Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed a little before 5 a.m. to meet up with Explorer intern Francesca Krempa to see if we could catch a glimpse of a moose in the early dawn hours.
Francesca is working on a story about the health and size of the moose population, and in these pandemic times, she had been unable to find a biologist or guide to go out into the field on a moose survey.
One of the most amazing activities in a honeybee’s lifetime is rarely seen by humans and occurs by the workings of numerous architect-minded, honeycomb-building, wax-producing bees.
Building comb is a multi-skill effort, involving bees strung from comb to comb like a tapestry of lacework, hanging together leg to leg in sheets between the frames to build new comb in a process called “festooning.” While festooning, bees measure the open space, create blueprints for future comb, act as self-made scaffolding, promoting stretching of the abdomen which aids in wax production.
Although the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb (run by SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry) has been closed, the team there has produced a video series called “Newcomb Naturalist Notes.” They produced five episodes this summer, with more planned in the future. Click the links below to learn more about:
Do you notice any potential cause for concern such as off-color leaves, new fungal growth, or cavities?
If you have concerns, you may want to contact a certified arborist or tree service. Checking in with your trees periodically and noticing any unusual changes is the first step in making sure they can continue to help our Earth for years to come.
Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s (APIPP) final Summer Learning Event is right around the corner, and this topic may be of interest to a wide array of anglers, gardeners, hikers, and foresters alike. Invasive jumping worms are a creepy crawly creature coming our way from other parts of the state with destructive consequences for forest habitats among other environments.
Spread by human activities from being used as live bait during fishing trips, to being carried on shoes and pets within dried mud, or brought into gardens in potted plants and compost – these voracious decomposers damage soil structure, root systems, and negatively impact forest habitats. They are present in many other parts of New York State, but limited in the Adirondack Region, and our hope is to keep it that way by growing awareness!
Title: Emerging Species – Watch Out for Jumping Worms
2020 has been a boom year for the Gypsy moth caterpillar, and the Department of Environmental Conservation has been receiving reports of unusually high Gypsy moth populations and leaf damage in several parts of New York State.
Gypsy moths are not native to New York, but they are naturalized into the eco-system, meaning that they will always be in our forests. They tend to have a population spike every 10 to 15 years, but it is usually offset by predators, disease, and other natural causes. The caterpillars are beginning to disappear now as they transition into the next cycle of their lives and become moths.
One year of defoliation is probably nor going to kill your trees, but over the course of a couple years it typically leads to tree death. The DEC will be monitoring Gypsy moth caterpillar populations to predict whether a major defoliation should be expected.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society presents a free public program titled “Mapping the Adirondacks” at the Hancock House, 6 Moses Circle, Ticonderoga on Friday, Aug. 21 at 7pm.
“Mapping the Adirondacks” will kick off the museums latest exhibit, which features more than 18 military, political, and romantic maps from its collection, some of which are being shown for the first time.
Pete Nelson, writer, lecturer and history buff will be presenting the program. His articles regularly appear in numerous regional publications (including the Almanack) and he teaches mathematics and history at North Country Community College. Currently he is writing a book on early Adirondack Surveyors, a passion which merges his love for both history and mathematics.
There are three vultures in the United States: the California Condor, the Turkey Vulture, which has the widest range, extending from Canada down into South America, and the Black Vulture, the smallest of the three.
If I wanted to observe black vultures 25 years ago, I went to the Everglades or the Texas Gulf Coast. About 15 years ago, I began seeing black vultures in swampy areas of northern New Jersey, and, with warming climate, they’re now showing up in the southern Adirondacks.
On August 2, ECO LaPoint responded to a residence in the town of Hague, Warren County, for a report of a trapped timber rattlesnake at residence where a family was vacationing. Upon arriving at the home, ECO LaPoint located the snake outside trapped under a tote. Using snake tongs issued by DEC, along with a cloth bag and bucket lid, he safely secured the rattlesnake in the bucket and removed it from the premises.
ECO LaPoint transported the rattlesnake to DEC’s Green Island maintenance facility where it was temporarily held until it could be released to a suitable location. Timber rattlesnakes are a threatened species in New York. For more information visit DEC’s website.
ECO LaPoint with a timber rattlesnake in Warren County/DEC photo
Metamorphosis is a process in which animals undergo extreme, rapid physical changes that occur within a particular time after birth. The result of metamorphosis may be a change to the organism’s entire bodily makeup, such as a change in the animal’s number of legs, its means of eating, or its means of breathing. Metamorphosis is also required for sexual maturity, as pre-metamorphic members of specific species are typically unable to mate or reproduce.
This process is undergone by most insects. Animals that undergo metamorphosis include fish, mollusks, and many other types of sea creatures which are related to insects, mollusks, or fish.
Metamorphosis is a miraculous process. The speed and extent of cell growth and differentiation is astonishing. The process of metamorphosis involves a re-activating of genes that allow animal cells to change from one cell type to another, and is triggered by hormones, which the animal’s body releases as conditions for metamorphosis approach. These hormones cause drastic changes to the functioning of cells, and even behavioral changes such as the caterpillar becoming a chrysalis.
The DEC’s Forest Health Team has seen great success in preventing the southern pine beetle from destroying the pine barrens of Long Island. (Visit this link for more information). If you live on Long Island or the Hudson Valley, be sure to keep your eyes open for signs of the southern pine beetle, which is active and flying around now. Some common signs of this beetle include a group of pine trees with needles yellowing at the same time, pitch tubes or popcorn-shaped clumps of resin on the tree’s bark extending all the way up the tree, and tiny scattered holes on the bark of a tree.
It is not yet established whether the southern pine beetle is in the Hudson Valley, and the DEC asks for help in finding any potential infestations early in order to keep it this way.
If you have seen any signs or suspect and activity in either of these regions of New York, please submit a report of your findings to NY iMapInvasives on their free mobile app, or their online system, available for viewing here.
Every creature plays a role in maintaining the balance in nature. Turkey vultures in particular have an important job. They are “carrion” eaters, which means they scavenge the remains of dead animals.
We often see them overhead, their broad v-shaped, five to six foot wingspan teetering effortlessly from side-to-side on rising thermals, like a kite in a gentle breeze, using their keen eyesight and highly developed sense of smell to locate the carcasses of recently deceased animals.
Dr. Janet Mihuc is a biologist who specializes in entomology, which is the study of insects. She is a professor at Paul Smiths College in their Natural Sciences Department where she teaches courses in entomology, aquatic invertebrates, invertebrate zoology, and guides senior students’ research for their capstone projects. For several years she has been building a checklist of the moth species present on Paul Smith’s College lands. She served as the Director of Project Silkmoth, a citizen science project designed to document sightings of giant silk moths in northern New York State. She holds a Doctor of Arts in Biology from the Idaho State University.
National Moth Week is an international citizen science project. It runs July 18-26 this year.
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