Freshwater mussels are not exactly charismatic. They don’t flit gracefully about like a Karner blue butterfly, or munch on clover like a cottontail. They aren’t known for their sweet songs like a wood thrush, and they don’t close down traffic on the first rainy night of spring like spotted salamanders. They are fish parasites at one stage of their lives, and they don’t even taste good like their saltwater cousins. » Continue Reading.
Lupine is one of the most spectacular flowers of early summer, painting long stretches of roadside with shades of purple and blue. Thanks to this tall, showy plant, even a stop-and-go drive to Boston’s Logan Airport has its moments of beauty (as I recently had occasion to observe). Full sun and dry, sandy soil are just right for lupine.
Although many people don’t know it, the lupine we typically see in the Northeast is “not from around here.” It’s a non-native plant that was imported to eastern gardens from parts of the western U.S. and escaped cultivation. Our native lupine is similar, but it is seen far less often and is, unfortunately, in regional decline. » Continue Reading.
On early summer nights I sometimes see large, pale green moths with long, twisted tails fluttering near our porch light. Later, I often find them dead on the ground. These beautiful moths are luna moths, named for the Roman goddess of the moon. Each of their four wings has a transparent, moon-shaped eyespot.
The luna moth (Actias luna) is one of the largest species of moths in North America, with a wingspan of three to four inches. It inhabits deciduous forests, where its green wings blend in among the leaves. » Continue Reading.
It’s hard to be cheerful in a job where I am expected to keep up on each newly arrived or imminent threat from invasive insects, novel plant diseases, and worrisome trends in the environment. Although I typically deflate everyone’s happy-bubble when I give a talk, I’ve discovered we need not fret that the sky is going to fall.
The National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) is a joint effort of research institutions, government agencies and nonprofit groups; their mission is to monitor stuff which falls to Earth that is not some form of water. Since one of the NADP’s tasks is to study tiny particles of pollutants in the air, they will certainly notice if the sky starts to fall, and give us ample time to take cover. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) charged an Allegany man with multiple violations in connection with an ongoing investigation into the illegal possession and sale of wildlife, resulting in what they say is the largest seizure of illegal reptiles in New York State history.
Several of the animals seized were threatened species or species of special concern. » Continue Reading.
Anglers returning from the waters of Lake Champlain at Shelburne Bay have reported large quantities of invasive fishhook waterflea fouling their gear.
Boat launch stewards with the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) noted this week that nearly all fishing boats returning to the Shelburne Bay and Converse Bay launches had downriggers infested with the tiny organisms. LCBP stewards removed, treated, and disposed of the fishhook waterfleas. The alarming news for anglers and lake ecology comes during the busy holiday period of Canada Day on July 1 and the July 4th holiday in the U.S. » Continue Reading.
New York Sea Grant is reminding the public to be informed about harmful algal blooms (HABs), how to avoid exposure of oneself and pets, and where to report potential HABs.
In a statement to the press, Jesse Lepak, Ph.D., Great Lakes Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist with New York Sea Grant said: “Not all algal blooms are harmful, but some dense populations of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can produce toxins that can have serious effects on liver, nervous system, and skin of humans and their pets.” » Continue Reading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Consider 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.
Have 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.
The 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.
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