The 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.
There 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.
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.
After enrolling in the course, participants are given a binder of information that supplements weekly presentations by Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of garden topics.
The topics include basic botany; entomology; soil health; home lawn care; vegetable, fruit and flower gardening; composting; organic gardening, and other practical and interesting subject matter. » Continue Reading.
A 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.
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.
DEC 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.
Bradford B. VanDiver, president of the ADK Laurentian Chapter four decades ago, had a deep impact on my life, which is not surprising because he was a lifetime teacher. But the truth is, I never met him — at least not in person. His passion for many pursuits was first revealed to me through the pages of one of several books he authored. What I discovered was a native New Yorker and eventual North Country transplant who was truly a Renaissance Man.
At a young age, innate curiosity across many fields of science drove my quest to know more about animals, plants, rocks, and “bugs” that were routinely encountered on all sorts of outdoor expeditions. When VanDiver’s book, Rocks and Routes of the North Country, New York (1976) was released in 1976, I immediately obtained an autographed copy, which still resides on my desk to this very day. He presented a wealth of knowledge supported by scientific terms, but written for the layman as a practical guide to discovery. The book accompanied me on hundreds of hours of exploration across the Adirondacks, and in part led me to write my own first book.
But VanDiver was much more than a professional rock hound — professional as in a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Washington. He also taught at universities in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and for a year in Munich, Germany, during a sabbatical from Potsdam State, where he spent 24 years as professor of geology. » Continue Reading.
Furbearer trapping will begin soon in many parts of New York State, following changes to fisher and marten trapping seasons, as well as changes to some general trapping regulations and expanded hunting for bobcat.
While coyote hunting season began October 1 in much the state, hunting seasons for other furbearers such as bobcat, raccoon, and fox begins October 25. Trappers should be aware of changes to trapping regulations for fisher beginning this fall, including: » Continue Reading.
The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC) is seeking Committee applicants for 2017. NYSCC is the oldest conservation organization in New York State, comprised of volunteers who are concerned with sound management of the state’s and the nation’s land, water, fish and wildlife.
Members are involved in a variety of Council issues dealing with hunting, trapping and angling, and ranging from educating youth and adults, to legislation, and including projects such as cleaning up waterways and roadsides and habitat improvement for sportsmen and women. » Continue Reading.
A Paul Smith’s College professor has been named as the institution’s first International Paper Endowed Professor in Forestry Economics. Dr. Brett McLeod, professor of Natural Resource Management and Policy and 2003 graduate of Paul Smith’s, was honored with the distinction last week during a ceremony at the college.
The $500,000 endowment from International Paper will allow McLeod to continue his work in natural resource economics for the remainder of his career at Paul Smith’s College and could also help attract world-class professors to fill the position when he retires. » Continue Reading.
Almost every time I checked the game camera last summer – whether it was stationed near the compost, pointed into the field, or hidden at the edge of the woods – I found photos of one of our region’s most outwardly endearing creatures: the raccoon. With their black masks under perfect white eyebrows, their petite black noses, fuzzy ears, and fetchingly striped bushy tails, raccoons are certainly charming to look at. But that soft and cuddly exterior belies a fierce and highly intelligent disposition. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.
On September 18, ECO Keith Kelly received a complaint that a large black wolf mount was being offered for sale at the Adirondack Mountains Antiques Show in Indian Lake. Officer Kelly reported that he responded and observed the wolf on display without a price tag. After interviewing visitors at the show, Kelly says that he learned that the vendor was asking $2,500 for the mount. According to Kelly, the vendor could not produce any permits to possess the wolf and was issued a ticket for offering an endangered species for sale without a permit. The wolf was seized as evidence and will be forfeited if the vendor is found guilty of the charge. » Continue Reading.
On the north end of my home is a nest site favored by eastern phoebes. Every year a pair shows up, sets up house, and raises a family. They arrive early in the spring, and I spend the long days of spring and summer watching them. At some point, the nest empties out, and then I know that summer will soon end and the phoebes will be on their way.
But exactly when they will be on their way is hard to predict. Fall’s migration tends to be a more open-ended process compared to spring’s, when the urgency to reproduce drives birds to arrive in the Northeast during a relatively short window of time. There is an almost explosive quality to the arrival of songbirds in March and April. One day we wake to the usual quiet of winter, and then the next there is a riot of trilling, chirping, calling, and singing.
As summer winds down, however, the volume diminishes slowly. In August, I still wake to bird songs, but there are fewer voices; the chorus isn’t as frenetic and rich. » Continue Reading.
Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI’s) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation has invited the public to attend an Open House from 4-6 pm on Sunday, October 9, at the new Adirondack Loon Center at 47 Main St. in Saranac Lake. The Open House will be an opportunity for people to meet the staff of the Loon Center, and ask their most compelling loon questions. Refreshments will be served.
The Center houses a gift shop focused on loon-related items, from comical rubber loons to beautiful artwork and jewelry by Adirondack artisans. It also provides office space for the Center’s growing staff, including Audrey Hyson, store manager; Mike Lynch, communications specialist; Tim Flannery, store assistant; intern Kevin Williams; as well as Nina Schoch, the Loon Center’s coordinator and Martha Van der Voort, its education/outreach coordinator. » Continue Reading.