Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Monday, July 21, 2008

Home Needed for Anne LaBastille’s Cats

UPDATE: Anne LaBastille died July 1, 2011 at a nursing home in Plattsburgh. You can read a full obituary and review of her life as an important environmentalist in Central America and in the Adirondacks here.

From the Jay Community News comes a note that Woodswoman author Anne LaBastille can no longer care for her animals. Her dog Krispy is living happily with a friend, but her two cats Chunita and Winston are being held in the Adirondack Veterinary Hospital.

Both cats have been indoor/outdoor cats. They were adopted by Anne as strays so their exact ages are not known, but they are believed to be 6 or 7 for Chunita, female, and 4 or 5 for Winston, male.

Don’t contact me – but if you have a home for these two cats – contact the Adirondack Veterinary Hospital in Westport at (518) 962-4311.


Friday, July 11, 2008

2008 Annual Adirondack Loon Census

The Zen Birdfeeder points us to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Annual Loon Census, set to take place Saturday, July 19th:

The Annual Loon Census provides valuable data for the Loon Program to follow trends in New York’s summer loon population over time. Hundreds of residents and visitors throughout New York assist them each year by looking for loons on their favorite lake or river. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

39th Annual Lake Placid Horse Show

Lake Placid, NY – The 39th annual Lake Placid Horse Show opened on Tuesday at the North Elba Showgrounds in Lake Placid. The horse continues through Sunday and is followed at the same site by the 31st annual I Love New York Horse Show which runs July 1-6.

Heading the list of entries are the defending champions in the Lake Placid and I Love New York Horse Shows’ two Grandprix events-Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL and Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT.

Minikus, the 2001 U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) Horseman of the Year, will be looking for a second straight win in this week’s featured event, the $75,000 Budweiser Grandprix of Lake Placid Presented by RV Sales of Broward. McCrea will be looking to defend her title in the featured event of the I Love New York Horse Show, the $75,000 Hermès Grandprix, on Saturday, July 5.

Other past Grandprix winners entered this year include Laura Chapot, winner of the Budweiser Grandprix of Lake Placid in 1996 and 2004; Margie Engle, a ten-time American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year, who has been a Grandprix winner in Lake Placid six times; Kent Farrington, who won the Budweiser Grandprix of Lake Placid in 2005; and Molly Ashe-Cawley who won the Budweiser Grandprix of Lake Placid in 1999.

The 2008 Lake Placid Horse Show and I Love New York Horse Show sponsors includeA & M Beverages, A Placid Life, Adirondack Life, Adirondack Store, American Grandprix Association, Animal Planet, Anonymous, Bainbridge Farms LLC, Brandy Parfums, Ltd., The Brown Dog Café and Wine Bar, Budweiser, Carr-Hughes Productions, Chair 6, Champlain Valley Equipment, Charlie’s Restaurant, Charlotte Bobcats, Jane Forbes Clark, C.M. Hadfield’s Saddlery, Inc., The Cottage Café, The Country Saddler, Ltd., Crossroad’s Caterers, Crowne Plaza Resort & Golf Club, David R. Fowler Custom Tack Trunks, Deeridge Farms, Der Dau Custom Boots and Shoes, The Dutta Corp., Ecogold, Equifit, Farm and Ranch Magazine, Fox Run, Ltd., Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Grill 211, Mr. James Harpel, Hermès, High Peaks Resort, The Hooker Family, Horse Watch, Intercat, Inc., J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Jake Placid Doghouse, Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC, Juliam Farm, Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, The Leone Family, The Levy Family, Lonesome Landing Garden Center, Mirror Lake Inn, Mountain Horse, Mr. Mike’s Pizza & Pasta, Moss Communications, Bobby & Melissa Murphy, Nicola’s On Main, On a Fence Designs & Rentals, ORDA/Whiteface Mountain, The Pepsi Bottling Group, The Phillips Family, Price Chopper, Red-Kap Sales, Royal Reflections, Ruthie’s Run, RV Sales of Broward, Sam Edelman Shoes, Sand Castle Farm, Saratoga Living, Michael & Lora Schultz, Sidelines, Storm Ridge Capital LLC, Stretton Enterprises, Town of North Elba Park District, Turtle Lane Farm, The Weeks Family, The Whiteface Lodge, Woodlea Farms, WPTZ News Channel 5, and Y106.3 – Mountain Communications LLC.

Admission to the Lake Placid and I Love New York Horse Shows is $2.00 on weekdays and $5.00 on weekends. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free. Tickets are available at the gate. For more information and schedule details, please call the Lake Placid Horse Show Association at (518) 523-9625 or visit www.lakeplacidhorseshow.com.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bird Blogs, News and Events

Though we are not technically a birding blog, we do like birds – including aves, the film, the theory, and the band.

Here are three local or specially relevant birding blogs we follow at Adirondack Almanack:

The Feather and Flower – a wider regional focus but written by an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Zen Birdfeeder – the blog of Saratoga’s Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop co-owner and author Nancy Castillo.

Rich Guthrie’s Birding – a Times Union blog by a “hardcore birder.”

Other sites worthy of note are the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center, the closer to home Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council’s Adirondack Birding Site.

The Cornell Lab, or CLO, call themselves “a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.”

CLO sponsors a number of interesting programs and events including their “Migration Celebration” (Saturday, May 17, 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.) at Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Cornell. Family-friendly events include guided bird walks, interactive exhibits, live birds, games, and hands-on activities for children. This years theme is Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats, and People. The goal is to raise awareness about the various kinds of habitat birds need, how these natural landscapes are disappearing, and what you can do to create bird-friendly spaces at home. The event if free. Contact (800) 843-BIRD or visit www.birds.cornell.edu/birdday for more info.

­Bird Sounds Recording Workshop

From June 7 to 14, the annual Sound Recording Workshop offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology returns to San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus in the spectacular surroundings of the eastern foothills of California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains. Participants learn state-of-the-art techniques for capturing bird sounds, guided by experts.

Learn to capture the sounds of wildlife through lecture, discussion, and daily field recording sessions participants learn how to effectively handle a portable field recording system to make scientifically accurate recordings of bird vocalizations. Participants learn how to conquer wind, how a roadbed can help overcome the sound of a rushing stream, and why placing a microphone on the ground is sometimes the best strategy. There is also an introduction to the science of sound analysis which converts sound waves into visual images called spectrograms. With signal analysis it’s possible to visualize a bird song note by note.

The Sound Recording Workshop fee of $895 covers tuition, class materials, ground transportation, food, and lodging. A $100 deposit is requested to reserve a space, which is limited to 20 students. Registration and payment are due by May 31. Learn more here.

NestWatch Community Observation Project


NestWatch is ­a new, free citizen science project funded by the National Science Foundation. Participants visit nests during spring and summer to collect simple information about location, habitat, species, number of eggs, and number of young in the nest. Then they submit their observations online.

All NestWatch materials and instructions are available online at www.nestwatch.org, including directions on how to find nests and how to monitor them without disturbing the birds.

NestCams Online Live Nest Cameras

The NestCams site has been recently revamped. Live cameras show the nesting activities of Barn Owls, Wood Ducks, and Northern Flickers in Texas and California. More cameras go online all the time.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Biggest Threats to Adirondack Water Resources

The Adirondack Council has released a report that outlines eight major threats to Adirondack water resources. Titled Adirondack Waters: Resource at Risk [pdf], the 32-page booklet describes the threats and what can be done about them. The eight risks include: Acid Rain, Mercury Pollution, Global Climate Change, Aquatic Invasive Species, Inadequate Sewage Treatment, Suburban Sprawl, Diverting Adirondack Waters, and Road Salt.

Acid Rain – More than 700 bodies of water in the Adirondack Park have been damaged and native fish, amphibians, and other aquatic life are threatened. Although they may look clear and pristine, the appearance of water bodies damaged by acid rain is actually due to a lack of native life in the water. Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which provides for the largest reductions in the pollutants that cause acid rain since the passage of the original Clean Air Act in 1963. Congress needs to put these new rules into law. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Adirondack Events: Watershed Ecology Lecture Series

The Lake George Land Conservancy and the Lake George Association a presenting a series of lectures on natural features of the Lake George watershed this spring and summer. The series of speakers will address the ecology and natural history plants and animals found around Lake George.

The events are free and open to the public. they will be held on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at either the Lake George Association or the Lake George Land Conservancy; light refreshments will be provided.

June 14, “Bats in your Backyard,” Al Hicks, NYSDEC Mammal Specialist, 7 p.m. at LGA office.

June 28, “Lake George Fish: Natural History and Ecology,” Emily Zollweg, NYSDEC Senior Aquatic Biologist, 7 p.m. at LGLC office.

July 12: “Zebra Mussels in Lake George,” John Wimbush, Darrin Fresh Water Institute researcher, 7 p.m. at LGA office.

July 26: “Rattlesnakes at Lake George: What You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask,” Bill Brown, associate professor emeritus of Biology at Skidmore College, 7 p.m. at LGLC office.

Aug. 9: “Mushrooms of the Adirondacks,” Nancy Scarzello, 7 pm at LGA office.

Aug. 23: “Exploring Pond Life: Turtles, Frogs and Pollywogs,” Emily DeBolt, LGA education and outreach coordinator, 7 p.m. at LGLC office.

For more information contact LGA’s Emily DeBolt 518-668-3558 or LGLC’s Sarah Hoffman at 518-644-9673.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Unique Fingerprints Of Adirondack Wildlife

An interesting press release from the Wildlife Conservation Society on fisher fingerprints and other unique patterns in Adirondack mammal tracks.

A new study in the May issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management reports that scientists from the New York State Museum, Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups have teamed up with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice to developed a new technique that uses fingerprints to track the fisher – an elusive member of the weasel family, and the only carnivore species known to have unique fingerprints.

Fingerprints left behind at special tracking-boxes allow field biologists to identify which individual fisher had come in for the bait and, therefore, count the exact number of animals using an area. Scientists teamed with fingerprint experts at the New York State Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) to develop this method, which is far simpler and less expensive compared to alternatives such as DNA fingerprinting.

Fisher prints differ from human fingerprints because they are made up of patterns of dots rather than ridges, so standard criminology software did not work. “We tried submitting fisher prints to the state’s fingerprint database but it didn’t pair up the prints well,” says Richard Higgins, retired chief of the DCJS Bureau of Criminal Identification. “But looking at them side-by-side it was obvious when you had a match.”

The fisher, an eight-pound member of the weasel family, is the only carnivore known to have fingerprints, which are also known from primates and koalas. Other species may also have unique patterns in their tracks that would help in counting their numbers in the wild.

“The few porcupine and opossum tracks we got had incredible patterns and will probably turn out to be unique with more study.” says Dr. Roland Kays, curator of mammals at the State Museum, who co-authored the Journal article, along with Higgins and others.

“Identifying individuals allows us to actually count how many animals are in different areas, which is essential information for monitoring their conservation status,” says Justina Ray, director of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. “My hope is that we can apply this kind of inexpensive, sure-fire technology to help conserve a wide range of species, especially those that are threatened with extinction.”

Scientists surveyed fishers from 2000-2002 as part of a carnivore survey across 54 sites in the Adirondack region of Northern New York. Fishers were the second most commonly detected carnivore species, behind coyotes.

“Our study suggests fisher populations are healthy throughout most of Northern New York,” said Ray. “Fisher populations are rising in most of the Northeastern United States, showing that wildlife can reclaim their turf if forests are allowed to recover.”

Fishers were nearly driven to extinction in the state by deforestation and over-trapping before receiving protection in the 1930s. This led to a slow recovery, and limited trapping was permitted again in the 1970s. Their recent population boom appears to have begun in the 1990s.

Fishers spread south out of the Adirondacks and Vermont and into the Hudson Valley. They are also spreading westward, with today’s leading edge around Syracuse. Fishers were first recorded in the suburbs of Albany and Boston in the last six years.

The other co-authors of the Journal study are Mike Tymeson and Richard Higgins, DCJS; Carl J. Herzog, state Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany; Dr. Matthew E. Gompper, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO and Dr. William J. Zielinski United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Redwood Sciences Laboratory in Arcata, CA.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Winter Camping in the Adirondacks

Jim Muller of Holland Patent has been backpacking since the 1960s, but about nine years ago he and a few friends (age 20 to 50) began camping in the Adirondacks in the winter months – no bears, no black flies, no mosquitoes. “We have done a wide range of trips, from simple hikes to lean-tos while pulling a plastic sled to backpacking trips and multi-day dog sledding adventures,” Muller told the Adirondack Almanack in a recent e-mail.

We think that winter camping has advantages over summer camping: You can reach areas that are too wet or overgrown during other seasons, and the clear and open view is unparalleled. Winter camping provides solitude and a feeling of exploration; even heavily traveled trails seem like virgin territory when covered by a fresh blanket of snow. Camping in the winter inspires a feeling of independence and gives people confidence in their survival skills.

Winter camping also relieves some pressure from heavily (over) used High Peaks trails. Check out the Winter Campers web site at www.wintercampers.com. The site includes an Expedition Log, a list of winter Leave No Trace principles, winter camping Tips and Tricks, a comprehensive Gear List, along with Gear Reviews, and even some Poetry, and a Discussion Board.

The Outdoor Action Program of Princeton University also offers an outstanding introductory winter camping manual.


Suggested Reading

Bill Ingersoll’s Snowshoe Routes: Adirondacks & Catskills

Backpacker Magazine’s
Winter Hiking & Camping: Managing Cold for Comfort & Safety

Calvin Rustrum’s Paradise Below Zero: The Classic Guide to Winter Camping

Chris Townshend’s Wilderness Skiing & Winter Camping

AMC’s Guide to Winter Camping: Wilderness Travel and Adventure in the Cold-Weather Months


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Battenkill, Fish, Food, and a Field and Stream Blog

One of the sites we keep tabs on here at the Adirondack Almanack is Dave Hurteau’s blog Field Notes. He’s often got his huntin’ and fishin’ blinders on, but Hurteau (an editor at Field & Stream) lives in Upstate New York and many of his posts are about our region – last month he looked at the fish stocking controversy over at the Battenkill in Washington County.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife announced a plan to stock the Battenkill with non-native rainbow trout, the Orvis Company threatened to take back a promised $100,000 grant for the stream’s habitat restoration. Guess who won that battle.

Why you’re there, check out these two recent posts:

According to the latest study, 43 percent of the fish consumed by humans now come from aquaculture, compared to just 9 percent in 1980. That’s 45.5 million tons of farmed fish, worth $63 billion, eaten each year, according to this press release from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. [Link]

and…

Malden Nesheim, a professor emeritus of nutrition at Cornell University and chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee, said the panel actually found slim evidence for many claims about the health benefits of fish as well as the dangers. “We were surprised at the lack of reliable data on the distribution of contaminants in our seafood supply or on how the benefits might counteract the risks,” he told reporters. [Link]


Suggested Reading

The Battenkill, by John Merwin

Mid-Atlantic Trout Streams and Their Hatches: Overlooked Angling in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Animal Encounters: Moose in the Adirondacks

Relatively fewer hunters and natural predators combined with the amazing adaptability of some species has led to a recent boom in the populations of New York’s largest animals – moose, bear, deer, coyotes and bobcats. In the past few years a 400 pound bear was shot in the City of Albany’s Washington Park after it wandered for a couple hours around the downtown area. In 1997, a moose wandered Albany’s inner city neighborhood of Arbor Hill before being relocated. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Status of Climate Change in the Adirondacks?

Who knows – few, if any, are bothering to ask – is anyone conducting research in this area? If so we’d like to hear about it. In the meantime this week’s climate news may give us an indication of what we’re in for ecologically (if not economically) and it looks pretty bad:

Temperatures Still Increasing More Than Expected
For more than 25 years Arctic sea ice has slowly diminished in winter by about 1.5 percent per decade. But in the past two years the melting has occurred at rates 10 to 15 times faster. From 2004 to 2005, the amount of ice dropped 2.3 percent; and over the past year, it’s declined by another 1.9 percent, according to Comiso. (Link)

Fluctuations in Sun’s Output Likely Not The Cause
Known variations in the sun’s total energy output cannot explain recent global warming, say researchers who have reviewed the existing evidence. The judgment, which appears in the September 14 Nature, casts doubt on the claims of some global warming skeptics who have argued that long-term changes in solar output, or luminosity, might be driving the current climate pattern. (Link)

Storms Will Be More Powerful
Human production of greenhouse gases is largely responsible for increasing storm severity, scientists say. (Link)

Higher Temperatures and More Droughts Expected
Continental Europe’s extreme summers of recent years, characterized by heavy floods or killer heat waves, could be commonplace by the turn of the century, a climate study says. Its authors believe that changes in the complex relationship between air temperature and land moisture, driven by global warming, will cause European summers to suffer from chronic variability by 2100. (Link)

Plants and Trees at Risk
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew has issued a “position paper” saying that man-made global warming is changing the outlook for plants and trees worldwide. (Link)

Polar Bear Threatened
According to scientists from NASA and the Canadian Wildlife Service, increased Arctic polar bear sightings are related to retreating sea ice triggered by climate warming and not due to population increases as some may believe. (Link)

The English Garden Will Be a Thing of the Past
Britain‘s legion of gardening fanatics were warned Tuesday to get ready for global warming which threatens to spoil the traditional English country garden of legend. The immaculately mown lawns and flourishing flowers found in gardens across the country may become a thing of the past if stereotypically rainy Britain continues to struggle with drought and warmer weather. (Link)

So what does all this mean for us? Warmer temperatures? Less snow and ice? Fewer wetlands? More Hurricanes reaching us? Bigger winter storms? Damage to plant and animal populations?

And what are the financial factors for the Adirondacks, a region that depends on its natural environment for so much of its economic life?

And as important – why is our local media not bothering to ask these questions?

UPDATE 9/18/06: Almanack Reader and Lake Champlain Committee Staff Scientist Mike Winslow points us to his new article (response?) “The Heat is On” published today about the effects of global warming on the lake. Excerpt:

Physical changes mostly involve the temperature of the lake. Higher winter temperatures mean reductions in winter ice cover. Such reductions have already begun. Prior to the 1950’s it was very unusual for Lake Champlain not to freeze in a given year, but of late, an absence of ice cover has become a fairly regular event. Higher temperatures mean the lake will stratify earlier in the spring, setting up a warm layer of water over a colder deeper layer, and stay stratified longer. A 1979 study stated stratification in the Main Lake typically began in early June. Over the last four years however, stratification has begun in early to mid-May. Higher temperatures and a lake of ice cover means increased evaporation from the lake. As a result, there is a general agreement, at least in models of the Great Lakes, that average water levels will fall. However, changes in local precipitation patterns greatly influence any such predictions, and such changes may differ between the Great Lakes region and the Champlain Valley.

UPDATE 9/18/06: Almanack Reader and Interim Director of the Center for Environmental Programs at Bowling Green State University Philip G. Terrie suggests the following studies:

J. Curt Stager and Michael R. Martin, “Global Climate Change and the Adirondacks, AJES: Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 9 (Spring/Summer 2002), 6-13.

The New England Regional Assessment (NERA) is one of 16 regional assessments, conducted for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), as part of the National Assessment of climate change impacts on the United States. The National Assessment is directed by response to the Congressional Act of 1990

Jerry Jenkins, Adirondack Atlas, p. 244. (At a new lower price!)


Monday, August 7, 2006

Adirondack Birding Google Maps Mash-Up

Thanks to TourPro at Adirondack Base Camp for pointing us to the lastest offering from the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council – an Adirondack birding map!

And while we’re at it – we’ll refer you to our own Adirondack Map round-up from about a year ago.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Adirondack Turtles and Tourists

Take a look at the latest entries from Trinity University’s President Patricia McGuire blog. She’s been making her annual sojourn into the Adirondacks and has some interesting insights. Here’s a sample:

Driving east on Rte. 30 yesterday, about half a mile ahead I observed vehicles swerving all over the road. I approached cautiously, thinking there must be a piece of debris on the ground. But lo and behold, when I got closer, I saw the cause of all the commotion: a turtle about the size of a dinner plate ambling across the street from one marsh to another.

Now, growing up in Philadelphia, our vacations took us to South Jersey along the Black Horse Pike. We used to see a lot of turtles crossing the road along the way — or the remnants thereof. It’s where I first heard the term “roadkill.” You got points for hitting, fingers raised for swerving to save a turtle life.

Up here in the Adirondacks, I don’t see much roadkill. Instead, there’s a distinctive effort to preserve wildlife, including the turtle crawling across Rte. 30. Those swerving cars weren’t citified environmental lawyers in their Navigators. No, they were lumberjacks and fishermen in 4×4’s. Everyone understands the rules of the wilderness. Humans and wild things living side-by-side, warily respecting each other’s space. Nobody got hurt in all that swerving. No fingers waved out of car windows. Even the turtle made it home for dinner safely.

It’s always interesting to hear what others think about our Adirondack region – and their turtles.


Suggested Reading: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Conservation, Restoration, and Management of Tortoises and Turtles (SUNY Purchase, 1993)


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Three New Species Found in the Adirondack Treetops

Graduate student researcher Heather Root has made international news with the discovery of three new species in the canopy near Newcomb. The paper was presented at the Ninth Annual Northeast Natural History Conference in Albany.

UPDATE 05/09/06: North Country Public Radio has picked up on this story. Root told NCPR’s Brian Mann that she also found a rare lichen believed to have disappeared from the Adirondacks decades ago.


Suggested Reading: A History of Adirondack Mammals


Friday, December 2, 2005

Adirondack Mountain Lions, Panthers, Pumas, and Cougars Oh My!

There is perhaps no wildlife question in the Adirondack Region that raises so many anti-government / anti-DEC hackles as the question of whether or not there are mountain lions (a.ka. cougars, pumas, panthers, catamounts) in them thar woods. People actually get angry… figuring that them city folk in the DEC just don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t believe the locals, or they are hiding the fact that the big cats are around. » Continue Reading.


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