two months earlier, just feet away from where we now stood, I photographed a male cardinal tearing apart two luna moths. May was a busy month for luna moths, mating and laying eggs. Could this big caterpillar which was now committed to being eatenRead more

A Few Flying Insects

Here’s a quick look at some flying insects I’ve encountered during the past few weeks. American lady butterflies are fairly large and easy to spot in the flower garden at the Butterfly House. These butterflies look similar to a southwestern species which makes it to the state every couple of years. On this species, American lady, note the white dot on an orange rectangular area of the forewing which is visible from both above and below. On the underside ofRead more

What’s Out There?

Top Photo: Great blue skimmer with prey. In one rather quick trip around the outdoor loop here at the museum I came upon a good bunch of interesting sights. In no particular order, here’s some of them. There are banana trees planted at several locations throughout the museum’s outdoor areas. The one pictured is in the garden next to Sprouts Cafe. Pomegranate is growing next to the bananas. Along the edge of that same garden I spotted a banded longhornRead more

June Sightings in The Wild

It’s near the end of June. Below (and above) are photos of some of the creatures I’ve seen during the month. They’re arranged in no particular order. The top photo is of one of the milkweeds, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). It attracts many insects to it’s flowers, leaves, and seed pods throughout the summer season. Here, you can see new flower buds on the left and older flowers to the right. Some insects go out of their way to attractRead more

A New Species?

When I spotted the damselfly I immediately thought it was new to the Museum, that I hadn’t previously seen this species here in our Wetlands. But I had seen it before. When I checked my odonata checklist I realized that I had first seen this species on May 21, two years prior. It was an azure bluet. Azure bluets are not uncommon. If you were to search for them in our wetlands or any other shallow pond in the state, you’d likelyRead more

All Is As It Should Be

It is now May. Insects that we haven’t seen for months are back among us. Reptiles and amphibians are active as if winter had never happened. Many birds that have been far away in Central and South America have returned to the Museum grounds to make nests and raise families. It’s as if they never left. Keep your eyes and ears open for these creatures as you walk the paths and trails here at the Museum. I’ve gathered more thanRead more

Brief Report from the Wetlands

First, some ode news, odonata, that is. Great blue skimmers and slaty skimmers have emerged from their watery, pre-adult aquatic habitat.       Eastern amber wings have been with us for some time, although I never tire of looking at them.     Common whitetails are in the process of ovipositing (laying eggs) in the Wetlands.         On cooler days, yellow-bellied sliders stack up on any available perch. But, you probably won’t see many turtles out baskingRead more

Odes Around Us

Top Photo: Carolina saddlebags. Dragonflies and damselflies belong to an order of insect called Odonata. Dragonflies are in the suborder Anisoptera, the damsels in the suborder Zygoptera. Dragonflies usually hold their wings out to their sides when at rest. They are typically larger and bulkier than damselfies. Dragons have large compound eyes which, in many species, cover most of the head. Some species eyes only just meet at the top of the head, but still cover a large portion ofRead more

Out and About

Just some sights from the past week. First spotted by Michelle Kloda as she headed off to Build it! Bamboo one day last week, a Trapdoor Spider. Trapdoor Spiders spend most of their time in a hole in the ground waiting for prey to come walking by. They build a hinged, silken lid to top off the hole which they pop open to reach out and grab any unsuspecting prey that wanders by. Tiny mites caused the growths on theseRead more

Springing Forward

There’s been so much happening in the Wild lately that it’s difficult to keep up, to stay on top of the reporting of said happenings. Here’s a quick update. If you remember, there were two successful Green Heron nests in our Wetlands last year. We’re hoping to have a repeat. Last Saturday two of the small, somewhat green herons appeared. I’ve seen one or two each day since, so maybe a redo of last year’s events is forthcoming. The firstRead more