Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Today we had a sneak-peak of winter, allowing for the first snowball fights of the season. This day of firsts may also be a day of lasts, for a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Hermit Thrush were both seen near the NBNC building. Will they be the last of the season? We'll see... In addition to those migrants, a dozen species were seen throughout the day including large flocks of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings, as well as a Dark-eyed Junco and Common Grackles.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:38 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
At around 5:00, just as Larry was leaving for the evening, he heard a soft, nasal sounding, "yank yank". After a quick dash for some binoculars, Larry confirmed his suspicion. High in the White Pines that shade the Nature Center barn, were two Red-breasted Nuthatches.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:37 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
During an outdoor lunch meeting, a very interesting bug called a Western Conifer Seed Bug was found. Although this one was found outside, it is common to find them indoors or around buildings at this time of year, as they attempt to flee from the cold weather. If you find one inside, don't worry! Despite their large size (up to 2 cm.) and intimidating appearance, they are harmless to humans and pets (except for a foul odor they can produce when threatened).
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:36 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
An unusual visitor made an appearance at the Nature Center this morning. A MOOSE was spotted at the far end of the field near the community gardens, just as it trotted towards the river and out of sight. It's presence prompted an outing by NBNC staff in an attempt to relocate the massive mammal, but our efforts failed to find the moose again. We did, however, see/hear many birds including Hairy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:35 PM
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Another beautiful day at the Nature Center. One of our latest blooming flowers, Witch Hazel, began to blossom this week. Look for this indicator of autumn directly adjacent to the NBNC parking lot, on the far side from the building.
To identify Witch Hazel, look for the broadly obovate (egg shaped), alternating leaves, which are asymmetrical at the base, with wavy margins. A popular ornamental plant, Witch Hazel has been revered for its use by "water diviners", who use the branches to locate underground water. More practically, an extract can be obtained from its bark, and mixed with alcohol for use as an astringent.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:33 PM
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Monarchs have still been passing through the Nature Center, and after some re-fueling at the butterfly garden, three Monarchs were tagged as part of our Monarch Tagging efforts. Also, possibly the same Mourning Cloak seen earlier in the week has stuck close to the building. It has been nectaring on crab apples, occasionally fluttering its wings to dissuade the flies and wasps which compete for the fruits.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:30 PM
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
NBNC staff enjoyed lunch outside under the sunshine, while temperatures are still tolerable. We were able to tag a lone female Monarch as it passed through. Other wildlife sightings included Mourning Cloak and Cabbage White butterflies, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a small group of Common Ravens.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:29 PM
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It was a bright and sunny day for the Dead Creek Wildlife Festival. Painted Turtles basked on logs. Butterflies were still aloft (Clouded Sulfur pictured on left), as were many birds. Some highlights included Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Participants of the bird banding demonstration were welcomed with the opportunity to view songbirds and raptors up close(Sharp-shinned Hawk on right). With a myriad of activities from carving decoys to building bird houses, a good time was had by all.
Posted by North Branch Nature Center at 12:24 PM