Monday, February 14, 2022

Plan for a Better Spring: Selecting the right species of trees for your property

bur oak trees

Looking for a way to enhance property value, save energy costs, boost mental health, and help the planet in one simple, low-cost step? Yeah, me too. Let me know if you think of something. Seriously, though, a few well-placed trees in one’s yard typically add at least 5% to a property’s value. Having large older specimens (of trees, I mean) around the house can push that figure close to 20%. In terms of energy savings, deciduous trees on the southern and western sides of a house tend to slash cooling costs by roughly one-quarter.

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Monday, February 14, 2022

Be a ‘Snow Birder’ This Winter

grosbeaks

While the chilliest months of the year may seem like the hardest time to venture outdoors, it can be a great time to go birding. Layer up and head out to your backyard, local park, or other public space and observe some of the bird species that you may not normally see during warmer months. Winter raptors (PDF) including snowy owls (PDF)short-eared owls, barn owls, and hawks migrate south from the Canadian tundra and can be observed near open bodies of water and large grasslands. Some species of woodpeckers may be easier to hear or see in their winter homes. Black-capped chickadees remain in Northern climates due to their ability to survive the ultra-cold weather. Winter is also the best time to observe bald eagles!

Use a website like eBird to see what species have been detected near you. The free Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify unfamiliar birds and add even more new species to your lists.

If you do brave the cold and snow, properly preparing for winter conditions is essential for a more enjoyable and safe experience. Check out our latest YouTube video on layering for winter, and read up on some of our winter hiking safety tips that can be for any outdoor trip.

Stay tuned for future announcements on the New York State Birding Trail to find locations across the state to go birding.

Photo of grosbeaks by Randy Fredlund.


Kid next to water
Saturday, February 12, 2022

Finding fun after winter storm by snowshoeing, skiing, and analyzing animal tracks

The cold temperatures are back after a short day when they got above freezing just before the massive storm that crossed the country and hit us. Freezing rain and rain were predicted, but all I had here was twelve inches of snow which the snowblower ate for about three hours in order to clear the 950 feet of driveway. I cleared the bird feeders with the scoop first to get them something to eat and they flocked right in as the temperatures were dropping.

My feeding flock of birds hasn’t changed much in the last couple of weeks. I put some bands on a few of them, mostly blue jays caught in the potter trap. The most I’ve counted has been 14 to 16 jays at one time. However, I’ve banded over twenty of them in the last couple of weeks so some new ones may have moved into the feeders. I had a high count of 32 purple finches and 22 slate-colored juncos. I believe all the juncos are wearing bands, but only about ten of the purple finches have bands.

I know the birds went through forty pounds of sunflower seeds in less than two weeks. While much of that has been stored by the jays and the chickadees, the finches and juncos eat every seed they are able to get a hold of. The pair of tufted titmice have been regulars but only one of them is banded. Only a couple of American goldfinches have been hanging around and one common redpoll has been battling for places on the platform with the finches and jays. The sharp-shinned hawk came through early this morning and nailed another junco for a snack. In answer to someone who commented on my last column asking if I caught the hawk and banded it. I didn’t catch it, as I would have had to have the net up in order to catch this bird as it flies through.

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Thursday, February 10, 2022

Keeping a healthy habitat for grouse

ruffed grouse

By Suzanne Treyger

Bruce and Gail Cushing knew they had a diverse property before they started connecting with forestry professionals.

Located in Clemons, (Washington County), the Cushings’ 117 acres has a variety of mature tree species – maples, beech, birches, eastern hemlock, oaks, and some large shagbark hickory. Interspersed throughout the mature forest are openings of different sizes that are full of young, regenerating forest.

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Sunday, February 6, 2022

The Predator-Prey Relationship: An Intricate Balance

predator and preyPredator and prey is one of the most common type of relationships in the animal kingdom.  Animals need to survive and feed themselves, and for predators that occurs through them hunting smaller animals or prey.  Ecosystems are complex and diverse, with many levels and intricate relationships between organisms. Removing any level from an ecosystem disrupts a delicate balance that may have evolved over millions of years.

Populations rarely, if ever, live in isolation from populations of other species and in most cases, numerous species share a habitat. The interactions between these populations play a major role in regulating population growth and abundance. All populations occupying the same habitat form a community. The number of species occupying the same habitat and their relative abundance is known as species diversity.

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Saturday, February 5, 2022

NYS Bird Region 7 waterfowl count results, visit from a sharp-shinned hawk, and a fish tale

Well, winter stayed with us for another week. We got a few inches of snow nearly each day and it sure remained cold with temperatures some days not reaching above zero…with a wind to boot. They sure got hammered to the east of us with some places getting two feet of snow and wind speeds up to 99 mph. That will certainly pile up snow in places and bring in waves off the ocean just like a boom hurricane.

Then way down in Florida they had freezing temperatures, and it dipped to below 46 degrees for the first time in more than 10 years. Kathryn Ruscitto, View’s Board of Directors Chair, said the iguanas were cold and falling out of the trees. She said the public was being asked to collect these invasive species and take them to a veterinarian or wildlife rescue/rehabilitation center where they could be humanely euthanized. The low temperature at the Florida Keys International airport reached 46 degrees, breaking a record set more than 65 years ago.

My daughter, Erin, sent pictures of snow on the beach sand on Myrtle Beach, but she said there was not enough to make a snowman. It looks like we might finally get a good bit of snow during the week as a low front is creeping across the country and should reach us about mid-week. No predictions yet, but I may have to get out the snowblower for this one.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Beech Gone Wild: Raging Hormones

American beech

The American beech (Fagus grandifolia) has been slowly dying out for the last 140 years. As a result, beech saplings have overrun many woodlots, making them less diverse, less vigorous, and less valuable.

That’s right – beech decline has led to a beech proliferation so extreme that in some places they are a barrier to forest regeneration. I’d call this an oxymoron, but don’t want to insult the bovine community. Strategies do exist to address this problem, though.

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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.

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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.

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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 [email protected] 

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.’

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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.

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Kid next to water

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