Nature

Cormorant fishing the Indian River Lagoon, Florida.
Andrea Westmoreland [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

You may see large numbers of these birds hunting for fish this time of year.

Coral polyps on Molasses Reef, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Brent Deuel [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

People picture coral reefs as bursting with color and teeming with a variety of undersea life, which many are. But their number is shrinking, says College of Charleston biologist Phil Dustan, because they are hyper-sensitive to temperature changes, and climate change is warming the ocean to intolerable levels for many reefs. In his 40-plus years of studying reefs, Dustan said, the Florida Keys, for example, have probably lost 90 to 95 percent of their living coral reefs.

Coyote or Red Wolf?

Apr 17, 2018
A red wolf at the Land Between the Lakes recreation area in Kentucky.
Jim Liestman [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

A sighting by a listener raises a question of identity.

A Black Squirrel?

Apr 16, 2018
NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

The Fox Squirrel is larger than the Eastern Gray Squirrel. Both varieties can produce black, or melanistic, offspring.

Eastern Tent Caterpillars in their tent.
J. R. Carmichael [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

The Eastern Tent Caterpillars are out in force this time of year.

Is it a Water Moccasin?

Apr 12, 2018
Banded Water Snake
Tom Spinker [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr.

A couple spotted a snake sunning in Francis Beidler Forest...

The Luna Moth

Apr 11, 2018
Luna Moth - Actias luna.
Lynette Elliott [CC BY-NC 2.0] via Flickr

There are two broods of Luna Moth each year in South Carolina.

Gall Wasps

Apr 10, 2018
 A gall wasp (Cynipidae) oviposits into an existing oak gall.
Alex Wild, University of Texas at Austin, "Insects Unlocked" project. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Varieties of Gall Wasps often have strict preference for the kind of plants they chose to host their young.

Oconee Bells

Apr 9, 2018
Oconee Bell Flower - Devils Fork State Park.
Jason AG [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The Oconee Bell is a rare flower of the southern Appalachians found only in a few locations in the mountains of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in moist wooded areas along streams.

Caterpillar of the Great Leopard Moth.
Bill Bumgarner [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

This moth is unusual in that it over-winters as a caterpillar.

NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

A listener finds two animal skulls and skeleton and turns to Rudy for help identifying.

Royal Paulownia

Apr 4, 2018
Royal Paulownia blossoms.
Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These trees come from China, but, have been used as ornamentals in the South U. S. for many years.

The excavated soil and entrance hole to a Mining Bee's nest.
Rosser1954 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Mining Bee is solitary, but builds nests in "colonies."

Cedar-Apple Rust

Apr 2, 2018
Cedar-Apple Rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae).
Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

A listener finds an "orange, tentacled, 'blob'" on Cedar.

Male Pawpaw blossoms.
Ton Rulkens [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. At the Musser Farm at Clemson we filmed a segment on their pawpaw orchard. Search Making It Grow Youtube Pawpaw and see our interview featuring fruit specialist Dr. Greg Reighard. This orchard had huge clusters of pawpaws, called hands, and sometimes growers actually thin them to prevent branches from breaking.

A "hand" of Pawpaw fruit.
Alice Crane [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you have a partially shady area you’d like to use to grow fruits, pawpaw is the plant for you. This native small tree naturally grows in woodlands receiving filtered sun although in full sun it fruits more plentifully. The seeds are large and easy to sprout but fruits from seedlings are not necessarily tasty.

Eastern Garter snake, Florida.
Glenn Bartolotti via Wikimedia Commons

These snakes emerge from hibernation early in the Spring.

Pawpaw fruit.
Juanita Mulder [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Pawpaws and bananas both are soft fruits that lend themselves to being smushed up for smoothies, custards, and ice cream, and both are relatively high in carbohydrates. Pawpaws, however, come out ahead in overall nutrition, with large amounts of vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin and potassium. The lists goes on and even the fats in pawpawas are the ones considered good guys. 

NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

Opossums are South Carolina's only marsupials.

Polinating Pawpaws

Mar 28, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many fruit crops need insects as pollinators. Peaches, apples, blueberries, and watermelons use different species of bees, sometime native and sometimes the Imported European Honeybee, to transfer pollen from male flower structures to female flowers. Our largest native fruit, the pawpaw, however, is unusual in many ways, including how it’s pollinated, and poor pollination is often a problem.

Red Bellied Snake.
Todd Plerson [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] via Flickr

These small snakes are pretty common in backyards.

Balls of Silk

Mar 27, 2018
Basilica Orbweaver with Egg Sacks.
Katja Schulz [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A listener in West Columbia finds silk covered "balls" hanging from a tree limb.

Pawpaws

Mar 26, 2018
Pawpaw (Asimina triloba).
Linda Haugen, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you search Making It Grow Youtube Pawpaw, you’ll see a fascinating interview with Professor Greg Reighard of Clemson. Although Dr,. Reighard travels over the world sharing information with fruit growers, he is a member of the International society for horticultural science, he is still interested in our underappreciated native fruit, the pawpaw, and our conversation took place in the pawpaw orchard at Musser Farms near Clemson.

NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

Pulling weeds from a flower bed, a listener finds the vertebrae of a bony fish. 

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Bees and wasps and hornets are in the same family, Hymenoptera, but have certain differences. In all cases, only the females can sting, as the egg-laying ovipositor also functions as the stinger. The female bees also are the sex which collects pollen, either in special structures called corbiculae, or in hairs on their bodies. For bees, pollen collection is necessary as bees make a mixture of pollen and nectar which serves as the food source for their young.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The solitary, ground nesting bees that emerge as adults in the spring often cause alarm to people who don’t understand their behavior. Although there may be a hundred small holes in one area of well-drained, sparsely vegetated soil, the bees that exit those chambers with the arrival of spring have no social instinct to guard a  colony.

A female Red Bellied Woodpecker.
Mike's Birds [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

The Red Bellied Woodpecker was first described by naturalists in the colony of Carolina. Its scientific name is Melanerpes carolinus.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The small ground nesting bees fall into several categories – mining bees, orchard bees, or digger bees are among them,  and all are important pollinators. They are absolutely no threat to humans or pets – even though several hundred may construct their burrows in the same area, that’s because the ground conditions are perfect.

NatureNotes
SC Public Radio

A listener finds two varieties of Northern Water Snake sunning together.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Ground nesting bees have specific requirements for making the burrows in which they lay their eggs. They need soil that’s relatively dry and has little or no vegetation on it, you won’t find them in a healthy lawn. Although they’re solitary and are not making a hive, several hundred females may select the same site in which to construct their underground brood chambers, each filled with a supply of pollen and nectar for the developing young.

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