Things at Eight Acre Wood look about the same as they did last week, with only an inch of new snow to make the landscape white. That shows the critters who have been wandering around the yard. [Some of these include] several deer, a coyote, a fisher, a mink, an otter, a snowshoe hare, one turkey, several varieties of mice, a pine marten, a couple red squirrels, a flying squirrel, ravens, crows, and a Bald Eagle stopped by for a snack on the dam. Most of them also got caught on one of my trail cameras, as many of them are night travelers. In all my hikes, I thought I might even see a bear track, but I guess they are smarter than that. There is nothing for them to eat right now, so they better stay napping.
ADIRONDACKS – Forest Pest Hunter volunteer Bill Widrig has reported more than 300 forest pest survey observations, and he isn’t done yet. Widrig was among the first to join the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s Forest Pest Hunters effort when it began in 2021.
“Our property on the lake has old growth hemlock, some over 200 years old, that are very special to us,” Widrig said. “As hemlock woolly adelgid is a threat to these trees and all other hemlocks in the Northeast, I felt that I could not in good conscience just stand by and do nothing to help stop the spread of this pest.”
All are welcome to join the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program’s free virtual Women in Science winter speaker series. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and learn from scientists, community leaders, and environmental educators who work at the intersection of research, education, and environmental and social justice. Guests will also have a chance to engage in discussions about data literacy, sea level rise and sediment accumulation, wetland restoration, oysters, and field-based research.
Interested parties can choose to attend one or more of the following sessions: January 19, January 26, February 2, or February 9. All sessions run from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
To register for the winter speaker series, click here.
Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) is pleased to report that for the second time they have exceeded the $300,000 Challenge for the Future of Lake George presented by Manning and Virginia Rowan Smith.
This fantastic feat was reached thanks to 35 individuals who pledged to provide support to the LGLC in their estate planning. As a result, the Smiths have donated $300,000 to the Virginia Rowan Smith Endowment Fund, which provides annual support for important land conservation projects in the watershed.
The Challenge was presented to encourage those who support the protection of Lake George to join LGLC’s Land and Water Society through a pledge of planned giving. The LGLC’s legacy giving program has grown to 154 members.
Still no winter weather in sight. [There is a] combination of rain and snow in the forecast during the next week, so the snow dancers better get back in action. Out west, California is getting hammered for the last two weeks and more [is] coming today (January 9). Five inches of rain [is] forecast across most of the state, with four to five feet of snow in the mountains…they just can’t get a break. They had lots of flooding from the first two storms, and now this one on top will cause mudslides from areas bare from the forest fires.
Lake Placid, NY — ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) has been awarded a $80,709 Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) grant for septic system replacements at the Adirondak Loj.
Hosting the busiest trailhead in New York State, the Adirondak Loj is an important focal point for over 100,000 annual visitors as they come to experience the Heart Lake Program Center and explore the surrounding High Peaks Wilderness. For over 90 years, ADK has provided overnight accommodations, information, and other services at the Loj that have helped create a welcoming experience for visitors to the Adirondack Park.
Ruffed grouse hunters are reminded to positively identify their quarry before shooting. The Northern Zone, specifically Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 6F, and 6J, is also home to the spruce grouse. The spruce grouse is a state-endangered species and is not legal to hunt. Loss of a spruce grouse, particularly a female spruce grouse, could be a significant setback for a small local population.
Spruce grouse occur in lowland conifer forests in the Adirondacks. During the fall, spruce grouse frequently make their way to roads to eat gravel and occasionally travel into upland hardwood forests where ruffed grouse occur. Small game hunters in the Adirondack region must be able to distinguish between these species so that spruce grouse are not shot by mistake. For tips on how to discern the two species, view the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.
DEC is looking for ruffed grouse hunters to submit feathers from harvested birds in order to assess recruitment (number of young produced per adult female grouse) for different parts of the state. Interested hunters should visit the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.
Photo at top provided by the NYS DEC.
Our New Year’s weekend was a washout for sure, with rain and warmer temperatures taking a toll on what snow we had. What I see out my front window is mostly bare ground where there was over 18 inches of snow a week ago. I had a fisher and a coyote visit the deer carcass on the dam during daylight hours, which meant they were hungry. There were four Ravens and a pair of Bald Eagles waiting their turn in the treetops on the other side of the pond. Now that the snow is nearly gone, I haven’t seen any of them. I still have over fifty Evening Grosbeaks coming daily to the feeders, and the two White-Throated Sparrows are still sneaking seeds and hiding in the brush pile. There are still some new Black-Capped Chickadees coming to the feeders as I’ve banded almost twenty hatch-year birds in the last two weeks.
The Adirondack Interpretive Center at SUNY ESF’s Newcomb Campus has recently announced a lineup of winter activities such as guided snowshoeing excursions, bird walks, a winter tracking workshop, a Cross-Country Ski to Forestry Demonstration Cuts activity, and more. Please see below for details on each event. Interested parties may register for an event by clicking on the provided links.
Winter Bird Walk
Saturday January 7th, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Guest birder, Miok Salz, will start the morning identifying the winter finches visiting the AIC feeders. This will be followed by and easy snowshoe on the trails to look for more birds.
Snowshoes provided. Preregistration required – click here to register via email.
January 2, 2023 — Lake Placid, NY — Starting this Friday, January 6, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK’s) Cascade Welcome Center will be hosting free weekend nature and recreation programs throughout the winter season. Led by ADK naturalists, each program is open to all ages and aims to connect locals and visitors to the natural wonders of the Adirondacks.
Snowshoe rentals can be provided free of charge for all programs. Participants should come prepared with warm layers to spend at least an hour outside in subfreezing temperatures. Details about each program are listed below.
The first day of winter was very nice, but the next few days right through (and past) Christmas Day were wild in many parts of the country. The worst being right in our backyard in Buffalo where the snow is still falling and the wind [is] still blowing off Lake Erie. [It has been] reported that 55 people have died so far [as of December 26] as a result of the storm, many found dead in their snow-trapped cars and some [were found] out on the streets frozen to death.
The quick change in temperature from in the forties down to below zero in just a few hours and winds up to (and over) 70 MPH off the lake brought the snowfall of over five feet in some places again, and drifts of over 16 feet. Many people didn’t heed the warnings and they had to get out and do that last minute Christmas shopping, which could have been their last trip. We missed most of that here in the North Country, but just north of us in the Tug Hill area they had over four feet of snow, and it is still falling there as of this writing [December 26.]
North County winters pose a challenge to animals who choose to stay here, rather than migrate to warmer climates. Food is scarce. Many survive by sleeping. Well… not sleeping exactly. Hibernating.
Hibernation is a life-saving adaptation. Essentially, it’s the ability to reduce one’s energy needs when resources run low or become unavailable. Many warm-blooded animals would die of starvation if it wasn’t for their ability to hibernate.
Very Few Animals are ‘True’ Hibernators
The term hibernation is commonly applied to all types of winter dormancy. But ‘true’ hibernators enter hibernation at the same time every year, regardless of the outside temperature or availability of food. During ‘true’ hibernation, body temperature is lowered to slightly above that of the temperature in the animal’s lair. Respiration is reduced to just a few breaths per minute. Heartbeat becomes barely distinguishable.
You skiers and snowmobilers can stop praying for snow, because we have it. [Or at least,] enough to ski and snowmobile on. Looking at the temperatures [ahead,] the bottom is going to go out on the thermometer (except for one day [with temps in the] forties before Christmas with some rain.) [People are] paying more for heating fuel oil or propane, and I hear you can hardly even get kerosene. Not many people heat with kerosene anymore, but tractor trailer drivers cut their fuel with it to keep it from jelling in cold temperatures.
Another thing that must be jelling is some local septic tanks, as I see the Egan sewer pumper on the road around here most every day. If you just put a couple packets of yeast down the toilet when you leave it inactive for a few months (or even when you are using it regularly,) you shouldn’t have to call the pumper. The yeast keeps the system working perfectly. Mine hasn’t been pumped in 20 years of use. I heard that at the Fulton Chain of Lakes meeting thirty years ago, stated by a couple local sewer pumpers, Chip Sauer and Rick Hunkins. They had all the work they needed, and they were just trying to save some camp [owners] and homeowners a few bucks. The old wise tale was to throw in a road-killed cat or woodchuck to start the system working when you first put in your septic tank, but you don’t have to do that… just a packet of yeast will do the trick.
KEENE—In early December, over 25 Adirondack Garden Club (AGC) members and their guests gathered at the Whallonsburg Grange to decorate lovely evergreen wreaths, many intended for members’ homes but even more destined for those served by Families First in Elizabethtown, a countrywide agency that works with families facing mental health challenges. The Families First wreath-making program was created four years ago and has become a favorite project for AGC members.
Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation (ACLC) staff and volunteers joined together for the rescue effort on December 15
By Jennifer Denny, ACLC Communications Coordinator
On Wednesday, December 14 the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation received a report of an iced-in Common Loon on First Lake in the Town of Webb. Overnight the water froze further and the ice surrounding the loon thickened. While these changes might seem bad for the loon, the cold night made conditions safe for a rescue effort.
On Thursday, December 15, volunteers and staff from the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation went to rescue the loon early in the morning. The group included Cody Sears, Jay Locke, Gary Lee, Don Andrews, and Kurt Gardner.
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