Mallard Surprise

Top Photo: Six of 14 mallard ducklings in wetlands. I got a call on the radio telling me that there were, “a bunch of baby ducks swimming around in the wetlands,” specifically, the swampy area on the west side of the path near the Main Wetlands Overlook. I went to investigate. They were mallards, a female and at least thirteen ducklings (a later count totaled 14 ducklings). The ducklings were frantically feeding as the mother carefully swam along with them,Read more

Due to the Revolution…

Frogs and toads are breeding, butterflies flying, groundhogs foraging, birds migrating and early season flowers are blooming. The white common blue violet in the above picture has been blooming for over a week on the path leading away from the Lemur House. There are also many of the blue form of violet along the same stretch of path. American toads and pickerel frogs were vigorously calling and mating on the warm afternoons of the second full week of March. ManyRead more

Sky High Raptors

What do the 2 two geese (above) have to do with raptors, or birds of prey? Well, if I hadn’t been paying attention to those two geese I would not have seen a bald eagle soaring over our wetlands last week. As I approached a corner of our 750’ boardwalk near the Black Bear Exhibit, I noticed our two resident Canada geese below me in the water. As I peered over the rail, I realized both geese were staring skyward.Read more

Purple Martin Migration

Purple martins, those large, iridescent purple, colonial nesting, flying insect eating swallows are on their way back home. They’ve spent the winter south of the border in places like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Scouts have already been seen in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansa, Louisiana, and Texas. In fact, the first reported sighting was in St. James City, Florida on New Years Day. Purple martins are our largest swallow. In the east, they nest, almost exclusively,Read more

Bald Eagle

Over the past few days, I’ve been seeing reports of increased numbers of raptors moving through various observation sites both in the mountains and along the coast. I also happened to see a report of Monarch butterflies staging at coastal sites, specifically Cape May, NJ. The push is on. This is a time of anxiety for me. The North Carolina Piedmont, as wonderful as it can be, is not exactly a place where one can witness large numbers of birds,Read more

Ospreys on the move!

Back in February of 2011, through the magic of satellite transmitters, I followed the travels of a young Osprey named Belle who had been fitted with a transmitter and who had flown as far south as Brazil to spend her first winter, the farthest recorded migration south of any Osprey to date. Then again in August of 2011 I informed you of Belle’s whereabouts as well as another young Osprey named Buck who was hatched in South Carolina. Well, Belle’s at itRead more

More things to look for

While walking up the boardwalk from Explore the Wild I noticed a large jumping spider perched in the middle of the walkway. The spider was black with bold white markings. As the spider turned to face me, I noticed green chelicerae, or jaws. If you’ve never had a close look at a jumping spider I urge you to do so, they can be quite colorful. When I first saw this spider I thought that it was a Bold Jumping Spider (PhidippusRead more

An Osprey’s Peregrinations

Back in February I attempted to steer you, the reader, towards a web site that follows the travels of a select group of radio-tagged Ospreys as they headed south in the fall of 2010 from their fledging sites here in North America. At the time, I had followed the route of an Osprey named Belle from her birthplace on Marth’s Vineyard to a reservoir in Rondonia, Brazil where she settled in for the duration. She’s still there and won’t return tillRead more