Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Adirondack Winter: Hibernating Jumping Mice

Winter is the time when wildlife activity ebbs in the Adirondacks. Many residents of our fields and forests have retreated to shelters beneath the surface of the soil in an attempt to escape this season of low temperatures, snow and ice, and little if any food.

The woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis) is one member of our wildlife community that retires to the seclusion of a cushiony nest underground and lapses into a profound state of dormancy, known as true hibernation, for roughly 6 months beginning sometime in mid-October. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Invasive Species: House Sparrows in Winter

house sparrowHouse sparrows – those little brown and gray birds that flash mob the bird feeder – are common and easy to see. They’re quarrelsome, noisy, and when they’re on the ground, they move in vigorous hops that remind me of popcorn popping out of a pan.

They’re also an invasive species, scavengers that have hitched their wagons to humans, and at least on this continent, are having a very successful ride. Our farms, lawns, and grocery store parking lots provide all kinds of year-round foraging for these birds, and our structures provide them shelter. From gutter pipes to the bulb rims of traffic lights, house sparrows know how to make themselves at home in human-dominated settings, regardless of whether humans want them there. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Red-Backed Salamanders Go Underground

There are several types of migration that occur in nature. While this term generally brings to mind the long distance flight of birds and a few species of bats, it can also refer to the seasonal movements of numerous creatures that abandon their summer domains on the surface for an environment below the frost line.

As cold air becomes more intense, and nightly temperatures more regularly drop into the teens causing water in the uppermost layer of soil to freeze, most cold-blooded organisms that reside there, particularly the red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus) must start to migrate down in order to prevent freezing to death. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Lake George Land Conservancy Adds To Sucker Brook Protection

lglc-putnam-protected-landsThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) recently acquired 72 acres in the Town of Putnam from Thomas and Mary Ellen Eliopoulos. The land, known as the Beaver Pond property, joins another 65 acres purchased from the Bain family in September as the latest additions in a focused effort to protect the 2,000-acre watershed of Sucker Brook, a major tributary of Lake George.

As one of Lake George’s ten largest tributaries, Sucker Brook drains directly into the lake at Glenburnie, and makes a significant impact on the lake’s water quality. Its protection provides a safeguard against excess storm water runoff, erosion of the stream corridor, and nutrient loading from neighboring sources of fertilizers and road salt. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tractor: Smarter (and Larger) than the Average Bear

My two previous Adirondack Almanack articles about black bears combined with Pete Nelson’s last Lost Brook Dispatch about a black bear named Tractor, started me thinking about my own harrowing bear experiences in the Adirondacks.

Unfortunately, none of my encounters was as exciting as being yanked out of an outhouse, or reminiscent of the black knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Nevertheless, one such encounter with a monster of a bear is interesting enough worth sharing. Given the bear’s large size and craftiness, it might even be the legendary Tractor. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Comments Sought On St. Lawrence County’s Largest Wetland

upper-and-lower-lakes-mapThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to answer questions and provide information on a recently finalized habitat management plan for Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in DEC Region 6, Town of Canton, St. Lawrence County.

The area is located on an important waterfowl migration route between eastern Canada and the Atlantic Coast. The upland portion of the WMA consists of woodland, small blocks of conifers, shrub land, grassland, and agricultural land.

The session will take place on Thursday, December 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at SUNY Potsdam, in the eighth (8th) floor meeting room, Raymond Hall. The meeting will begin with an open session with DEC staff; the presentation is at 7 pm. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions during the open session and after the presentation. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Black Bears Attack, Or Do They?

My recent article here at the Adirondack Almanack about a man attacked on the toilet by a black bear appeared to elicit several comments suggesting that carrying firearms is a viable protective measure for possible bear attacks in the Adirondacks. It was never my intention to insinuate this; I just thought it was an amusing backcountry-related story.

Before I find myself liable for any incidents involving bears and firearms, it may be instructive to examine black bear behavior and the possibility of suffering from a fatal attack in the Adirondacks. I certainly do not want to be responsible for the backcountry becoming a new “wild west,” with everyone packing heat, and eager to use it at a moment’s notice.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, November 14, 2016

It’s A Shell Game For Turtles

turtleYears ago, I stopped when I saw a turtle attempting to cross a high-traffic road. When I picked it up, I noticed its intricately sculpted shell. The top, or carapace, was covered with layers of bony scales, called scutes, which formed small pyramids circled by concentric growth rings. Finely spaced ridges radiated from each apex. The unusual shell and orange skin helped me identify it as a wood turtle, a species being considered for federal listing as endangered because populations have declined in most northeastern states. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Photo: The Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpeckerThe pileated woodpecker is one of the more striking characters of New York’s woodlands. Ubiquitous across the state, its bright red crest and propensity for vocalization make it hard to miss.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Using Common Sense With Adirondack Black Bears

Black Bear NYS Museum Camera TrapThere I was, cruising the VIC’s Sucker Brook Trail in search of spring wildflowers (translation: staring at the ground as I walked along), when to my left I heard a rustle of vegetation. “Ruffed grouse,” I thought, and turned my head, anticipating the explosion of wings as the bird made a hasty retreat towards the treetops. What I saw, however, was no ruffed grouse. It was black, it was furry, and it was galloping away from me a high speed.

My next thought was “someone’s black lab is loose.” Then it dawned on me: this was no lab, it was a bear. A small bear, probably a yearling, but a bear nonetheless. What I saw was the typical view I have of bears in the Adirondacks: the south end of the animal as it’s headed north. If I’m lucky, I’ll see the face before the animal turns tail. And this is how bears are – they fear people. Many people fear bears as well, but unlike the bear, people really have little reason to be afraid of these normally placid animals. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Avoid Caves and Mines to Protect Bat Populations

220px-Little_Brown_Bat_with_White_Nose_Syndrome_(Greeley_Mine,_cropped)The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has urged outdoor adventurers to suspend exploration of cave and mine sites that may serve as homes for bat hibernations.

Human disturbances are harmful to the State’s bat population since the arrival of the disease known as white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than 90 percent of bats at most hibernation sites in New York. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Canada Geese: Migrant or Resident?

geeseA large V of Canada geese flying noisily over my head – and traveling north, rather than south – got me wondering about the ins and outs of fall migration. Shouldn’t these big birds be flying to warmer climes this time of year? Why do they travel in that V-formation, anyway?

It turns out the answers aren’t simple. Canada geese (Branta canadensis) live throughout the continental United States and across their namesake country. These loud honkers are easily identified by their size – up to 20 pounds, with a wingspan up to five feet – and their characteristic white chinstrap markings across black heads and necks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Black Bear Encounters: A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear

black bear dec

The black bear is one of the most fascinating wildlife species in the Adirondacks. Residents and visitors are constantly introducing human food and garbage into the home of the black bear. Wild, non-habituated bears forage for foods such as berries, nuts, insects, and grasses.

These bears will not normally show an interest in our food unless they are first introduced to it through our careless behavior. If they cannot easily get to our food they will look elsewhere. When we store food and garbage poorly, bears are attracted to this easily accessible food rather than the natural foods they must work to acquire. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Hiker’s Role In Disturbing The Wild

scarlet tanagerA trail weaving its way through the woods to a summit takes up just a minuscule fraction of the wild lands it traverses, which may leave the impression that trails have little impact on wildlife. Research in recent years by the Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that is not the case.

“You’d be surprised by the ripples left by a day hiker’s ramble through the woods,” wrote Christopher Solomon in the New York Times in 2015. “In 2008 Sarah Reed, an associate conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and her colleagues found fivefold declines in detections of bobcats, coyotes and other midsize carnivores in protected areas in California that allowed quiet recreation activities like hiking, compared with protected areas that prohibited those activities.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

2016 Adirondack Peregrine Falcon Monitoring Summary

peregrine falconDEC staff and volunteers monitored 26 peregrine falcon nesting sites located throughout the Adirondack Mountains and along Lake Champlain during the 2016 breeding season.

Of the 26 monitored eyrie (nesting) sites, 17 were confirmed to be occupied by territorial pairs – all of these were confirmed to be active eyries. At two of the 26 sites, Cascade Lakes and Eagle Mountain, only a single territorial bird was ever seen. Of the 17 confirmed active eyries, 14 were successful, producing 27 chicks for a total of 1.59 young/breeding pair and 1.93 young/successful pair. This represents an average level of production for this region, however 2016 was much more successful than the 2015 breeding season. » Continue Reading.


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