Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bird Migratory Quirks: Geese and Juncos

TOS_Bird_migrationThis has always been my perception of bird migration in the fall: the days grow short and cool and then, one day, I notice a v-shaped caravan of Canada geese flying southward. Then another and another. Within a few weeks of that first sighting, I hear their melancholy call one final time for the season. Then they, and all the summer birds, are gone. It’s a mass exodus for warmer climes, over and done in the blink of an eye and long before the snow flies.

But what of the geese on the unfrozen mill ponds in January? Or the robins at the birdfeeder in December? It turns out that the process of migration is much longer and less predictable than my cursory observations had led me to believe. First of all, for some species, fall migration begins long before the first ears of corn are ready to be picked. Take, for example, the yellow warbler, whose massive breeding range extends from parts of Mexico to Newfoundland and into Alaska. It is among the earliest songbirds to arrive in the spring and among the first to embark on the return journey. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Easy Ways To See This Year’s Brilliant Foliage

IMG_5684There are all sorts of festivals this time of year but as much as I love a good get-together, sometimes it’s the simple things my family appreciates the most. When we get bogged down with school openings and away games, we have to stop and take a moment to look around us.

My daughter’s favorite autumn color is pink. You may think that the trees don’t really become pink, but if you look at the blending of some of the yellows, oranges and brilliant red, the leaves do indeed have a pinkish cast to them. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Late Bloomers: Asters At Summer’s End

TOS_AsterLiving this far north, we’re attuned to signs of a waning summer: shorter days, cooler nights, red maples in low-lying areas turning their trademark color. But when the asters bloom, I know the curtain is coming down on summer.

The asters are some of the latest blooming flower species in our region. Not every species waits until virtually the last minute, but many do.

You might think that they’re cutting it close. In an area of the world where a killing frost can come seemingly out of nowhere, a late bloomer might be taking a chance. But evolutionarily, it’s not a bad tactic, said Arthur Haines, a research botanist for the New England Wild Flower Society.  By putting off blooming until late in the season, these plants have a virtual monopoly on the attentions of bees and other insect pollinators. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: A Red Squirrel Uprising?

1024px-Tamiasciurus_hudsonicus_CTThe populations of all forms of wildlife continuously rise and fall as a number of highly changeable environmental factors influences the success, or failure of each species. While variations in the abundance, or scarcity of many of our shy and secretive creatures, like the short-tailed shrew, flying squirrel and ermine, go completely unnoticed, the ups and downs in the number of animals that maintain a high profile can be quite evident, especially to anyone that spends a fair amount of time outdoors. In my neighborhood this year, there is a definite upsurge in the population of red squirrels, as there are more of these small, yet conspicuous rusty-tan rodents running around than in recent years.

Regardless of whether its population is peaking, or has crashed, the red squirrel is still described by many naturalists as the most often seen mammal in the Adirondacks. The diurnal habits, vocal inclinations, willingness to live in close proximity to humans, and craving for sunflower seeds make this rodent hard to overlook. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cabin Life: The Rain Barrel

First SnowThe snow is falling quickly and quietly outside.  I have a nice fire and a glass of bourbon to keep me warm and dry though, so all is right with my little world.

I love the first real snow fall of the year.  Everything looks so clean and neat, and the world is quiet.  The birds aren’t making any noise, the few deer that took off running when I let Pico out hardly made a sound, and tree limbs are hanging low, heavy with fresh wet snow.

This is isn’t the first snow of the year, but it’s the first one that might stick and be around for a little while.  Every night before now that I’ve had a fire, I didn’t worry about keeping it going all night.  The new stove cranks out heat, especially when it’s loaded with the dead elm that my friend dropped off for me.  In fact, tonight will the first night that I’ve had a fire where I won’t be going to sleep with a few windows open. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cabin Life: A Fox On The Road And A Fire In The Stove

The Lower FieldGrowing up, I lived in only two houses.   Both had fireplaces, so fall was always special to me.  From eating roasted pumpkin seeds in front of the fire to cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie while the snow fell outside, we usually had a fire going if we were home for the night.  I miss those days, but I have taken a big step towards making the cabin more like the home of my childhood.

Last week, my new (new to me) stove was delivered and installed.  There’s a shiny new chimney poking up above the peak of the cabin, and gone is the huge black box that was my old woodstove.  Of course, on the day the stove was delivered, it was close to seventy degrees out, so I could not get a fire going right away.  That did not stop me from sitting and staring at the new stove with its nice glass doors, just beckoning me to get a fire going and sit there enjoying the flames for the first time in years. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Amy Ivy On The Fall Foliage Season

GFP_2053autumnbyway725The northeastern United States is one of the few locations in the world that develops intense fall color (along with northern areas of China, Korea and Japan) and our region is just hitting its stride.

With all the variations in colors and tree species, it can be difficult to determine when an area is truly at peak color. I’d encourage you to enjoy all the transitions as they occur and look for the spots of color and beauty throughout the fall months around the region.

There are many factors that influence fall color.  The yellow and orange pigments are always present in the leaves; they are just masked by the green chlorophyll until fall.  As the leaves begin to get ready to drop the green fades away, revealing the yellows and oranges.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Harvestmen: Daddy Longlegs

200Despite the numerous frosts that our region experienced in September, there continue to be many types of bugs that remain active into the autumn in the Adirondacks. Among these hardy invertebrates, and the ones that are quite conspicuous to anyone that spends time working in the yard, garden or on the wood pile, are the harvestmen, known to most as the daddy-longlegs.

Like spiders, the harvestmen are classified as arachnids because of their body structure, having 4 sets of legs and a set of arm-like appendages near their mouth. (In the harvestmen, these arms, known as pedipalps, are barely visible, yet are still of great use to this creature in grabbing and holding items it wants to eat.) It is easy to understand how these arachnids acquired their popular name, as the lengthy thread-like legs that surround their small body are proportionately longer than those of nearly any other bug. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cabin Life: Fall Has Arrived

ApplesThe fire is crackling, the dew is settling and the full moon is so bright that I can clearly see the two does quietly munching on fallen apples in the lower field.  They don’t seem to mind that Pico and I are outside, and quite frankly, I’m happy that they don’t.

Fall is here.  About half of the hardwoods around have either lost all their leaves or are changing color as we speak.  I think it’ll be a poor year for fall colors.  Too many trees have already changed, and there are still plenty that are solid green.  The colors are changing too slowly for there to be any real “peak” this year.

The other very noticeable change is the amount of daylight we are having.  It’s starting to get dark around seven-thirty, as opposed to the nine or nine-fifteen of a few months ago.  It’s more tolerable now, with the solar panel powering a couple of nice LED lights.  But still, winter is coming and it won’t be all that long. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: Flocking Birds

Flock of Birds (DEC Photo)Mid-August is the time in the Adirondacks when the foliage of some red maples turns a bright reddish-orange, the sound of crickets replaces the music of our many songbirds, and blackberries start to ripen on their thorny canes. It is also when birds are more regularly seen in flocks rather than individually as they perch on a wire, forage in a field or fly across a road.

The territorial nature and belligerent behavior exhibited by adults toward neighbors from early spring through the end of the breeding season now fades like the chlorophyll in leaves during the latter weeks of September. Thus, a more gregarious lifestyle develops among the members of the same species and results in the formation of flocks for resting, foraging, traveling, and roosting at night. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Adirondack Wildlife: The Howling Coyote

It can be heard at almost anytime, but especially after sunset. On calm evenings from the late summer throughout autumn, the high-pitched yelping cry of the eastern coyote occasionally echoes across the landscape as this resourceful predator moves under the cover of darkness. While the coyote is known to make its tormented-sounding bark during any season, there are times when it is more vocal and fall is one of those periods.

» Continue Reading.