Posts Tagged ‘Birding’

Monday, October 1, 2012

Adirondack Wildlife: Osprey Exit the Park

As the temperatures in the many lakes and ponds that dot the Adirondacks begin to cool, the fish inhabitants of these waterways start to spend more of their time at greater depths. While this change in the routine of these gilled vertebrates impacts the way late season anglers pursue them, it also affects the life of our region’s most effective surface fish predator – the osprey.

With its 4 to 5 foot wing span and 2 foot long body, the osprey is a bird that is difficult to overlook as it soars over a picturesque mountain lake, or perches on the limb close to the shore of a pristine pond. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Native Adirondack Wetlands:
Cardinal Flower And Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

ruby-throated hummingbird and cardinal flowerThere is nothing like the scarlet red color of a cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, in bloom along a stream bank or lakeshore right now in late summer.  If you have been out and about in the last month or so, paddling, boating, or hiking, you might have been lucky enough to happen upon this stunning beauty during your outing.

Besides being one of my favorite flowers, it is also a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird. And while as many as 19 species of plants found in the Eastern US have probably  co-evolved with hummingbirds, the cardinal flower is the most well-known.  The range of the ruby-throated hummingbird and the cardinal flower are very similar, demonstrating how closely the two are linked. The long tubular flowers of cardinal flower and the long, narrow bill of a hummingbird are a perfect match.  By reaching all the way down into the bottom of the five-petaled flower in search of nectar, the hummingbird gets food, and in return, the cardinal flower gets pollinated. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Birding: The Great Warbler Migration

For most birds, autumn is a time of migration. As is the case in spring, not all species engage in their bouts of long distance travel at the same time; some are known for heading out early while others linger in the region for several additional months before starting their journey.

Among the birds that are quick to depart the North Country are the warblers, a large group of small, delicate creatures that abound in the vast expanses of forests when daylight is at a maximum and bugs are at their peak. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wildlife Refuge’s Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day Sunday

On Sunday, September 2, the public is invited to the Fifth Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center, in Wilmington.

Visitors can meet timber wolves, coywolf, coyote, fox, and bobcat, up close, along with bald eagle, owls, hawks, osprey and falcons. Naturalists will show how wildlife interact with each other and with the natural environment. The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. There is no admission charge, although donations are welcome.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Adirondack Ecology: Wildlife, Wilderness and Dead Wood

Discussions regarding the ecological value of wilderness compared to an actively managed forest often centers around the health and well being of specific members of the wildlife community. While the flora and fauna that a tract of wilderness supports may be strikingly similar to that which occurs in periodically logged woodlands, the relative abundance of the various plants and animals contained in each is often quite different.In wilderness regions, there eventually develops a much higher concentration of those organisms whose lives are connected either directly or indirectly to the presence of dead wood.

Forests that are protected from timber harvesting operations contain substantially more dead wood on the ground and on the stump. While some trees that succumb to a disease or insect infestation may remain upright for only a few years after they die, many remain standing for decades before they eventually fall. Standing dead trees, especially ones that are larger than a foot in diameter, harbor numerous living entities and provide many animals with shelter. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Tom Kalinowski: Avian Appetites

As summer enters its final few weeks, most Adirondack birds have completed the nesting process and now are busy preparing for the cooler months that lie ahead and their upcoming migration.

Soon after the last brood of young vacates the nest, most birds begin to travel more frequently outside the territory which they claimed earlier in the season. The strong territorial instincts that existed in nearly all species prior to and throughout the breeding period quickly fade as the young fledge. This can be noted by the absence of the songs that are commonly used to proclaim ownership to a particular location. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cabin Life: The Company of Osprey

The baby osprey are getting big.  They poke their heads up above the lip of the nest and look down on us.  The chatter they make is for food, though, not because I’m standing about twenty feet below their nest.  The people and the cars and the bikes don’t seem to bother this particular family.

Their nest is built on top of an electric pole right behind the entrance booth of the campground.  It’s about three feet across, sits right on the electric feed.  It stinks pretty bad right now, as there hasn’t been any rain to wash the area in and below the nest.  The shrubs and pavement are splattered white but amazingly no one has gotten hit. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hunting With Lead or Copper?
An Alternative Ammunition Comparison

What follows is a guest essay by Shawn Ferdinand of the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). Traditionally, hunters have actively contributed to the conservation of wildlife. With new advancements in ammunition technology, they can now use state-of-the-art bullets and slugs for big game hunting that reduce the potential of harmful lead contamination and pollution.  » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Volunteers Needed Saturday to Survey Adirondack Loons

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program has issued a call for volunteers to help census loons on Adirondack lakes as part of the 11th Annual Adirondack Loon Census taking place from 8:00–9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 21. With the help of local Adirondack residents and visitor volunteers, the census enables WCS to collect important data on the status of the breeding loon population in and around the Adirondack Park and across New York State. The results help guide management decisions and policies affecting loons.

Census volunteers report on the number of adult and immature loons and loon chicks that they observe during the hour-long census. Similar loon censuses will be conducted in other states throughout the Northeast simultaneously, and inform a regional overview of the population’s current status.  One of the major findings of the 2010 census: The Adirondack loon population has almost doubled since the last pre-census analysis in the 1980s, and now totals some 1,500–2,000 birds. A new analysis however, demonstrates the threat environmental pollution poses for these iconic Adirondack birds.  » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Sandy Hildreth: The Cruel Art of Nature

Great Blue Heron NestI am an artist who, like many others in our world, am inspired by the natural environment around me. In most cases it is the beauty of a place, or the subtle, interesting colors of some rocks, the freeform shape of a brook twisting through a beaver meadow, or sun glistening on a mountain summit. All pretty positive, attractive, peaceful images – the harmony of the natural world.

In a place like the Adirondacks, there are a lot of artists, writers, musicians, and more who gain inspiration from the world around them. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 9, 2012

In The Adirondack Dirt: Earthworms and Drought

Hit and miss rain showers and scattered thunderstorms have provided much of the precipitation over the Adirondacks during this past month. This has allowed some locations to maintain an adequate level of soil moisture while causing conditions in other places to become especially dry.

The lack of periodic soaking rains, along with the abundance of sunshine and long stretches of above average temperatures has impacted the lives of a multitude of soil organisms, particularly earthworms which are highly sensitive to dry conditions. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cabin Life: Escaping The Heat

I’m sure there’s been plenty of people in my life who wanted to tell me to go jump in a lake.  Well, for the last two days, I’ve had to do just that.  The temperatures have been well into the nineties, hot, hazy and humid.  It’s exactly the type of weather I left Florida to avoid.

Around ten last night, I took Pico down for a swim.  As hot as I was, I can’t imagine how hot a dog could be in weather like this.  After throwing a stick a few times, I let Pico chew on his temporary toy and I just sat in the water.  The lake was calm, with no breeze to speak of.  Even though it was hazy, some stars were out and lights from Vermont were reflecting on the almost-glass surface of the lake.  The mosquitoes were bad, so I sat in water up my neck and was glad that the horseflies had at least taken the night off. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Attack of the Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed GrouseIt is traditional backwoods wisdom to avoid getting between a mother and her babies, and while this advice usually pertains to the black bear, it could also apply to several other forms of wildlife that reside in the Adirondacks.

In late spring many infants are emerging from the safety of their den or nest and most mothers try to provide some form of protection from potential danger to their babies. Perhaps the most remarkable display of parental courage for a creature of its size is seen in the hen ruffed grouse. This bird will aggressively confront and challenge any human that happens to come too close to its recently hatched chicks. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cabin Life: An Unforgettable Encounter

A grackle got stuck in the porch yesterday.  A few friends and I were playing horseshoes, and I went inside to grab a beer.  In the twenty or so seconds that I was in front of the fridge, the bird flew in through the open door and was completely stymied by the wall of glass windows.  Those windows are nice for me, but not so nice for an animal that has limited reasoning skills.

I watched the bird from inside for a minute or two, hoping that he would find his way back out the door.  The black body and iridescent head of the grackle are beautiful in the sun, changing color as the bird looks around.  I see them all over the campground, and the flashes of color off their seemingly black feathers usually brighten up the day.  But this one was clearly in distress.

Its beak was open like it was panting for air, and it kept fluttering around in the middle of the porch, surrounded on three sides by the outdoors, but blocked by all that glass.  He perched on one of the chairs for a rest, then dove headlong into the middle window down at floor level.  He dove at this particular window several times, apparently convinced that this was the way out.  It was not. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

DEC Drafting St Lawrence Flatlands Management Plan

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Region 6 office is preparing a unit management plan (UMP) which will include ten state forests and seven detached forest preserve parcels in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties. This plan for the new St. Lawrence Flatlands management unit is a continuation of the former Brasher UMP which began several years ago. » Continue Reading.



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