Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lost Brook Dispatch: You Moose Be Kidding

Moose At Helldiver Pond by John WarrenIt is possible that in a past column or two I might have made reference to my mother-in-law; further it is possible that in said reference or references there might have been a maligning whiff in the air. Believe not a word of it! She is a shining paragon of virtue, a sweet, pleasant creature of generous heart, evocative of nothing so much as a gentle summer breeze.

It’s my father-in-law Howard who is the problem. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Hudson River’s Mysterious Frazil Ice

Frazel Ice - Bob Duncan PhotoThat fascinating and puzzling form of river ice, frazil, has finally backed up in the Hudson River from Thurman to The Glen (on Route 28) for the first time this winter.  In the old days, 30 years ago, frazil started floating down the river by late November, collecting and backing up to The Glen by mid-December.  This year it had barely started collecting until around Christmas, and then it all washed out when there was a warm spell with rain.  But now, all the recent cold weather has done its job.  Also called “slush ice” (and by natives around here “anchor ice”), frazil is the brilliant white stuff that forms the white canyons you can often see from The Glen bridge in early spring.  It looks like the Arctic! » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Adirondack Birds: The Black-Backed Woodpecker

Picoides_arcticus_-Brunswick,_Vermont,_USA_-male-8Wilderness forests serve as havens to many species of wildlife, especially those attracted to stands of old, dying and dead trees. While some people view areas of rotting timber as a breeding ground for tree disease and destructive, wood-boring insects, as well as a source of fuel for fire during periods of exceptionally dry weather, other individuals note that such sites create favorable conditions for many unique forms of life.

Among those creatures attracted to places cluttered with recently fallen logs, where frequent stands of damaged, dying and partially rotted timber jut through a broken canopy, is the black-backed woodpecker. This hardy bird is a year-round resident of the Park, inhabiting areas where old, sick, weakened and dead trees, especially conifers, abound. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lake Champlain Salmon Restoration Update

ChamplainSalmonOfficials from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation have announced that 2014 assessment results show continued gains in the Lake Champlain landlocked Atlantic salmon fishery restoration program.

The three groups, which work together on restoration efforts as the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative, reported to the press a number of highlights from recent evaluation activities that indicate further improvement to the lake’s salmon population. One primary indicator is the strength of annual spawning runs – which produced several record or near-record numbers in 2014.  Some of the key data includes: » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Adirondack Snowshoe Hares in Winter

TOS_HareHomeFor the past 14 years, my Winter Ecology students and I have spent a lot of time outdoors, studying the preferred habitat features and winter foods of snowshoe hares. We’re likely to find hare tracks hopping in and around lowland conifers near wetland edges, and then again at higher elevations, where the forest transitions into fir, birch, and spruce. Where we won’t find them, at least not very often, is in broad bands of open, leafless hardwood. On the rare occasions that we find tracks in this habitat, they have almost always been single strands of widely spaced prints – suggesting an animal that’s really moving! » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fish and Wildlife Service May Weaken Bat Protections

northern long-eared bat in Illinois with symptoms of white-nose syndromeThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed weakening protections for the northern long-eared bat by reducing its stats from “endangered” to “threatened”. Advocates for endangered species say FWS has included a special rule aimed at conceding to pressure from industries and politicians critical of the Endangered Species Act.

The less-protective proposal comes despite the fact that the bat, which has been decimated by the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, has already declined by up to 99 percent in the Northeast. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Blobs on Ice: Jelly Fungi Add Color to Winter

RSCN5706They look like blobs of shiny tar, a melted lollipop, or a crayon left in the sun too long. They come in vivid colors from orange to yellow to white to black to pinkish. They have a disconcerting ability to mimic human body parts, such as ears and tongues, with Daliesque artfulness.

Jelly fungi.

They got their name because their tissues have the texture and consistency of, well, jelly. In some cases it’s more like rubber. The various species often carry imaginative common names: witch’s butter, snow fungus, jelly ear. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adventures in Snow Shoveling

BuscoPlowAdkAlmAbout a year ago on these pages, I shared a secret “illness”—snow shoveling—that has been with me since childhood. Besides the interesting and very funny comments that followed on Adirondack Almanack, personal emails arrived from those similarly afflicted. I did mention that more would come in the future, so here goes. Shoveling and keeping a 1500-foot path open for a decade of winters was the highlight of last year’s piece. That probably can’t be topped, but there is more insanity to report. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mystery Middens: Red Squirrels In Winter

TOS_squirrelIn the woods behind our house, there’s a pile of cones and gnawed apart bracts – easily two feet deep and twice as wide – built against the trunk of a tall hemlock. We’ve watched over consecutive winters – when the newly discarded bracts stand out against the snowy white backdrop – as the heap continues to expand.

This pile, called a midden, is the work of a single red squirrel. Red squirrels are active year round and generally easy to spot – and even easier to hear as they scold passersby in their high, chattering voice. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Habitat Preserved For Rare Butterflies

9547454135_a755c9e431_oNational Grid has set aside five acres in Queensbury as a conservation easement for the rare Karner blue and frosted elfin butterflies.

The property is expected to support these butterflies by providing habitat for breeding, feeding, sheltering and range expansion. The land will serve as a dedicated butterfly preserve adjacent to an existing electric transmission line right-of-way owned and operated by National Grid, near Upper Sherman Avenue. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DEC To Modify Dam For Spawning Salmon

Imperial DamBig changes are planned for the Imperial Dam on the Saranac River in Plattsburgh.

On Friday, the state Department of Conservation announced that it is taking comments on a plan to modify the dam, which is located a few miles upstream of Lake Champlain. The proposal calls for decreasing the height of the spillway by 8.5 feet and constructing a concrete fish ladder on the left bank, or northern side, of the dam, which the DEC owns. The other side is privately owned. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How Ice Storms Impact Trees

TOS.treesandiceIce storm.

If you live in northern New England, those words can send a chill up your spine. They portend demolition derbies on the roads, power outages and the ominous cracking sound of limbs breaking and trees falling in woods, parks and urban streets.

Snow we’re up for. Ice, not so much. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Environmental Conservation Police Hunting Season Report

ecoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) ticketed numerous poachers for violating hunting and firearm laws and regulation during the big game hunting season in DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack Park.

ECOs charged 152 individuals with a total of 270 total charges. The charges included 91 misdemeanors and 179 violations. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Meadow Vole in Winter

meadow voleNew Years is a time when many people contemplate shedding those extra pounds gained between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For numerous forms of wildlife, late autumn through winter can be a protracted season of weight loss, however, this is the result of shortages of food during these bleak months, rather than any conscious effort to become trim.

For the meadow vole, a weight loss phase of its life begins in mid autumn, causing this common rodent to lose more than a quarter of its body mass. This natural reduction in the intake of food is triggered by a specific decrease in the amount of daylight, known as photoperiodism, and typically occurs regardless of the availability of items to eat. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 5, 2015

DEC Seeks Input on Threatened Species

Atlantic Sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrhynchus from artwork commissioned by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1970'sThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is revising its list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), which includes species that are at risk in New York.  The list is now in it’s final draft form and DEC is seeking comments. » Continue Reading.


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