Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hunting With The Phases Of The Moon

ADK ALM 1If I had to pick a single three-day period to hunt whitetail deer, the full moon in November would be it. November’s full moon is this Sunday the seventeenth. Many of my elders have talked about the November full moon – the hunters full moon – as the peak of the deer mating season. I myself have taken some of my best whitetails on this upcoming weekend and I’m eager to get another shot this year.

I’ve found that animals in their natural habitats generally tend to be more active during a full moon. I’ve found this true with mammals as well as fish. Becoming familiar with the moon phases and the role they play in deer hunting is sure to improve your chances. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Deer Rutting Season in the Adirondacks

white_tailed_deer1According to most sportsmen, the second week of November in the Adirondacks is the best time for deer hunting, as this is the peak of the rutting, or breeding season in our region.

Driven by a surge of hormones, the bucks, especially the largest and oldest males with their impressive rack of antlers, are now continuously on the move as they attempt to locate females nearing their estrous, or heat period. Rather than spend time resting or sleeping, bucks are on the go day and night in the days prior to, and immediately after, Veteran’s Day, as these individuals experience an innate urge to focus all their time and energy into spreading their genetic composition into the deer herd of that area. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Giant Puffballs: Orbs of the Mushroom World

puff_ballWho left that soccer ball on the front lawn? Come on, you know it didn’t just grow there.

Pretending to confuse a giant puffball mushroom with a soccer ball (or vice versa) is a well-worn joke among mushroom foragers. For the rest of us, finding out that there exists a common mushroom in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire that frequently grows to soccer ball size sounds like more of a hidden-camera, the-joke’s-on-you kind of gag.

Not only do these giant mushrooms exist, says Ari Rockland Miller, a Vermont based mushroom foraging expert, they are edible, even delectable, early in their lifecycle, when their flesh is white and has the consistency of Styrofoam. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beechnuts, Acorns and Whitetail

MAst and whitetailIt’s a good year for beechnuts and acorns. Beechnuts – the fruit of the American beech tree – are a small three-sided edible nut. Since they are high in protein and fat, they’re favored by Adirondack wildlife along with acorns, or oak nuts, the nut of the oak tree. Both are in the beech family (fagaceae) and play an important role in Adirondack forests. These natural nut crops, known as mast, are very plentiful this year.

Early this summer, while harvesting trees in Warren County, I could tell it was going to be a good year for beechnuts and acorns, as the canopies were full. As the beechnuts matured I often found myself enjoying their bounty – they make a nice snack in the middle of the woods. These crops are not always there for the deer, squirrels, bear and turkey, so I am sure they appreciate the extra snack as well. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Ed Kanze: A Ball, A Gall, And A Fly

ed_kanze_ball_gallIf you’re observant, you’ve noticed them in fall and winter: peculiar lumps that bulge from the stems of certain goldenrods. If you go ice-fishing, you may slice open the lumps and pluck out the grubs inside for bait.

These peculiar structures are called ball galls. Listen here to learn who makes them, and why, in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Adirondack Fish: Spawning Lake Trout

Spawning Lake troutAs cold weather becomes more common and intense, the temperature of lakes, ponds and marshes drop significantly, with ice soon appearing over the surface of our smaller and more shallow waterways. As these aquatic settings continue to relinquish heat to the atmosphere, most of their resident, cold-blooded creatures are forced by the low temperatures to become extremely lethargic or lapse into a dormant state until spring.

There are, however, a few forms of life that remain active throughout the winter, as these entities are well adapted for an existence in frigid waters. Among the animals that thrive in northern lakes, even during winter, is the lake trout, a sizeable predator that resides only in our largest and deepest lakes; and it is during mid to late autumn when this prized game fish migrates to certain gravel bottom locations in order to spawn. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Training Planned

image003(1)Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County is now accepting applications for the new 2014 Master Gardener Training Program. Space is limited, so contact the office soon for more information and an application.

After enrolling in the course, the participants are provided with a binder of information that supplements the weekly presentations from Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of horticultural topics. The topics include basic botany, entomology, soils, home lawn care, vegetable and fruit gardening, composting, organic gardening and other practical and interesting subject matter. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Reconnecting Adirondack Brook Trout Streams

River-Culvert-poorAs you drive around the Adirondacks—enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery—you can be forgiven if you don’t notice road culverts.

From a car, it might look as if you’re passing over a small bridge. Underneath, though, is often a metal tube channeling water—a tube that may create a barrier for native fish. While these culverts may escape your attention, for fish they are a matter of life and death.

That’s why the Nature Conservancy is working with the New York State Department of Transportation and local highway departments to provide better fish access through culverts – a step that may help tangibly address some of our most pressing conservation challenges. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Preparing For Winter: Chipmunk Game Theory 101

chipmunkTwo chipmunks vie for seeds on our front lawn. One lives directly underneath the bird feeder. Another hails from the far side of the house, address unknown.

The chipmunks appear identical to me: same size, same stripes. Same interests, namely seed hoarding, aggressive chittering, jumping into the bushes and back out again, and brazen stiff-tailed standoffs with the dog.

However, some aspects of these chipmunks’ behavior are probably distinctive. Experiments have demonstrated that a chipmunks’ choosiness about what food they collect, how fully they stuff their cheek pouches, and even how quickly they stuff food in there all relate to the distance between a foraging site and a home burrow. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Ed Kanze: Who’s Inside, Who’s Outside?

ed_kanze_gray_jayEverywhere we turn, life manifests itself in an astounding number of forms. At our house, we try to keep track of all that lives and breathes. In this episode of “All Things Natural” we learn about an old-fashioned biological survey project that brings new discoveries almost every day [Listen Here].

The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 and approaches its one-millionth published word. It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by visiting Mountain Lake PBS’s Borderless North webpage at mountainlake.org/bn.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Birds: The Departure of the Northern Flicker

Northern_flicker_pairPreparations among the members of our wildlife community have been underway for weeks, if not months, for the arrival of snow and temperatures low enough to freeze the upper layer of soil. Most bugs are genetically programmed to enter a dormant stage of their life in advance of this onset of adverse weather, and the mammals of the area are well along in the process of modifying their physical structure (accumulating fat and growing a thick layer of fur) in order to cope.

Many species of birds have either left, or will soon be exiting, our region because of the inhospitable conditions building throughout the northern latitudes. Among our migratory birds is a member of the woodpecker family forced to leave because of its preference for pecking at the soil, rather than on trees, for its meal of bugs. The northern flicker has body shape, plumage characteristics and pecking talents similar to its non-migratory relatives; however this common seasonal resident of the Adirondacks is now on its way, or will be leaving shortly, for a more temperate climatic zone. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Adirondack Amphibians: The Tadpoles of Winter

tadpolesFall is in full swing: foggy mornings, cold rains, and falling leaves. Time to talk about…tadpoles!? That’s right, while we may be accustomed to discussing tadpoles in spring and summer, they’re still around and they’re gearing up for winter.

Imagine your local pond. Under a slate gray autumn sky, the pond is mostly quiet. Only an occasional peep (called the “fall echo”) escapes from the reeds, where previously an amphibian chorus declared its presence. Yet despite the chill and silence, frog life continues. Most of the summer’s broods hopped onto land at least a month ago. Others will hibernate in the coming months as polliwogs.

So how do tadpoles “decide” when to change into frogs? And why do some of them stay in tadpole form all winter? » Continue Reading.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Ed Kanze: Horns and Antlers

ed_kanze_deerIs a horn an antler and an antler a horn? For the low-down on high-level head gear. This week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze explores the fine points of horns and antlers.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Snow of the Season Falls

Whiteface Oct 24, 2013 (ORDA Photo)The first snow of this winter season has been reported across the Adirondack region. A band of lake effect moisture brought some snow to the higher elevations of the western and southern slopes of the Adirondacks and an Almanack reader on our Facebook page reported that as much as 2.5 inches fell near Old Forge today.

Flurries and minor accumulation were reported in the High Peaks, including at Whiteface.  Snow was also reported in Paul Smiths, Lake Placid, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Schroon Lake and into northern Warren County, including Warrensburg and at at Gore Mountain.  At least some flurries were reported in Malone and in Clinton County.  Considerable snow was expected in Lewis County and the Tug Hill region. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Touchy-Feely World of Animal Whiskers

whiskingOf the many questions one is left with after listening to the nursery rhyme “Three Blind Mice”, none is more vexing than how three blind rodents were able to chase anything, let alone a farmer’s wife. As the three mice in question died in 1805, we’ll probably never know the full answer. There are some clues in the scientific record, though. The fact is, mice and other nocturnal rodents can take in sophisticated three dimensional information about their surroundings without using their eyes.

Rodent eyes don’t function like our eyes. Ours are on the front of our head and we see in stereo, their eyes are on the side of their head and their field of vision doesn’t overlap. Our eyes always move together, a rodent’s eyes can move in opposite directions. If a rat points its snout downward, its eyes look up, rather than where its nose is pointing. If its head tilts down to the right, the right eye looks up while the left eye looks down.   » Continue Reading.


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