Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Hummingbird Moths, A Primer

Hummingbird Moth One afternoon last summer, my partner Rick called me out onto our deck to see a tiny hummingbird. Not just tiny, but the tiniest hummingbird he had ever seen. My curiosity piqued, I walked out and there it was – hovering in front of the bee balm, sipping nectar and beating its wings at an impossible rate. It was a rich rust color and about an inch and a half long. By comparison, the smallest ruby-throated hummingbirds are twice that length. This was truly the most diminutive hummingbird imaginable.

Or was it? » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 1, 2019

2018 Giant Hogweed Eradication Efforts Report Issued

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that statewide efforts to control giant hogweed are making headway in eradicating this large, invasive, and dangerous plant.

The Giant Hogweed Program, managed by DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests, is in its twelfth year and has eradicated the plants from 623 sites, with another 448 plant-free sites being monitored. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Rare Plants Inhabit Adirondack Ice Meadows

Now that the weather has finally warmed up, we can appreciate ice a little more. Among other things, ice greatly improves summertime drinks, and an icy watermelon is hands-down better than a warm one. And in this part of the world, ice also provides us with unique wildflower meadows.

Along stretches of riverbank in the Southern Adirondacks, rare Arctic-type flowers are blooming now in the fragile slices of native grasslands that are meticulously groomed each year by the scouring action of ice and melt-water. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Little Things: Pollination at its Finest

honeybee by Jackie Woodcock

Here in the Adirondacks the stars are our night light, the crickets and bull frogs our bedtime lullaby.

This is a place where the simple things are seen and not overlooked. Mountain life affords us an advantage, serene surroundings to ponder about the little things and the opportunity to witness nature at work up close and personal. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Bullheads: The Humble Hornpouts

bullhead by adelaide tyrolConsider for a second a fish that can live in turbid, low-oxygen water. Can breathe through its skin. Eats almost anything. Has a wickedly effective defense mechanism. And is a really focused parent. Plus, it’s good to eat.

We’re talking about the humble hornpout. Or “horned pout,” if you prefer. Or “mud cat.” Taxonomically, Ameiurus nebulosus. The brown bullhead. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Questions Remain In Controlling Spotted Lantern Fly

lantern fly by adelaide tyrolHave you seen a spotted lanternfly? If you live in New England, and answered “no,” that’s good. But we’ll have to check back with you next year.

The lanternfly is one of the latest foreign invasive insect pests to become established in North America. And it isn’t a picky eater. Dozens of crops and native trees are go-to foods for this destructive bug. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Tick Crisis in the Adirondacks Panel June 25th

tick crisis in the adksThe Whallonsburg Grange is set to present a panel discussion on the growing problem of ticks on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30 pm. “A Ticking Time Bomb: The Tick Crisis in the Adirondacks” will include the latest scientific and medical information and time for participants to tell their own stories. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 17, 2019

History of Champlain Salmon Focus of Ti Exhibit

salmon courtesy Concordia UniversityThe Ticonderoga Historical Society has opened the exhibit “Salmon and People,” set to run through June 21, with a free public program on Friday, June 21 at the Hancock House, 6 Moses Circle, Ticonderoga. Provided by the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, the exhibit celebrates 2019 as the “International Year of the Salmon.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

No Evidence of Native Cougars in the Adirondacks

Mountain lion paw print taken in Lake George on Dec 10 2010 courtesy NYSDECBefore the 19th century, cougars were abundant across the American continent. In fact, the cougar was the most widely distributed land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They were found in forests from tropical to boreal; from Chile to the Canadian Yukon.

A lion living in the Arizona desert may appear different than one living in the coniferous forests of British Columbia or the freshwater marshes of Florida, but genetically, they’re the same animal, Puma concolor. Taxonomists classify cougars from different regions by subspecies, however. Examples are the North American cougar, Eastern cougar, Western mountain lion, and Florida panther. They’re also called pumas and catamounts. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Wild Turkey Nests

turkey chicks Last June I was walking through our field when I flushed a wild turkey hen. She emerged from the raspberry patch just a few feet away from me. I parted the thorny canes to reveal a nest on the ground lined with dried grass and containing nine large, creamy eggs, speckled with brown.

Since we were planning to have the field mown to control invasive wild chervil, I set stakes topped with orange flagging near the nest. The man we had hired to mow was a turkey hunter, and he was happy to give the nest a wide berth. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

DEC Asks Public to Report Moose Sightings

public moose sightings by down 2017The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has asked the public to report moose sightings and observations. DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

It’s Hummingbird Season

Adult Male Hummingbird courtesy Ian DaviesI’ve always been fascinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), the only hummingbird species to regularly breed in eastern North America.

They’re small hummingbirds with slender, slightly curved, black bills, fairly short wings that don’t reach all the way to their tails when sitting, and strikingly radiant iridescent feathers that change in intensity and hue, depending upon the light and your angle of view. All ruby-throated hummingbirds; males, females, and immature birds; flaunt bright emerald- or golden-green on their backs and crowns, with a dull white or pale gray breast. Only the male brandishes the intensely lustrous ruby-red throat for which they’re named. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

What’s That Sound? The Gray Tree Frog

Spring is a season when the greatest abundance of natural sounds echo across the landscape. During the day, birds are primarily responsible for the variety of musical calls; however as darkness approaches, especially when the weather is mild, the voices of amphibians produce our most captivating sounds.

Around the alder-laden shores of ponds, marshes and rivers, choruses of tiny spring peepers regularly drown out the songs sung by all other creatures. During the latter part of May, after dusk, toads can be seen heading to similar shallow wooded waterways to engage in their nocturnal serenade. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 3, 2019

Adirondack Pollinator Symposium Wednesday in North Creek

pollinator symposium 2019AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project is set to hold a Pollinator Symposium on June 5 at Tannery Pond Community Center, 228 Main Street in North Creek.

The Symposium will be aimed at equipping farmers, groundskeepers, public park managers, gardeners, and local government agencies with the knowledge to help preserve and build crucial pollinator populations in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Welcome Infestations: Dragonflies and Damselflies

dragonfly anatomy courtesy Wikimedia user M A BroussardIt is not too often one hears about a good-news infestation. I’d like to come across a bulletin on a new invasive money-tree that was poised to spread through the region. Granted it would produce in foreign currency, but we could make peace with that situation, I imagine.

A money-tree invasion is unlikely, but some areas will soon be overrun by hordes of insects programmed to eat black flies, mosquitoes and deer flies. Dragonflies and damselflies, carnivorous insects in the order Odonata, date back more than 300 million years. Both kinds of insects are beneficial in that they eat plenty of nasties. Of the estimated 6,000 Odonata species on Earth, about 200 have been identified in our part of the globe. I’ve been told it’s good fortune if one lands on you, but the luck is probably that they terrify biting insects. » Continue Reading.