From Hummingbirds to Mushrooms

Top Photo: A lichen “pipe.” What appears at first to be some sort of corn-cobish kind of smoking pipe is actually a ruby-throated hummingbird nest. Ranger Dakota noticed it lying in the leaf litter adjacent to the Farmyard. As soon as I saw the object I knew it was a hummers nest, about 1 3/4” high, 1 1/2” across and covered with lichen. The nest must have fallen from a loblolly pine above us on the path. The delicate lookingRead 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

Spring Happenings and Aquatic Turtle Update

Top Photo: Upper surface of American snout. Things happen very quickly in spring, flowers bloom and fade, plants shoot out new leaves, insects emerge, birds who’ve been absent half a year, reappear. Here’s some of those things and more of what has occurred over the past week. Daffodils are early season flowers that last but briefly. Bees emerge with little on their agenda but food and reproduction. It’s time to get a new nest started. Northern, or Dekay’s brown snakes,Read more

What you might see

Top Photo: “New” frogs huddled together on floating log. All are bullfrogs recently morphed from tadpoles. Some still have tails. Here are photos of things you might see on our outdoor loop through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. Each fall there’s a flurry of Cape May warbler activity in the trees on the north side of the wetlands, whichever trees are infested with insects. This year, it’s the mimosas. The insect? Mimosa web worms. Grasshoppers become more evidentRead more

A New Ode

Top Photo: Male roseate skimmer sallies forth from its perch on twig. There’s been another species added to the list of odonata seen at the museum. With the addition of roseate skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) seen on Saturday, September 18, I’ve recorded 42 species out of 188 listed for the state. There are many species that will never be recorded here at the museum due to their specific habitat requirements and range. I didn’t expect to see this species. It’s aRead more

Common Whitetail (female) on Black-eyed Susan

This dragonfly species, common whitetail (Plathemis lydia), is probably the most often encountered of all the 188 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the entire state. It’s found at or near just about any slow or still body of water in the state and often far from the lake, pond, or puddle of origin. The picture above was taken in Wander Away in Catch the Wind here at the museum. The dragonfly, as the title of this post states, isRead more

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

Two Odonates

Sometimes, you just get lucky. The two species of Odonata pictured here are not often seen in or around our wetland. One prefers stream habitat, the other ponds and lakes near meadows or weedy fields. The green-bodied damselfly with black wings is an ebony jewelwing. They’re more likely to be seen along a wooded stream than the shores of our wetland. Perhaps it wandered over from Ellerbe Creek which flows through the west side of the museum property. They are,Read more

Brief Wetland Look

There’s little doubt that the Wetlands is the most outstanding feature of the Explore the Wild section of our outdoor adventure loop. Fall’s approaching quickly so here’s a very brief glimpse of the summertime wetlands which includes a few subjects you may have to look more closely to see. The most abundant tree of the wetlands is the black willow. Here, it doesn’t reach a height of more than fifteen feet of so. Yellow-bellied sliders are the most common aquaticRead more

Summer Sights

The butterfly in the top photo is an eastern tailed-blue. It belongs to a group of small butterflies known as blues. They are typically blue on the upper surface of the wings. They like open spaces and generally fly low to the ground.   The eastern tailed-blue above is worn. Some of its markings are missing or obscured and one can barely make out a “tail” on the hind wing. Below is a more fresh individual, a male, displaying theRead more