Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

I have been watching this wonderful vine grow throughout the arboretum this year. I have followed it from the beginning as it sprouted its first vibrant, green leaves in spring to now, as the dried, brown seed pods split open to release their seeds.

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

I have been seeing this beautiful creature on dead snags, stumps, the bases of oak trees, and the small wooden bridges throughout the arboretum. These places allow it to regulate its body temperature and blend into its surroundings as it hunts for prey.

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

One of the most beautiful animals in North America lives among us here at the Arboretum—the coyote. The color of its fur is a varied palette of earth tones. Myriad hues of browns, grays, blacks, and whites are woven together to form a magical coat. It is a thatch work of clay, dry grass stalks, morning sun, bird songs, river

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Owls will often spend consecutive days around the same perch from where they will roost during the day and hunt at night Most owls are nocturnal, but Northern Pygmy-Owls mostly hunt by day. Under these roosts, you can often find evidence of an owl’s presence: owl pellets.

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Standing at the top of the zigzag trail, I could hear hammering resounding through the forest. I walked down the path to find a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers on a dead tree. They were excavating small holes in the wood using their chisel-like bills as they searched for food.

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

A familiar sound at the arboretum is the rustle of leaves from Spotted Towhees foraging. They hop backward with both feet to sweep away the leaf litter in search of food. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, seeds, acorns, and berries.

Read more

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

Nature Notes, a Blog by Bryan Ribelin

The other evening I watched a Barred Owl zigzagging down the Creek Trail corridor hunting for food. It would sit on a perch about 10-20 feet off the ground and scan the area with its eyes and ears. When it zeroed in on its potential prey, it silently drifted out over the meadow and pounced.

Read more

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

I love finding something that flummoxes me. So I was intrigued to spot this three- to four-millimeter long insect parading up and down grasses near the horse area at Mount Pisgah. At that small size, I couldn’t tell if it was a beetle or a bug, and at first I thought the enlarged front legs might be its antennae. 

Read more

Insect Insights, A Bi-weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, A Bi-weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

March is a great time to observe the incredible insects inside ponds and pools. Even temporary puddles are host to some really cool characters. I found predaceous diving beetles (PDB’s) in a couple different places around Mount Pisgah recently, and they sport some flashy features like tail-breathing and larvae with 14 eyes!

Read more

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

The star of this week’s column is a diminutive wasp in the Gelis genus. Specifically, with thanks to Ross Hill at BugGuide.net, this is Gelis tenellus. These parasitic wasps don’t have a common name, which is a good sign that they’re not very well studied. However, in researching them, I learned enough to know that they’re worthy of more attention.

Read more

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, a Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Mayflies are in the insect order Ephemeroptera, which is Greek for “short-lived, winged” creature. While the common name is misleading, the scientific name is spot-on. They are ephemeral indeed. Imagine an animal that spends more than 99% of its life underwater, looking like a shell-less lobster, then matures to live above the water for just one or two days.

Read more

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Today’s column focuses on a true bug (in the Hemiptera order) that looks like a reptilian
insect or tiny dinosaur. The first time I saw this Phymata genus bug, on coyote brush in
Mt. Pisgah’s south fields, I only got a good look at its back. I figured it was some kind of
shield bug, but I didn’t get any good pictures of it from the side before it flew away.

Read more

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

The Diurnal Firefly is one of my favorite finds at Mount Pisgah recently. These black insects with red “bracket” markings on their thoraxes are beetles, not flies. And because the fireflies we have in Oregon don’t light up, you could say they are neither fiery nor a fly. Still, there’s plenty about them to spark some interest. Our Oregon beetles

Read more

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Note: These pictures were taken a few days before wildfires made it unsafe to visit Mt. Pisgah. Green lacewings are one of the rare insects that are doubly blessed. They’re beloved as predators of aphids and other pests, and they’re nice to look at. Lucky for us, they’re fairly common in Oregon. They also have some fascinating and unique traits. 

Read more

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Insect Insights, A Bi-Weekly Buford Blog by Karen Richards

Welcome to the second Insect Insights! This post is about a creature nearly everyone has heard, but most people likely haven’t seen.   Tree crickets don’t always live in trees, and probably don’t fit your mental image of a cricket. They’re in the same family as grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and in the Oecanthus genus, pronounced “ee CAN thus.” One species of

Read more