Strong and frequent southerly breezes, a disappearing snow pack at low elevations and the presence of large stretches of open water along streams, in the backwater of rivers and in marshes prompt the return of numerous forms of waterfowl to the Adirondacks.
When the opportunity arises to reconnect with the area used for breeding, flat-billed, webbed-footed birds take advantage of the favorable conditions and fly north. Included with these returning birds is one of the most colorful and handsome species of waterfowl in North America – the wood duck. » Continue Reading.
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) will hold an opening reception on Saturday, January 14 from 10 am to 12 pm for an exhibition of selected decoys from the collection of Jerry Lincoln of Ogdensburg. Lincoln will be in the gallery to answer questions about his collection, and to share stories about his duck hunting experiences over many years. The decoys will remain on display at the TAUNY Center through the end of February.
The exhibit of Jerry Lincoln’s decoys is the first installment of TAUNY’s 2017 Personal Collection Series. This year, TAUNY will showcase personal collections from individuals around the region. Each collection has a special connection to the North Country; most of the items were originally produced or utilized here. These collections represent a diversity of interests related to the folk life and ongoing traditions of the region. » Continue Reading.
For the past 50 years the New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) Region 6 has been gathering a team of volunteers and staff to collect data on the resident Canada Geese population. According to Regional Habitat Manager Christopher J. Balk, the data collected helps manage the flock and provide pertinent information to tailor bag limits during hunting season. This June 30, 8 am – 2 pm, is another opportunity to corral and handle some geese.
“The volunteers get to reach over the top of the enclosure and help hand the goose to a staff member,” says Balk. “We are usually banding at least 400-500 geese at this event and use the information to primarily report on the bird’s location at two points of time.”
These geese are resident, not migratory, Canada Geese so the distance between their wintering and summering habitat is usually only a few hundred miles. Hunters report the band numbers when they harvest the birds in the fall. The data allows Balk and his colleagues to track to see if a flock is intermingling or not, track growth and movements of the resident population and and to establish annual hunting regulations. » Continue Reading.
There is really nothing common about the Adirondack Common Loon. The large aquatic birds can be found on many Adirondack lakes and ponds. We watch them dive at one end of a lake and appear at the other end in a matter of moments. This ability to quickly dive without a splash allows them to catch their fishy meals with ease. It is not often that we’ve been on a lake and heard the loon’s mournful cry.
The loons’ eerie call range from its high-pitched tremolo, yodel, hoot and yell. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times my family spies a majestic loon’s familiar black and white patterned back; we are still in awe of its beauty. » Continue Reading.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program is looking for volunteers to help with its annual Adirondack Loon Census, which takes place on Saturday, July 18.
Volunteers are asked to visit ponds and lakes on that Saturday from 8 to 9 am and count the number of adult and immature loons they see.
Loons generally arrive for the summer breeding season in May. Their young birds hatch from eggs in late June and early July during the first round of breeding. Loons can also lay eggs later in the summer during a second round. » Continue Reading.
On rainy nights, if you listen closely, you can hear opera music coming out of the stout wooden bench in front of our Adirondack cabin’s fieldstone fireplace. That’s what Paul Schaefer told us when he brought us the piece of beam and said it would make a fine bench for our indoor fireplace.
Paul was a contractor in Schenectady, NY, who built early American style homes. He and my father Howard Zahniser were also Adirondack conservation partners, beginning in 1946, when I was six months old. Paul served as middle-man when my parents bought our cabin near Bakers Mills from Harold and Pansy Allen that August. » Continue Reading.
What can cruise at an altitude of 29,000 feet, is a beloved icon of the great outdoors, and yet can be the bane of lawn lovers? It’s the honking harbinger of advancing autumn and coming cold (and sometimes, bad alliteration), the Canada goose.
The familiar autumn voices of Canada geese overhead can at once evoke the melancholy of a passing summer and the anticipation of a bracing new season of color and activity. Kids return to school, hunters take to the woods, and farmers work past dusk and into darkness, all to the cacophonous cries and the heartbeat of wings of migrating geese. » Continue Reading.
Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI’s) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS’s) Adirondack Program have announced that three new articles summarizing research on Adirondack loons have been published in a special issue of the journal Waterbirds that is dedicated to loon research and conservation in North America. Research was conducted on the Common Loon (Gavia immer), which breeds on Adirondack lakes, by BRI and WCS in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center, Paul Smiths Watershed Stewardship Program, and other partners.
“We are pleased to have our loon research in the Adirondack Park included in this unique publication,” Dr. Nina Schoch, Coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, said in a statement to the press. “The special issue includes fifteen scientific papers highlighting loon behavior, life history and population ecology, movements and migration, habitat and landscape requirements, and the risk contaminants pose to loon populations. The publication will be a valuable resource to help guide the conservation of loon populations throughout North America.” » Continue Reading.
Spring is the time of year when most male birds support their brightest colored plumage. This makes them more attractive to a potential mate for the breeding season, however it also makes them more visible to any human traveling through their domain.
Among the birds far more likely to be seen during spring than at any other time of year is the hooded merganser, a handsome species of waterfowl that commonly resides in the many wooded wetlands scattered across the Park. » Continue Reading.
The Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation has announced a campaign on Adirondack Gives, the crowdfunding site for Adirondack region nonprofits, which seeks support to digitize historical slides and film footage produced by Adirondack nature photographer Kip Taylor.
In the 1970s and 1980s, when loons were rarely observed on Adirondack waterways, and prior to the age of digital photography, Kip Taylor extensively documented the natural history and behavior of Common Loons on Adirondack lakes, including some very unique underwater footage and photographs of feeding and swimming loons. Prior to his passing in 1997 Taylor published Loon, which chronicled his excursions to photograph these distinctive birds. His widow has donated his film and slides for use in BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation’s outreach programs. » Continue Reading.
My favorite season tends to be whatever comes next, which means, for now, deep winter. With our storm windows installed and four tons of wood pellets put up, I’m feeling smug as the ant in Aesop’s fable. But what about the furred and feathered creatures out there in the cold?
When I imagine a Canada goose on an icy pond, or a white tail knee deep in the white stuff, it makes me shiver and wonder: How do warm-blooded animals stay warm?» Continue Reading.
There is something quite mystical about hearing a loon. Whether it’s the haunting wail that echoes across lakes or the territorial male yodel, the loon’s calls can silence everyone around it as people search for the source of the sound.
I was recently paddling a nearby Adirondack pond and was followed by a common loon. It gave that shrill laughing sound called tremolo that is used to signal alarm. I can only assume that we were too close to its chicks. It seemed that no matter where we went, it didn’t want to share the waterway with us. We finally just sat and drifted and the loon dove underwater, reappearing on a far shore.
The Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation will be holding its first-ever Loon Quilt Raffle. The hand-made quilt depicts a pair of loons raising two chicks on an Adirondack lake. The queen-sized quilt was created by Dr. Nina Schoch, Coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, based on a McKenna Ryan design, and quilted by Susan Ochs of Saranac Lake.
“The proceeds from the loon quilt raffle will help support our loon research and outreach initiatives over the coming year. It was a lot of fun making this unusual quilt,” said Dr. Schoch, “and I hope the support it provides will enable us to continue to address numerous threats to Adirondack loons and the lakes and ponds where they live.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation got its start more than a decade ago (albeit under a different name) with the mission of monitoring a bird that appeared to be in trouble–from acid rain, mercury contamination, lead sinkers, and other environmental threats. Now it appears the researchers are in trouble.
Nina Schoch, coordinator of the center, hopes to raise about $20,000 over the next few weeks to hire field staff to monitor loon nesting on some ninety lakes across the Adirondack Park. She has had monitors in the field for the past eleven summers, but she doesn’t have enough money to hire them this year. » Continue Reading.
The persistent cold weather pattern that has prevented regular thaws from occurring this March has kept a covering of ice on most Adirondack waterways, including the edges of many streams and rivers. Returning waterfowl, like the black duck and mallard, are now forced to concentrate their activities to those scattered stretches of water where the current keeps ice from forming.
It is around these limited settings that a sleek and resourceful member of the weasel family lurks in an attempt to ambush one of these meaty game birds. While it is possible during the warmer months of the year to notice this shoreline demon prowling the boundary of any aquatic environment, the open waters that attract wild ducks are now a prime hunting haunt of the mink. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.