Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tips for Game Camera Success

TOS.gamecameraillustrationMy town had the job of removing a dead beaver from a culvert pipe cage, a rather sad and odorous affair, but also an opportunity. I alerted the usual suspects – there’s nothing like a rotting carcass to bring camera trappers together – and we moved the body into the woods and set up a few cameras.

We placed the body in mature forest near the wetland. We figured that just about any of our meso-carnivores might appear: coyote, fox, fisher, and bobcat were all possibilities. We didn’t get the bobcat, but we did get the others, and the fisher photos were especially nice. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Should DEC Plan For The Return Of The Wolf?

March coverCan wolves return to the Adirondacks on their own? If so, should the state Department of Environmental Conservation develop a plan to facilitate their recovery?

These are questions discussed in Mike Lynch’s cover story for the March-April issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine—the second in a series of articles on the Adirondacks’ missing predators.

Some people believe that the wolf, like the moose before it, could disperse to the Adirondacks. The nearest wolf population is only a few hundred miles away in Algonquin Provincial Park. There also is a substantial wolf population in the western Great Lakes states. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Identifying Trees In Winter Using Buds

Tree BudsEvery winter I teach several tree identification classes to biology students. Cold or colder, it’s always outdoors, but if student evaluations are on the level, it’s always fun. Demonstrating how to tell one leaf-bereft hardwood from another is one thing.

Bark is not the best feature for identifying trees. Sure, white bark means birch, but some birches have black, yellow or reddish bark. Typical bark patterns, such as diamond-shaped furrows for ash, can be absent depending on site conditions and tree health. Cherry and ironwood bark have light-colored horizontal dashes called lenticels, but only on young wood. Not all hickories have shaggy bark. Bark may provide a clue, but it’s not to be trusted as a sole, or even a primary, source of information. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Porcupines: Waddling Through Winter

TOS_PorcupineWinterThe porcupine is one of the most unique and recognizable mammals in our region, and thanks to its short legs and fat body, it’s also one of the slowest.

Of course, a porcupine really has little need for anything faster than first gear, since its quills provide excellent protection from most predators.

It still surprises me though, that a short-legged herbivore that doesn’t hibernate manages to thrive in the deep snow of our northern forests. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hunter Admits Shooting Bull Moose

MooseA New Hampshire man has admitted illegally shooting a bull moose in the town of Croghan just west of the Adirondack Park.

Steven Zehr of Walpole, New Hampshire, turned himself in after shooting the animal on private land on the morning of November 25, according to Stephen Litwhiler, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Litwhiler said Zehr was in a tree stand and mistook the moose, which weighed nearly 690 pounds, for an antlered deer. It was about 10 a.m. when the moose was killed. Zehr was charged with illegally taking wild game, a misdemeanor, and paid a $1,200 civil fine. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Wildlife Gets Inside Your Home?

TOS_mouseWe two-leggeds build inviting habitats and fill them with ample food supplies. We heat these spaces in winter, cool them in summer, and keep them dry year-round. And when our wild neighbors have the audacity to move in, we frequently kill them on sight.

My wife and I recently restored an old brick farmhouse that was built in 1790, back when Vermont was still an independent republic. We removed walls and ceilings to expose and repair the original structure, then vacuumed every nook and cranny to remove debris left behind by two centuries of sundry inhabitants. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend

Snowy Owl in VermontThe annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a chance to be part of an international team of citizen scientists using specific scientific protocols and the power of the internet to provide data to professional environment and wildlife researchers and the scientific and educational institutions they represent.

From February 13–16, people of all ages, whether beginners or experts, are invited to support bird conservation by counting the number of birds, separated by species, seen during any outing or observational sitting. The information gathered will help researchers track changes in bird populations on a massive scale. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Science of Snowflake Shapes

TOS_snowflakesWho hasn’t marveled at a lacy snowflake coming to rest on a jacket sleeve? Do you wonder how it could survive the fall to earth in one piece, or if it’s really true that no two snowflakes can look exactly alike?

A snowflake begins high up in the clouds, not as a snowflake but as a small particle of dust, salt, or ash. When a cloud cools below 32°F, some specks of water vapor freeze onto the particle. As it moves through the cloud, the particle absorbs additional water vapor, building up microscopic layers of ice. When water molecules freeze, they bond together in a way that forms a six-sided ice crystal. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lost Brook Dispatch: You Moose Be Kidding

Moose At Helldiver Pond by John WarrenIt is possible that in a past column or two I might have made reference to my mother-in-law; further it is possible that in said reference or references there might have been a maligning whiff in the air. Believe not a word of it! She is a shining paragon of virtue, a sweet, pleasant creature of generous heart, evocative of nothing so much as a gentle summer breeze.

It’s my father-in-law Howard who is the problem. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Hudson River’s Mysterious Frazil Ice

Frazel Ice - Bob Duncan PhotoThat fascinating and puzzling form of river ice, frazil, has finally backed up in the Hudson River from Thurman to The Glen (on Route 28) for the first time this winter.  In the old days, 30 years ago, frazil started floating down the river by late November, collecting and backing up to The Glen by mid-December.  This year it had barely started collecting until around Christmas, and then it all washed out when there was a warm spell with rain.  But now, all the recent cold weather has done its job.  Also called “slush ice” (and by natives around here “anchor ice”), frazil is the brilliant white stuff that forms the white canyons you can often see from The Glen bridge in early spring.  It looks like the Arctic! » Continue Reading.


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