Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Parsing the Name Partridge

Ruffed Grouse by Adelaide TyrolOn spring evenings, just before dark, I used to hear a faint drumroll coming from somewhere off in the wooded hills. It sounded to me like an old tractor starting up, although it seemed like an odd time for a farmer to start work.

I later learned that it was the drumming of a ruffed grouse. Not a partridge; this was Connecticut. Years later I lived in Maine, where my husband took up bird hunting: not for grouse, but for “partridge.”

They are the same bird, Bonasa umbellus. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

A Close Look at Science of Fall Colors

Fall Foliage by Adelaide TyrolWhere I live, autumn typically starts in late August, when pockets of red maples start to turn scarlet around the marshes and lakes. Uh oh. As they say in Westeros, “winter is coming.”

But not before we get to enjoy fall. Yes, a Northeastern autumn is a postcard cliché. Yes, the tour buses and land yachts full of leaf peepers clog the roads. But, really, who can blame them? No matter how many you’ve seen, fall in the Northeast is still one of nature’s most awesome spectacles.

And, so, so ephemeral. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Brook Trout Found In ‘Fishless’ Lake Colden

Brook Trout by Greg DowerThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) have announced the confirmation of brook trout in Lake Colden in the Adirondack High Peaks.

Considered fishless for decades due to the negative effects of acid rain, the discovery of the brook trout population in Lake Colden is being attributed to improved water quality directly resulting from state and national standards to prevent the airborne pollutants that cause acid rain, notably sulfur dioxide. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Firewood Physiology and the Woodstove

This week feels like fall proper. It’s gray, drizzly, 50s; the kind of weather that makes you realize you’d better batten down the house for winter.

We’re going to get to the first fire of the year in a moment, that pathetic, smoldering pile of hissing wood in your woodstove that you made such a big deal about. “Come here kids!” for the ceremonial lighting of the hearth, which turned into the ceremonial opening of the doors and windows to let the smoke out of the living room. (Write what you know, the English professors advise.)

But first let’s talk about the physiology of a tree. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Botflies

botfly by adelaide tyrolGrowing up in a rural town, I was exposed to a lot of the wonders in nature through hunting. Specifically squirrel hunting, which is how many kids get their start.

I don’t do much anymore, but I try to get out a few times each autumn on those first cool days. With luck, I can put up enough squirrels for a deer camp stew in November, over which the people in camp can reminisce about being young. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Outdoors: Helicopsyche Caddisflies

Helicopsyche borealis by Adelaide TyrolWhile sampling in the LaPlatte River, students noticed what looked like rough black pebbles about the size and shape of well-worn pencil erasers.

I suppressed my mild distress as they started to discard the ‘pebbles;’ when sampling aquatic insects, I discard little. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Study Tracks Massive Loss of Birdlife Since 1970

bird decline chartA study published in the journal Science reveals that since 1970, bird populations in the United States and Canada have declined by 29 percent, or almost 3 billion birds, signaling what has been considered a widespread ecological crisis.

The results show tremendous losses across diverse groups of birds and habitats — from iconic songbirds such as meadowlarks to long-distance migrants such as swallows, and backyard birds such as sparrows. More research is needed to pinpoint primary causes for declines in individual species. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Palmer Amaranth Is Not Your Grandparents’ Pigweed

Amaranthus palmerii courtesy Wikimedia user PompilidAfter having defeated the Aztecs with a fusion of horses, steel, smallpox, and a stunning lack of moral conscience, the Spanish conquistadors wasted no time outlawing amaranth, a grain which constituted most of the Aztec diet at the time. Known to gardeners and farmers these days as pigweed, amaranth has obviously continued to flourish in spite of that military decree.

There are 70 recognized amaranth species, several of which are grown commercially from Mexico south to northern Peru. It is a very nutritious grain, high in protein, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and selenium, and is eaten roasted or cooked in water. When young, its leaves can be used as a cooked green much like spinach. Amaranth is also grown ornamentally, with a number of varieties available with red, purple, or yellow flower spikes. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Saw-whet Owl Banding at John Brown’s Farm

Saw-whet owl immediately after its release from banding Dr. Nina Schoch, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and conservation biologist, zoologist and photographer Larry Master will be banding saw-whet owls at the John Brown Farm during October.

This banding is part of Project Owlnet. Project Owlnet facilitates communication, cooperation and innovation among a rapidly growing network of hundreds of owl-migration researchers in North America and abroad. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Color Remote: Adirondack Bushwhacking Photos

Color RemoteErik Schlimmer’s new book Color Remote: Bushwhacking the Adirondack Mountains (Self Published/Beechwood Books, 2019) looks back at his nearly 1,000 peaks and more than 10,000 miles hiked in the Adirondack Mountains through

Schlimmer grew up in Poughkeepsie until 1985, when he was 12 years old.  “At the time,” he says, “moving to the North Country seemed like a very bad idea. I thought I was being dragged to the Tibetan plateau.”

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Adirondack Fall Foliage Season Events

fall foliage courtesy roostRegional Office of Sustainable Tourism has been tracking the progress of this years fall foliage to help travelers in search of an optimal weekend or mid-week getaway to soak in the Adirondacks’ picturesque autumn locations.

Reports are obtained from field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the upcoming weekend. Visitors can experience peak colors between late September to mid-October, depending on the Adirondack destination. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pitcher Plants Turn Food Chain Upside Down

pitcher plant As a kid, I was fascinated and terrified by the idea of carnivorous plants. Growing up in suburban New Jersey, my only exposure to this particular subset of the plant kingdom was the ravenous, larger-than-life Venus fly trap in Little Shop of Horrors.

If I stumbled upon a carnivorous plant in real life, I wondered, would it have teeth? If I ventured too close, would it grab on to my finger and never let go? » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Trout Stream Management Meetings Planned

spawning lake troutThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is developing a new plan for inland trout stream management based on updated scientific information and public meetings held across the state in 2017.

Prior to completing the draft plan, DEC fisheries managers would like to meet with trout stream anglers to explain the proposed approach, answer questions, and solicit feedback. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Living, Growing Memorial to Brother Yusuf

I recently went back to an area where the NYS DEC Forest Rangers and Foresters had recruited us to help plant young potted and bare root trees from the DEC’s Saratoga Tree Nursery on an eroding section of Adirondack Forest Preserve. The planting took place seven growing seasons ago. How were they doing today?

Among the tree planters were Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi (Joseph Burgess) and his team of youth and adult counselors and teachers from the Green Tech Charter School in Albany and Youth Ed-Venture and Nature Network or YENN, and several volunteers from Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

A Good Year For Monarch Butterflies

monarch pupates in the relative safety of a firewood pile by Richard Gast If you’ve noticed a lot of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) lately, you’re not alone. From my own observations and from what people have been telling me, this summer appears to have been a very successful one for them; at least in this part of the northeast.

Monarchs have four life stages; egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult (butterfly). The caterpillars feed only on milkweed leaves and seed pods. And, for this reason, adult Monarch females lay their eggs only on milkweed. In fact, the search for milkweed is the sole reason for monarch migration; perhaps the most remarkable migration in nature. » Continue Reading.