Tuesday, February 1, 2022

DEC and Partners Launch Adirondack Moose Research Project

mooseThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the start of a new moose research project in the Adirondack region. This winter, 14 moose were fitted with GPS collars as part of a multi-year project assessing moose health and population. To safely capture, collar, and monitor these animals, DEC partnered with researchers at the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), and Native Range Capture Services.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Frigid temps, Northern Shrike encounters and fishing derbies

We finally had a whole week of winter weather with very little snow, but temperatures were in the single digits during
the day and way below zero at night. Our low here at Eight Acre Wood was -28 degrees one morning and -25 degrees
another morning. It was pretty zippy cold when I went out to feed the birds at sunup. The birds were all sitting on their feet trying to eat in that position. The blue jays had a tough time doing this and they tried to open sunflower seeds between their toes. Their numbers have increased as they haven’t been able to find a beechnut in a few weeks. The little birds stay out of their way as they know a blue jay is capable of having them for breakfast just like a sunflower seed if given the chance.

I did have a predatory bird, a northern shrike, come in this week. It tried to catch one of my slate-colored Juncos that was in my potter trap. The other three doors were down so I went out and opened them. Not wanting to let a meal go by, the shrike came right back and went in another compartment to get at the Junco who was just hunkered down to keep from being caught. The door went down behind it, and I had the shrike. I let the banded Junco go unharmed. This is the fifth shrike I’ve caught here at Eight Acre Wood in the potter trap trying to get at another trapped bird.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 29, 2022

Adirondack Experience to offer free Creative February—Painting Demonstration on Feb. 28 via Zoom

Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, is pleased to offer a free Creative February—Daily Painting Demonstration featuring artist Takeyce Walter on Monday, February 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. via Zoom.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District accepting orders for Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale

As we journey through the winter season, those with the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District (WCSWCD) wish to remind residents that it is time to think Spring! Each year, the WCSWCD offers a tree and shrub seedling sale to interested landowners throughout Warren County.

The annual tree and shrub seedling sale features low-cost bare root trees, shrubs, wildflower seeds and more, including  a number of new items this year such as White Birch, White Oak, American Cranberry, Black Cherry and Cherry trees. The WCSWCD coordinates this program so landowners can take advantage of a bulk buying opportunity to improve the landscape around their property.

 

Buying young bare root seedlings is a small investment that has several benefits:

  • Provide a beneficial habitat for wildlife
  • Encourage pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and more
  • Help stabilize and reduce soil erosion
  • Improve water quality in Warren County
  • Beautify areas in the community

Beyond the tree and shrub seedlings, participants can also order fruit trees, conservation packs, tree shelters, bluebird, bat and wood duck houses, wildflower seed mixes, deer plot seed mix and upland game bird seed mixes. Interested parties may review this year’s order form, which includes descriptions of this year’s available items, information on how to improve planting techniques and soil health, an alert about forest pests called Hemlock Woolly Adelgids, and more, here: 2022 Seedling Sale Order Form.

Orders are due by Wednesday, March 9 and the order pickup date is slated for Friday, April 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Any questions related to this program, species selection, or planting ideas may be directed to the WCSWCD office by calling (518) 623-3119 or by emailing Maren Stoddard at marenalexander@nycap.rr.com. 

For more information about the sale, please visit https://warrenswcd.org/tree-and-shrub-program/.

The mission of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is to protect and improve the lakes, rivers, streams, soils and other natural resources of Warren County through locally-led conservation projects and programs.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Winter Birding Weekend in Long Lake

Red Crossbill bird, part of winter birding weekend Enjoy a weekend of birding events this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29-30 in Long Lake.  Participants will look for winter irruptive species – Red Crossbills have already irrupted – along with Winter Finches, White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, and American Goldfinches. These species have been found gritting (eating sand and salt off the road to help with seed digestion), and foraging on cones.

Trip Leader and Birding expert, Joan Collins, will lead field trips on both days.  Both Saturday and Sunday morning, participants will meet outside the Adirondack Hotel at 1245 Main St., Long Lake at 7 a.m. Located near the bridge over Long Lake on Route 30. Participants must take their own vehicles for this event.

Trip Leader Joan Collins, President of Adirondack Avian Expeditions & Workshops, LLC, leads birding trips year-round, is a New York State licensed guide, an Adirondack 46er, and has climbed all the Adirondack fire tower peaks. She is a past President of the New York State Ornithological Association and current Editor of New York Birders. She is a past Board of Directors member of the Audubon Council of New York State, and past President of Northern New York Audubon Society. Joan has published several journal, magazine, and newspaper articles on wildlife and conservation topics in various publications. She authored several warbler species accounts, in addition to serving as a peer reviewer for The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. Joan is a frequent keynote speaker and teaches classes on ornithology topics.

Registration is required to attend the field trips and the field trips are free.  Call the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department at 518-624-3077 to pre-register.  There is a maximum of 25 participants for each field trip.

The Winter Birding Weekend is sponsored by the Long Lake Parks and Recreation Department. For more info visit mylonglake.com

 


Monday, January 24, 2022

Enjoying Winter 

There’s no getting around winter. So you might as well get into it. Right?  Enjoy a good book, binge-watch Netflix, savor warm drinks, and cozy up beside the wood stove or fireplace for hours with your music (and your sweetie).

But, being active and getting outside are vital for our health. And most northern New Yorkers will tell you that access to year-round outdoor recreation is a bonus; one of the blessings that comes with living here. We have the Adirondack Park, along with many other local and state parks, forests, waterways, recreation areas, and trail systems that make the region attractive and accessible to families and friends who enjoy getting outside together. Unless it’s dangerously cold, winter weather is no reason to stay indoors.

For kids, winter is the season of snowballs, snow forts, snowmen, snow sculptures, snow angels, sledding, tobogganing, tubing, ice skating, and fat (tire) biking. And for families and friends, there’s snowmobiling, downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking, winter camping, dog sledding, ice fishing, and winter carnivals.

If you live in northern New York, you live in the middle of, or at least near, some of the best outdoor recreation in the east. In fact, outdoor winter recreation is a rich part of the region’s heritage and a vitally powerful and sustainable economic engine that supports local businesses and contributes to healthy local communities.

So, put on your long johns, layer up (consider several high-quality, moisture-wicking layers), and grab a warm coat, hat, boots, perhaps a scarf, and a well-insulated pair of toasty gloves or mittens. Because, as I’ve heard it said, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

On getting outside in negative temps and how the birds are coping

ice on treesEditor’s note: We are pleased to start offering this new weekly column from retired forest ranger Gary Lee.

This week was a little more like winter should be, with snow a few days and very cold a few others. Tuesday was a bear about dark a light rain was falling with the temperature on twenty-eight which instantly froze on anything it hit and some of that was on my windshield. I didn’t get five hundred feet down the road and my windshield was a blank screen.

I pulled over and let it warm up some, but it was covered instantly when I started to move again. I had to use windshield washer fluid to keep it so I could see. I called my wife Karen at the library to tell her that things were being coated extremely fast and be careful on her way home. I told her about the windshield washer trick which she used all the way home. That ice coated the trees making them all shiny when the sun came out, but it also put an eighth-inch of ice on top of the snow which was just like glass.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

When considering birds, winter is ideal time for forest management

white-throated sparrow

By Zack Boerman

While it’s common for forest management activities to be carried out year round, seasons are an important consideration when working with birds.

In the summer, for example, you’ll easily notice if your forest is well-shaded by a large mature canopy, resulting in bare ground underneath. In this scenario, birds that need shrubs and small trees growing on the forest floor, like Ruffed Grouse and Black-throated Blue Warbler, may be absent.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District announces 2022 Tree and Shrub Sale

Herkimer County tree and shrub saleHerkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD) staff are pleased to announce that the organization’s annual tree and shrub sale, an earned income program held in the spring, is currently underway. The Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for trees, shrubs, and other items through Monday, March 25. This year, the group is bringing back many popular species along with a few new items for guests to consider. Available for planting this spring are low-cost bare root evergreen seedlings and transplants, deciduous trees, a variety of bushes and shrubs, semi-dwarf apple trees, and wildflower seeds. Grown by private commercial nurseries, these plants provide an economical source of conservation landscaping materials, windbreaks, and quantities for reforesting.

Also available are bluebird nest boxes and rain barrels. Among the many planting accessories being offered are tree mats and tree shelters, hardwood stakes, compost, fertilizer tablets and animal repellent. The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for landowners to continue toward improving their property by providing a variety of programs and services, one of which is the Tree and Shrub Program. Offering these trees, shrubs and plants helps support conservation planting projects, wildlife enhancement, erosion control and windbreak development needs throughout the area. 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Wild Center adds snowshoeing, kicksledding, and ice fishing to winter programming, continues to host Wild Lights exhibit

The Wild Center has recently announced a few additions to its winter programming including free snowshoe and kicksled rentals, guided ice fishing on its Greenleaf Pond and three ice sculptures which have been arranged around the campus. These experiences – and more – are available Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with timed ticket reservations.

The Wild Center continues to host its Wild Lights exhibit presented by Merrill L. Thomas, Inc. on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. when the 115-acre campus is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of dazzling lights. During the week of February 18- 26, The Wild Center will be open every day and will remain open in the evenings for guests to enjoy the Wild Lights exhibit.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

DEC to Continue River Otter Surveys

otter tracksHave you ever seen a river otter in New York? Prior to the 1990s, river otter were absent from most of central and western New York. That all changed between 1995–2001, when DEC worked with trappers and other groups to reintroduce 279 otter to 16 different sites in central and western parts of the state.

To evaluate the success of this effort and to gain a better understanding of otter populations throughout New York, DEC staff conducted over 2,000 winter sign surveys across the state in 2017 and 2018. During these surveys, biologists and technicians looked for otter tracks, latrines, and other signs of otter presence on the landscape. These surveys found that otter were well-established across the entire state and could be found in almost all suitable habitat!

This winter, DEC staff are repeating the winter sign surveys. We will compare the results to the previous surveys, allowing us to get a better idea of otter population trends and help us better guide otter management into the future.

How You Can Help

In addition to the survey data, DEC collects public sighting data for river otter and other furbearer species. If you have seen an otter, fisher, bobcat, weasel, marten, or snowshoe hare in Upstate New York (or otter, beaver, gray fox, weasel, mink, coyote, or skunk in Long Island/NYC), we encourage you to report your sighting.

Photo: River otter tracks and slides in the snow.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Synthetic Photosynthesis

Every so often, an obscure technical innovation really lights me up. In mid-October of this year, a team of German scientists published a report on their work injecting tadpole noggins with algae. This enabled the tiny brains (of amphibians, not researchers) to photosynthesize when exposed to light, flooding neurons with oxygen and rendering the frog-babies more intelligent. Or at least not brain-dead, which those tadpoles were before being converted to plant-imals. 

In an October 13, 2021 entry in the journal iScience, lead author Hans Straka of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich explained that he’d been happily noodling along, measuring how much oxygen that an African clawed frog tadpole brain uses. He doesn’t elaborate on why he was doing this, but I’m guessing it was simply because he found someone nerdy enough to underwrite his efforts. 

The fun part began when Dr. Straka had lunch – and maybe a few drinks, from the sound of it – with a botanist, and a crazy-cool science experiment was born. In Straka’s own words, “For many people, it sounds like science fiction, but after all, it’s just the right combination of biological schemes and biological principles.” Pretty sure this idea was decidedly scheme-heavy, at least to start out. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Helping Birds Survive the Winter 

Carolina wrens on snowmanAs winter sets in across the North Country, devoted bird-enthusiasts resume feeding overwintering birds. They take both pleasure and pride in helping their feathered friends survive the harsh winter months, by dutifully providing them with food, water, and shelter.

Feeding birds during the winter can be a never-ending source of entertainment and enjoyment. And an easy, rewarding, and sometimes surprising way to connect with nature. No matter where you live, you can invite birds into your yard and help to ensure their survival by simply putting food out for them to find.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 3, 2022

Fungal Homes: Much Room, No Mushrooms

shiitake mushroom

For some reason, mushrooms have spawned more than their fair share of puns. As a kid I learned that they’re all fun-guys, and that the only rooms you can’t enter in a house are mushrooms. The last one might not work these days, as entire buildings are now being made of fungus.

Given that mold inside our homes can make us ill, you wouldn’t think that being surrounded by the stuff would be a great idea. But just like so many other things in life, “it depends.” As a building material, fungus is cheap, ubiquitous, and a renewable resource. But that’s not the best part. By dry weight, walls made of fungus are stronger than concrete and have better insulation value than polyurethane foam. They are weather-proof, practically non-combustible, and oddly enough, resist getting moldy. 

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 11, 2021

Boughs of Holly 

holly

Deck the Halls 

    Deck the halls (with boughs of holly). It’s a fun-to-sing Christmas song (with its fa-la-la refrain) and perhaps one of the most widely recognized and most-often caroled.

    First published in 1881, the song is generally believed to be American in origin, although the author remains unknown. The music, however, (or should I say the tune) dates back to 16th Century Wales and a song titled Nos Galan, which means New Year’s Eve. Some people associate the music for Nos Galan with a duet for violin and piano by Mozart, and / or a piece written for voice and piano with violin and cello composed by Haydn.

    Interestingly, an early calendar in the Church of Rome described Christmas Eve as templa exornantur; churches are decked.

» Continue Reading.