Often, when I spot an interesting bird, I don’t have my binoculars handy. I’m holding a paddle or a pair of bicycle handlebars, which aren’t very helpful when it comes to birdwatching. That was the case during an early-morning bike ride last summer, when I noticed a brownish bird about the size of a chicken standing at the edge of a farm pond. I would have liked a better look, but it was clearly an American bittern, scanning for prey against a backdrop of reeds and cattails. It was a rare sighting for me, one I was lucky to have. » Continue Reading.
There is a broad, craggy precipice in Franconia Notch, NH, not far from my home, called Eagle Cliff. It was named in the 1800s for the golden eagles that nested there, back when the region was full of open farmland that was conducive to the giant raptors’ lifestyle. While the fields have grown up and the eagles are long gone, the cliff has been home to nesting peregrine falcons each year since 1981.
Once completely absent from the eastern United States, peregrine falcons have been making a steady comeback since the 1980s. Those falcons that nested on Eagle Cliff in 1981 marked the first successful re-occupancy of a historic cliff breeding site. Since then, recolonization has been steady, if slow. » Continue Reading.
AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project is set to hold a Pollinator Symposium June 5 at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, on Wednesday, June 5th, from 10 am to 4 pm.
The Pollinator Symposium will be aimed at equipping farmers, groundskeepers, public park managers, gardeners, and local government agencies with the knowledge to help preserve and build pollinator populations in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
The Crown Point Bird Banding Association will set up its yearly bird banding station at the Crown Point State Historic Site May 10 through May 25. In its 44th year, the Crown Point banding station returns to record migration data and birdsongs, and the public is invited to observe and learn more 6 am to 6 pm daily. » Continue Reading.
AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project has announced its second Pollinator Plant Sale. With the assistance of Cook & Gardener Nursery, these native pollinator plants and cultivars have been selected to thrive in the Adirondacks.
The plants have been sourced or grown from seed to ensure that they are free of neonicotinoids, a class of systemic insecticide that research shows is a major factor in Colony Collapse Disorder and loss of pollinator biodiversity. » Continue Reading.
Anyone who’s spent time in the woods has seen them, a tree growing on top of a large stone or boulder, with its roots winding down around the stone to find nourishment, finally, in the surrounding earth.
The tree could be a yellow birch or a spruce and we see them in many stages of their lives from seedlings growing out of a bed of moss and ferns to very mature trees.
They are one of the great curiosities of the woods, often causing one to stop and examine, marveling at the tenacity and beauty of life. Surely this peculiar plant and stone association must have a name? » Continue Reading.
It’s tempting to simply view fish scales as armor, but there’s more to them than that. They provide camouflage; they also play a role in locomotion. For scientists working on the recovery of American Shad in the Connecticut River, scales provide a record of a fish’s life history and a way to measure the success of restoration efforts.
American shad is our largest river herring. The males, called bucks, run up to six pounds. The females, or row shad, up to four. Like their cousins alewife and blue-backed herring, shad are anadromous, spending most of the year in the ocean, then running up fresh water rivers like the Connecticut in spring to spawn. » Continue Reading.
Black flies bite, but ticks really suck. Enough complaining – that never helps.
After such a long winter, we are all grateful that spring has finally sprung, even though the price of warm weather seems to be the advent of biting insects. Swarms of mosquitoes can drain the fun from an evening on the deck, but a single black-legged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) can take the shine off an entire summer if it infects you with Lyme disease and/or another serious illness. » Continue Reading.
Eighteen years ago, when I moved back to New Hampshire, I rarely came across ticks. The dog didn’t carry them unwittingly into the house, and I could spend the day in the garden or on wooded trails and not see a single, hard-shelled, eight-legged, blood-sucking creepy-crawly.
Not so anymore. Now, from the time of snowmelt in the spring to the first crisp snowfall of autumn – and often beyond – we find ticks everywhere: on the dog, crawling up the front door, along kids’ hairlines, on backs or arms or legs, and occasionally (and alarmingly) walking along a couch cushion or bed pillow. » Continue Reading.
I know these tracks
in my tendons.
I know this forest.
How it pounds
into the shale, like a
crumbling ravine of snow
the color of mink fur.
I know this forest. Its wisdom
returns to me from vanished
glaciers, and I hear the sleep of
beasts in tombs of rotting Hemlock.
I know that I am not alone, but
these embers of tradition
cannot be shared.
Visiting a forest along one of our major rivers, such as the Connecticut River, in late spring, is like entering a special world. Big silver maples tower overhead, with arching branches and roots reaching deep underground. Cottonwoods up to five feet in diameter and vase-shaped American elms are scattered about. Scars on the upstream side of some tree trunks bear testament to the chunks of ice that crash through when the river floods every spring. Silt stains on the trunks and dead leaves, trash, and other debris caught in crotches of trees show the height of the floodwaters. Many trees cannot withstand flooding, but the species in this forest are flood-tolerant and thrive in the nutrient-rich sediments brought by floods. » Continue Reading.
Cross-referencing a decade of Google searches and citizen science observations, researchers say they have identified which of 621 North American bird species are currently the most popular and which characteristics of species drive human interest. » Continue Reading.
In the first global test of the idea, scientists have found evidence that some woodpeckers can evolve to look like another species of woodpecker in the same neighborhood. The researchers say that this “plumage mimicry” isn’t a fluke – it happens among pairs of distantly related woodpeckers all over the world. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, is set to exhibit approximately 100 pieces of extraordinary taxidermy on loan from private Adirondack collections and camps as well as mounts, photographs, and manuscript materials from its own collection, beginning May 24th. » Continue Reading.
An estimated 600 million birds die from building collisions every year in the United States. Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have published new research highlighting artificial light at night as a contributing factor.
The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. It combines satellite data showing light pollution levels with weather radar measuring bird migration density. » Continue Reading.