For weeks now, the insects currently clustering in homes here in the North East, are tiny Fall visitors called Asian lady beetles. These little uninvited guests, ranging in color from red to orange and yellow with black and white markings, are swarming to homes in preparation for the Winter conditions to come. Both our native red ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are in the insect family Coccinellidae, and although they can look alike, they have very distinct behaviors. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look for a distinctive white “M” on the beetles’ heads.
Encountering a Lone Bear Cub in Autumn?
At Adirondack Wildlife, we are receiving one or two calls a day about reportedly orphaned bear cubs, and since we have experience with both wild and captive-bred bears, and since bear activity is very seasonal in nature, here is what we believe is happening. Black bear hibernation is not about the cooler temperatures of winter, but rather the availability of food.
While we humans tend to want to be slim and attractive, bears want to be as fat as possible to help them survive the winter months. Bears grow very thick coats to neutralize the cold, and they spend most of the Fall taking on as many calories as they can, building up their weight, and slowly metabolizing the excess weight over the winter months.
Canada Geese – Big Honkin’ Birds
Canada geese, often referred to as Canadian Geese, are the second largest waterfowl in North America. (The largest is the swan.) They’re also the most widely distributed, with a range that encompasses arctic, sub-arctic, and temperate regions in Alaska, Canada, all of the lower 48 states, and Mexico. They’re also found in Greenland, northern Europe, and parts of Asia. Introduced populations have established themselves in New Zealand.
Only the females are actually called geese. The males are known as ganders. And the young are goslings. A large group is called a flock. A flock on the ground is known as a gaggle. And geese flying in the characteristic V-formation are referred to as a wedge, team, or skein.
Cascade Welcome Center now open for inaugural winter season
November 14, 2022 — Lake Placid, NY — The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Cascade Welcome Center is now open for the winter season. A hub for visitor information and community-based recreation, the Center offers 12 miles of groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the winter months.
Grooming will begin as soon as there is enough snow on the ground. Once that happens, recreators will be able to enjoy trails that wind through dense woodland, along open wetlands, and past incredible views of surrounding high peaks. Many of these trails are rated as easy, making this a great area for first-time skiers, families, and those looking for a more relaxing trip.
Banding a Sharp Shinned Hawk unscathed, growing chestnut trees to help fight off blight
The weather remains more like September than November as temperatures have gotten up in the sixties several days now. We’ve had some hard frosts which has done in most of the greenery in the woods except some of the ferns that remain green all winter even under the snow. The deer have been working on the fern curls already since there is a lack of a mass crop of nuts of any kind. I saw where they were working on the black cherries that dropped from the trees just like eating nuts, but I don’t think the nutrient- or fat making-value is the same in the cherries as in the beech or acorn nuts.
DEC: Fall for Nest Boxes
Birdhouses are a simple addition to your yard that can provide nesting places for many kinds of birds and weeks of wildlife-watching opportunities. Cavity-nesters, like tree swallows, house wrens, blackcapped chickadees, Eastern bluebirds, wood ducks, and American kestrels, all use nest boxes. The type of birds you might attract depends on the size of the box and the nearby habitat; some birds prefer open fields while others prefer forests or wetlands.
Recent improvements in the texture and flavor of plant-based meat analogs have meat-lovers as well as vegetarians flocking to buy them. While it’s normal to think the quest for mouth-watering faux meat is a recent trend, it dates back almost a thousand years. According to first-hand written accounts, European religious and political leaders in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance period spent decades searching for meat substitutes. But Europe’s elite weren’t after mere Tofurkey or Boca Burgers. Their sights were set far beyond Beyond Meat in a hunt for living, breathing, meatless animals. In a strange twist, modern science has confirmed the existence of at least two such veggie-critters.
Taking a snack break as they fly south: Observing over 100 birds at feeders
Here it is the end of the month and there is still no snow on the ground, just a few flurries a couple times. I’ve seen two feet [of snow] on the opening day of Big Game Season 10/25 years ago. There was quite a backup of vehicles without chains trying to move in the Moose River Area. Ted Payne plowed all the roads with his pickup truck and his truck box full of sand. He took some extra gas that day, but got the job done. Another time, earlier in October, they were replacing the bridge over the Moose River.
A look back at this summer’s Maintain the Chain clean-up event
What started as a wholesome family tradition of cleaning up the area around their Fourth Lake camp has transpired into a widespread clean up event dubbed Maintain the Chain (MTC) that focuses efforts on the Fulton Chain of Lakes. In its inaugural year as a formal event in 2021, Maintain the Chain garnered support from the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association (FCLA), towns of Webb and Inlet, and the Sixth and Seventh Lakes Improvement Association, and partnered with the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI). The momentum continued for the 2022 event this past summer, Aug. 5-14, dates which coincided with Adirondack Water Week and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.
Winter is Coming: What are Bears Up To?
Late in the fall months, black bears are in the final stretch of hyperphagia (excessive eating) to ensure they have enough fat stored for the fast-approaching winter months. Some bears will search for food up to 20 hours a day! In years where food sources are less abundant, bears have been known to den-up as early as late October. During especially mild winters, bears may not formally den and will remain active throughout the winter if food sources like acorns or beechnuts are available. Typically bears will begin denning starting in November and through December.
Bear dens can be as simple as a depression on the forest floor, but typically are small cavities in trees or under brush piles. In New York, bears have been known to den under residential porches or other outbuildings. Den sites are typically dry and afford protection from the elements during the long winter season.
Photo at top by Pete Patrick. Photo provided by the DEC.
New signs installed around Mirror Lake describe ecosystem, challenges, & protection efforts
WILMINGTON, NY — Pedestrians along popular lakeside routes in the Village of Lake Placid will find four new interpretive signs describing the Mirror Lake ecosystem, challenges to it, and protection efforts underway. The Ausable River Association (AsRA), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute partnered to design and produce the four educational signs.
The colorful and accessible signs provide information on the aquatic food web, the watershed, road salt impacts, and monitoring efforts on Mirror Lake. Jon Stetler of RPI developed the idea for the signs working with AsRA’s staff. They were designed by Andre Guilbo and produced with funds from the National Science Foundation through RPI and from the Lake Champlain Basin Program and NEIWPCC through AsRA.
An Adirondack fall: Saw Whet Owls, ladybugs, and deer hunting
The coldest morning so far (at 24 degrees) did in my dahlias, which had several blooms still trying to come out. I covered my toad lilies and saved them for a few more blooms, then cut them off and brought them inside where they are blooming in water on the windowsill. The warm spell over the weekend sure hatched out the ladybugs. There were hundreds trying to get in somewhere to spend the winter on the sunny side of the house and garage. They get under the edges of my windows, and I find them when I release one of my banded birds out the window.
Adirondack 46ers support ADK with donations for trail, stewardship projects
October 24, 2022 — Lake Placid, NY — For the twenty-second consecutive year, the Adirondack 46ers have pledged support for ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew by announcing a $58,500 donation to fund trail projects in the High Peaks Wilderness for the 2023 season. This is in addition to a 2020 commitment to donate $25,000 a year to ADK for the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program through 2023.
The Adirondack 46ers have been a consistent supporter of trail work in the Adirondack Park for many years, including investing over $500,000 in ADK’s trails program over the last two decades. Their commitment to supporting trail projects has also scaled with increases in visitor use, with around $400,000 of that support coming over the last decade when visitation has been the highest.
Hiking with Grandma Beth: A roundup of fall hikes & walkabouts
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Photographing Election Day eclipse, banding over 100 American Goldfinches
Clocks are all set back an hour, so that sunset comes earlier now. If you are out and about it is always good to have a headlamp or flashlight in your pack, and not rely on using your cell phone light to get out of the woods. So many this summer have been stuck on a trail somewhere because they ran out of light. Plan your hike or hunt, so that you can get out of the woods before dark. The eclipse of the moon on Election Day morning was very nice. I saw it start to cover the moon a little after 3 a.m., and by 4 a.m. the moon had a pretty orange glow. I went down to Fourth Lake to take photos, as it was too low in the sky to get them at Eight Acre Wood. The wind was a little nasty coming off the lake, so I stood behind the car door to take the photos through the big pines at the Inlet beach (as the state boat launch is still closed off.)
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